It’s About…Toenails

I had the honor of being a judge in the 2013 Carolina Supernatural Bodybuilding Championship in Spartanburg, SC.  It was a great experience being able to give back to the sport of Bodybuilding with a wonderful group of top-notch people.  Having competed for over 16 years, it was not hard to know what to look for while judging each competitor.  It was not hard to be fair and score each competitor correctly…yet I still felt an uneasiness in my heart that I couldn’t explain…then I sat in Church a couple of weeks ago and listened to guest speaker Brigadier General Kevin Turner…and he helped me figure it all out.  This is the lesson I’d love to share with you:

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Last week I saw a T-shirt that said “Let’s go somewhere and judge people…”  It cracked me up at first, but when you really think about it…it’s what we do…a lot…every day…we judge people.  The Bible says in Matthew 7:1 – Do not judge others…so why do we do it?…What are we supposed to do?  What if our safety is at risk?  What if we’ve been hurt?  I have to judge…right?  Speaking at Faith Community Church in Haywood County, Brigadier General Turner said ” We make judgements all the time…good or bad…We use judgement to figure out order and structure in our lives.”  He also said the stars on his uniform mean one of two things :  ” 1. No one has told me the truth in two years or… 2. people suck up and tell me everything because they think…(“He can get me somewhere or get me something”)”.  Fear causes one judgement…motivation of self-gain causes another judgement.  Looking at the man in his uniform, it’s hard not to make a judgement…Special Forces, Airborne Wings, Stars, Special Forces Combat, Chaplain Cross….and all the other stars, medals, and ribbons…it amazes me…it inspires me…it makes me think of all he has been through…and the heroism of all our troops.  To another person, it may mean very little or even something completely different.  Why does this happen?  A valuable point Brigadier General Turner made that stuck with me is…when we are judging….we are making a value based assessment.  Think about that…think about the wide wide wide range of thinking when you take into account the different values of all the very different people in this world.  Realize this: You are being judged by EVERYTHING…We ALL are…Judged by what car we drive, where we went to school, our past, the house we live in, our job, skin color, country we live in, whether we’re fat, skinny, the clothes we wear, church denomination, how many kids we have…or don’t have, if we home-school, if we give our kids a flu shot…mist…or nothing at all, eat meat…or don’t eat meat, if we have tattoos, by what language we speak, how many friends we have Facebook and Instagram, what sports our children play…or don’t play, how many followers we have on Twitter(I have 44…yes that’s lame), what kind of cellphone we have, whether our kids sleep in their own beds…all night, if we smoke…don’t smoke, if we drink…or don’t drink, whether we workout…or don’t workout, whether we pick our kid up from school…or make them ride the bus…and finally…you’re even judged by the things you have in your stinking grocery cart…we’re judged…judged…judged…and let’s be honest…we judge, judge, judge.  How we judge or how we ARE judged… all depends on what values we or the people judging us have…or as Brigadier General Turner says ” When we judge we’re pointing our finger based on an assessment of our own personal view(s)”.  HUUUGGGGEEEE problem right?  If only life was like the Bodybuilding contest where there are clear guidelines for judging.  We score each competitor on Muscular Size, Definition/Conditioning, Proportion, and Symmetry.  We don’t have that clear criteria in life do we?  HUUUGGGEEEE problem…but it’s a problem we’re about to solve 🙂


You know my name, not my story.  You’ve heard what I’ve done, not what I’ve been through.

The uneasiness I felt while judging the bodybuilding contest was caused by the answer…Love.  I looked at these competitors…and I loved every one of them…I loved that they had gone through everything I cherish in my sport…I didn’t know everyone’s story, but I knew through my own experiences the struggles…the adversity…the obstacles these competitors had overcome to get to the very moment they stood in front of our judges table.  That love made it tough having to NOT place some of them…because I wanted them to realize they shouldn’t give up…they should keep believing…and keep working hard…that the placings have nothing to do with their value as a person…I wanted them to know.  Love is the clear guideline or criteria for how we can assess any situation or any person…It is found in the Bible…John 13:34…Love one another.  The answer is LOVE.  I’m not getting all mushy…or trying not too…but think about it…Love crosses every society…religion…race…age…gender.  If judging is making a value based assessment….then I’m telling you to always start with the value of loving one another.  What do I mean?  I once read a story about a classroom full of kids having to write about and present to their classmates the definition of love.  There were your basic answers…about hugging…sharing…kissing…and then one girl got up and said “Love is about toenails.”  The class started laughing.  The teacher quieted the class and asked the little girl to continue.  “Love is about toenails.  I think love is when my Grandfather paints my Grandmother’s toenails because she’s in too much pain to do it herself….even though his own back hurts him terribly.”  Another example is a story one of my clients told me about her Grandpa.  She told me her Grandpa used to open every cabinet door in the kitchen at night before he went to bed.  He did this so that when he got up in the morning and went through his routine, the little metal latches on the cabinet doors wouldn’t clank and awaken his sleeping wife.  That’s the kind of love I’m talking about…a genuine love.  Perhaps the greatest example I can give you though… is God’s love for you.  The love and grace we are given by God is the perfect example.  We need to love people…have patience with people…forgive people…be gracious with people…the way God does all of that for us.  These should be our values…when making our value based assessments…judging.  I will always remember what Brigadier General Turner said about knowing the difference in how you deal with people…Remember this my friends: “Judgement comes from a place of self-centeredness.  Love is the opposite…it is all about another…not about…or because of …you.”  Be patient…Encourage each other…Love each other…paint some toenails…open all the cabinet doors…and forgive.  God Bless:)