Have you ever walked into a room and at that moment it seemed like all eyes were on you? I can remember those awkward times in college when someone would walk into class late and they would have to make that walk of shame to their seat. Everyone was secretly asking, “Wonder why they are late?” Of course, there were a few times when I was that someone. It is a really strange moment.
When all eyes are on you like that, you know that people are measuring you. They are questioning you. They are, most likely, judging you as well. I definitely think you should get to class or work or whatever on time, but don’t you hate that feeling of being judged?
In our culture, it is weird, we have moved from a place of civility and grace to anger and impatience. If you look back to the time when the Baby Boomers were coming up, 50’s, 60’s 70’s, there at least seemed to be more concern for the person to your right and left. These days, however, people are exponentially more self-centered and agitated. They aren’t as happy with their lives as they could be, and when they see others that are happy, they hate, they grumble, they judge people.
What this has created is a world of rulers, of measuring sticks, whereby people are constantly measuring and being measured. This has had an especially devastating impact on the emerging generations. They question everything because everything they do is questioned. They are people walking among measuring sticks. They go into class and they are measured. They go to the mall and they are measured. They go home and they are measured. They go hang with their friends and they are measured.
We are experiencing generations of young people are living their lives walking among a forest of rulers, measured at every turn, and it has had devastating effects.
Now, when I was young, I was under the spotlight. I felt like I always had to live in a glass house. I was a leader and people had expectations of me. You may be sitting there thinking that young people’s experiences aren’t really any different than yours growing up. To an extent, you’re right. They may not be vastly different, but the truth is that the experiences are amplified, intensified. If we did something wrong growing up, maybe a few friends knew about it, but now, it is plastered across the internet on social media.
We were advertised to in the 80’s and 90’s, but it was nothing like it is today. Truth is, we are living in a world where we are all constantly being measured, and told how we should be measuring up. It is no wonder the world has moved from grace to frustration.
Last week at our Covenant Students service, Danny Calvillo, in his message on understanding what Jesus thinks about you, made the statement, “Your only measurement is in Christ Jesus.” I think this is a profound statement, especially in our current culture, and one that represents the fact that Danny understands exactly what I am talking about here.
We are all measured every day, but there is only one measurement that matters, and that is what Jesus thinks about us. And because of that, what Jesus says about us will always trump what anyone else says.
We can walk around all day being measured at every step, but here’s the truth, and it is awesome: just because someone measures us, it doesn’t mean we have to believe it. Someone may have told you today that you are a loser. They measured you. You don’t have to believe that. Someone may have told you at some point that you will never make it, that you aren’t good enough, that you are ugly or that no one likes you and they never will. These are measurements. You are a drain on your friend, you are going to always be alone, you aren’t worth it, you are poison. These are measurements. Don’t believe them. Those are all things that don’t line up with what Jesus says about you.
When Danny said that your only measurement is in Christ Jesus, he isn’t saying that you won’t have other measurements. He is saying that they don’t matter next to what Jesus thinks about you, how he measures you. So when you are faced with another measurement that someone assigns to you, you have a choice: either allow someone’s measurement of you to define you, or compare it to what Jesus says about you.
Does all of this means that what people say about you doesn’t matter? What about parents? What about your friends? No, what it means is that when someone measures you, it doesn’t need to contradict what Jesus says about you. If a measurement brings shame, condemnation, tears you down, you need to ignore it. But if a measurement encourages you, seeks to better you, and even lovingly address issues that you need to deal with, then embrace it.
People measure you to highlight your problem. Jesus measures you to highlight your progress. At the end of the day, that is why what Jesus says, what he thinks about you, is what really matters.
At the end of the teaching on Wednesday night, Brad Fountain, Creative Arts Pastor at NCC and I played a song I had written for this message. I have added it and I hope you enjoy!