That Judgment Thing 1…

"Woman Holding a Balance" by Johannes Vermeer
“Woman Holding a Balance” by Johannes Vermeer

I got a check yesterday in the mail for a sold painting. Always a nice surprise. But this surprise was mixed. The total was less than what it should have been (galleries may sell at a discount).

So this was on my mind all evening: What does it mean? Should I produce more of the same subject in the hope of more and better sales? Or should I remove the rest of my paintings from that gallery lest they sell at a discount?

Then I woke up this morning with a feeling of dread. This happens occasionally. Some will see a doctor about it and maybe get a prescription. Preachers will counter, “Be happy, God loves you!” Or “Things could be worse.” (and certainly they could). But I’ve come to understand these feelings to be a result of something on my mind. In this case I had decided that the painting sale (painting is my heart and soul after all…) was not a good thing. Nothing to get happy about.

I had taken on the burden of my judgment concerning the painting. And doubt entered about my abilities and beliefs. “I’m no good.” Or, “God won’t take care of me—if he exists at all…”

Again, some would now assure me against such drastic conclusions and try to ease the doubt with kind words of encouragement.

But the heart of the issue was a judgment. Had the painting sold for what I asked or more, my spirits would have been buoyed this morning. But I had determined this to be bad. So a bit of counseling came to mind:

“If you do well…” God explained to Cain (Gen. 4:7).

This sunrise/sunset world is one of non-stop judgments. There are the passing judgments that determine what to do next. Like making a right or left turn at an intersection. Or choosing a gallery. Regardless of one’s “religion,” to act on them is a matter of faith. Then there are judgments that sink into the heart to decide how I feel or who I am. Revealed by crisis (like a feeling of dread), they are the burdens – and the crouching “sin” that would rule over me.

“Who told you that you were naked?” God asked Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:11).

The God of the Bible nailed it from the start.



2 thoughts on “That Judgment Thing 1…”

  1. I found it interesting that you seemedto be basing your ability to use your God-given talent (gift) on whether you can receive your asking price for the painting. Ted, you should never feel that way. Yes, it took work on your part to hone that gift. (You’ve had it since you were little.) I don‘t know who the person was that bought it, but I would guess that they are enjoying it. Isn’t that part of the purpose of doing your painting? To use your gift and bring joy to others?

    Don’t feel as if you need to be judgmental about what you are doing to bring joy to others through your painting. Use that gift. It came from God. Not only will it bring joy to you as you paint, but it will bring joy to God because you are using your gift that He gave you.

    1. Thank you. Yes, everything you say is true. I had the pleasure recently of meeting the woman who bought that painting. It had sentimental meaning, bringing back memories dear to her. (For that I might have just given it away without cost.)

      The story points out my default to be judgmental. But the solution isn’t to rationalize through the judgment and thus think better of myself, it is only to understand what this means: “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). If this life is a walk of faith, and God’s grace is sufficient, then success or failure only give me direction. They don’t tell me how to feel or who I am.

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