MICHELE HUEY: Once I Dreamed a Dream
Special-Tea: James 2:1-13 --Do not judge according to appearance — John 7:24 (NKJV)
Susan Boyle was a 47-year-old unemployed spinster when she auditioned for “Britain’s Got Talent.”
On the plump side, with bushy eyebrows and wiry hair, even in her elegant gold dress, she looked frumpy.
“What’s the dream?” one of the judges asked her during her pre-performance on-stage interview.
“To be a professional singer,” she said.
Smirks from the audience. Even the judge rolled his eyes while one of the other judges tried not to laugh.
“And who would you like to be as successful as?” judge number one asked.
“Elaine Paige,” she answered, referring to the English singer and actress.
More eye-rolling, head-shaking and groans of disapproval from the audience. When she announces that she was going to sing “I Dreamed a Dream” from “Les Mis￩rables,” the one judge couldn’t hold back the laugh.
But, oh, when her voice filled the auditorium! Jaws dropped, eyebrows raised, and cheers of surprise and delight resounded. By the time she finished the second line of the song, the audience was on its feet, cheering and clapping. They remained on their feet the entire performance.
When she was done, the judge who’d laughed out loud said, “When you said you wanted to be like Elaine Paige, everyone was laughing at you. No one’s laughing now.”
The second judge agreed. “Everybody was against you,” she said. “We were all cynical. This has to be the biggest wake-up call ever.”
Seven months later Susan Boyle released her first album, which shot to the No. 1 best-selling debut album of all time in Britain — and all around the world. Today Susan Boyle is worth millions. We all love the underdog stories. How the person everyone rejected, made fun of, put down — the long shot —turned the tables by just believing in the gift God gave her to share with others. But we also are humbled by the other side of the story — the side what shows all too painfully what we humans are like: quick to judge others by their appearance.
Jesus, too, was judged. “He had no beauty of majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was not despised and rejected by men … like one from whom men hide their faces … we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:2, 3). Even his brothers and his hometown scoffed: “Isn’t this Joseph’s son? Where did He get this wisdom and miraculous powers? ... And they took offence at him” (Like 4:22; Matthew 13:53, 57). Yet someday He will judge the world as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
James warns not show favoritism in our churches. But it’s all too easy to judge others. The way we judge and treat others, however, will be the way we are judged (Matthew 7:1, 2).
It would be good to remember that we can’t see what God does — we look on the outward appearance, but God sees the heart of each one of us — even a frumpy spinster with an impossible dream.
Help me, Lord, not to be so judgmental of others today. Amen.