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Before the Judge

It was my senior year at Logan-Rogersville High School in Rogersville, MO.  Our class had witnessed many “senior pranks” through the past three years.  Other senior stories were legendary (i.e. Sinclair dinosaur on top of the gymnasium, a VW beetle in the hallway, and a procession of motorcycles as the first hour began on Senior skip day).

Needless to say we had to make it big!  Right?  So, some of us football players convinced a coach to give us the “master” key to all classrooms and a schedule of all the teachers off periods.  Instead of participating in senior skip day, seven of us systematically, room by room, hit each and every classroom. 

What did we do?  We wrote “Class of 96” on the marker boards and piled all of the desks and chairs in a large pile in the center of the room.  In the computer lab we synced all of the screensavers to scroll “Class of 96” at the same time.  The list goes on and on.  Nothing destructive.  Just some harmless fun, or so we thought.  Until our principal, Mr. Hethrington, asked to see us before our senior breakfast the next day.  The geometry teacher discovered us in the last period and squealed. 

A look of terror struck the eyes of our sneaky crew.  In a moment of extreme bravery on my part, I led the apology.  We felt like we were going before the judge in a court martial.  Would they revoke our diplomas?  Would we face the firing squad? 

Judges elicit a sense of fear, don’t they?  They never call you in for something you have done right.  We think of them as someone who harshly tells us what we did wrong.  And they seem to be everywhere these days on television.  There’s Judge Judy and Hatchett.  Mathis and Christina.  And a fan favorite—Judge Brown

Then there are some judges you may not know.  They even have a book in the Bible with their name on it.  Judges.  These judges appeared on the scene to help sort out right and wrong.  They also helped people get out of trouble.

God’s people kept putting themselves into a never ending cycle of disobedience, discipline, declaration of wrong, and deliverance.  Judges like Deborah and Gideon and Samson helped them find their way back to God. 

What did the people do that was so bad they needed judges?  Two things.  First, they failed to put God first in their lives (Judges 1:28).  And secondly, they did not teach their children to know God (Judges 2:10).  These two “sins” led to their downfall and ruin.  Why didn’t the people learn from their mistakes?

Do you know what Mr. Hethrington did to us?  You might be surprised to know that he shook us each by the hand and congratulated us for being “creative” and not “participating in a senior prank that would cost the school money”  to fix.  Whew!  He showed us mercy.  And, I am happy to report that most pranks since 1996 have been more “tame” because of the example we set that year.  Or so I am told. 

Are you making the same mistakes others made?  If so, you have a judge that can help you––Jesus.  One that will show mercy!  The good news is that when He “calls” you into His office after you’ve messed up, you will look up to see your judge’s face and see your savior will be there. 


You are loved.

Ray Reynolds, PhD


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