Judging

Never Judge Another Mother’s Highchair

We returned from the zoo to find bananas. Everywhere. All over my daughter’s highchair. Smeared across the curtain to it’s left. And flaking off the wall directly behind it.

My mind flashed back to my single years, seven years ago. I couldn’t help but cry — and immediately call the friend in this story.

Seven years ago I found myself in a similar situation. I was babysitting a friend’s young son, and to my horror, I found my nightmare awaited me in the kitchen.

A white highchair sent my OCD-like tendencies into full swing. There it was in all of it’s ‘I don’t care what you think’ glory.

It was covered in crusty ravioli, cheerios, and some kind of sticky goo. I didn’t dare sit the little boy in it. I put him in a pack n’ play in front of the tv while I proceeded to clean the dirty thing.

And boy did I clean it. All the while, a single; childless; 18-year-old Rachel came up with all of the excuses why it was dirty — because of course, I ‘knew’ them.

These thoughts and others circled my mind as judgment mounted:

‘She has time to do her makeup and work out, but can’t clean this mess up…’

‘How can anyone live like this…’

‘This is disgusting…’

‘Is she blind? She definitely needs glasses…’

‘How could you miss something like this…’

‘It’s not like she has a real job, why wouldn’t someone make time to clean this up…’ 

‘How could anyone let their child sit in such horrendous filth?!…’ 

I know, it’s ugly. Actually, it’s disgusting. It makes me ill to think of it now. My heart was one big, heaping mess of judgmental ‘I will never be that kind of mother.’

This evening. I ate my words.

Today, my daughter’s highchair was filthy. Why? The answer is simple. And one I never thought of while I judged others:

I was busy making memories.

I neglected my home, because I was too ‘busy’ making memories with my little family.

And I don’t regret it. I don’t regret it one bit.

Houses are empty shells. Highchairs will need to be cleaned; and recleaned. Laundry will need to be done; and redone. Never allow your appearance, home, or even your child’s behavior to define you. Jesus Christ died so that He alone could determine and attribute your worth.

Forget the dishes and make time to be silly with your children. Leave the laundry and kiss your husband. Be thankful for the little messes in life — they remind us that we’re alive and still in need of Christ.

Mothers weren’t created to be God-almighty. Mothers were created to be daughters dependent on an almighty God. We were NEVER meant to do it on our own, or in our own strength. He is good. He is gracious. He is strong enough to be our strength. And in Him, motherhood is a beautiful, beautiful thing. Do not attempt it alone.

So go ahead and judge moms for their ‘highchairs’ and any other form their ‘failures’ may take on. Irregardless of what sparks your judgement — just know that you’ll most likely eat your words later — and be glad that you did — because you were too busy making memories to be perfect. 

“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults – unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part.” Matthew 7:1-5

 

DON’T KILL THE WOUNDED

By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” -John 13:35

The Church is the only army that kills its own wounded soldiers.

One of our lectures this morning has left this topic burning in my heart. I wonder; how true is this distressing statement within our congregations, ministries, & other social JC-loving gatherings? I am currently striving to be one who doesn’t prove this to be true in the body of Christ.

I am not perfect; I have found myself guilty of this several times. I am learning daily that I am not the Holy Spirit in other’s lives. I cannot convict, judge, condemn, or assume I know what’s going on. In order for anything I do to be of worth; it can’t be in anyway any part of me. All Him, all the time, with zero percent of myself involved.  This is how Jesus lived. “Where You go, I go. What You say, I say.”

How often do we rush to the scene with a handgun and badge? We insist that we know what’s going on and understand everything from our outsider perspectives. We are so quick to judge that we leave encouragement and our God-given loving hearts behind. What if, instead of pretending to play the ‘police’ role, we switched mindsets?

Please hear me, I absolutely believe in rebuke from Godly counsel & accountability- or possibly even donkeys. I am so thankful to have the privilege being surrounded by people who I am submitted to. They are far more matured and seasoned than I am. So, I am not at all saying the principle is incorrect, but I do believe the method which we execute in (no pun intended) is often flawed. I absolutely refuse to be a modern-day Pharisee in heels among my peers.

I’ve had my share of disappointments when it seems others are standing in judgment instead of with an honest heart search of truth, or offer solutions in love. However, I’m sure what I’ve experienced only pails in comparison what others have endured within the four walls of our at times; not-so-safe congregations. And yet, we wonder why we have a bad reputation after we strike down our own with our gossip, judgment, and legalism.

It has been said, time and time again that; “Our perception is our reality.” I wish that I would remember the fact that my perceived “reality” isn’t always reality. We each have our own set of customized goggles through which we clarify and define our world & its drama. Without the heart, love, and mind of Christ; these goggles can proceed to hinder the very things the Lord is trying to show, teach, or minister to us. Or perhaps a situation has been brought to our attention so that we could pray, instead of spreading rumors in our “holier than thou” blind assurance.

I believe it comes down to one thing; we are human, therefore; we are flawed, imperfect, and quite frankly- we have no idea what we’re talking about. I’m not saying that the Lord doesn’t give insight, or words of knowledge. I’m simply saying that at times, I find myself standing in judgment while expecting others to stand in mercy on my behalf.

Most likely, my battles are not your battles, and your battles are not mine. So, who am I to judge? As brothers and sisters, it is our mandate that we uphold and encourage each other in the Lord. BUT, the method & motive should ALWAYS be in and through a way which portrays love; not judgment or self-righteousness.  Lord, help us. This is far more easily said than done.

My mom always taught me “Throughout life, God will always allow people to portray & exemplify both what to do, and what not to do.” As some kid in the movie said a hurtful word; I distinctly remember when she first instilled this saying in my mind. This whole standing in judgment thing is most definitely, without question; a “not to do”.

We are so quick to point out flaws; we forget that others could just as easily do the same about us. What I sow, I shall reap. Ah! What would the church look like if we realized that the more we sow gossip and judgment; the more others will judge and gossip about us. The higher we feel about ourselves, the further we have to fall. This is such a powerful concept it makes me cringe. “Anybody who thinks they are God’s policeman will be judged.” -Gary Hayness

At the end of the day, we must realize; we are each a work in progress. We are all equally condemned, sinful, awful, hateful, distasteful, miserable, and pathetic- apart from the saving grace & faith in Jesus Christ and His completed work on the cross.

Let us live & abide in love, after all; we serve Love- flawlessly exemplified Himself. Lord, more of You; less of me.