Tendency to Judge, Part 1
Yep, I know it’s going to be more than one blog. I have no idea how many it will be, but I know it’ll be more than one. (SIGH)
I am not joking when I say that this was the hardest issue for me to read – knowing it was most needful for change in my life. There are so many times I find myself making little judgmental calls about things – things that may be of no consequence…just things I ponder about – that aren’t mine to ponder. (Did that make ANY sense?)
Let me give you an example – my neighbor is rebuilding his front porch. We have been watching him work outside on this porch for several weeks. (Since the end of June) The first week he was off work. (I know this, because he works with my hubby and they shut the plant down every year for the week of the 4th of July) The days were reasonably cool and his mom babysat the kids. Seemed like an ideal time. He might have spent an hour on two different days. He didn’t do anything on it for a few weeks and when it hit into the nineties, he then started working on it for a few hours a day. Now, the guys are not working on Fridays and haven’t been for a few weeks. He hasn’t done any work out there on Fridays – even though this past Friday was deliciously pleasant and we could hear the TV playing most of the day. Now, what does it matter to me if his porch gets done or not? My kids aren’t allowed to play on the porch ….I don’t need to go in their front door, I’m not delivering mail, the stacks of lumber, tools, etc doesn’t bother me….so what do I care if he is working on his porch or not? It DOES make me curious as to why he didn’t take advantage of the good weather – or why he keeps telling my husband that he wishes he could get it done – or why he doesn’t have his 13 yr old son help him and just finish it up. It doesn’t make me think of him any differently. So, why do I even have knowledge of what he is doing with his porch?!!! Am I really judging him, no matter how many times I try to convince myself otherwise? Does this mean I am doing it to others as well??
These are the questions I’ve been trying to figure out ever since I first read Mr. Bradley’s article.
One of the side effects of focusing on keeping the outside of the cup clean is that is becomes easy to judge others by our personal standards. Once we become convinced of our personal standards, not uncommonly, it follows that we believe they should apply to others as well.
A phrase we have told our kids for quite some time is “Different families, different standards.” This has been very helpful – for both children and adults. It’s a good reminder to us that just because the Lord has called us to a certain way of doing things, He may or may not have called another family to it. That doesn’t make either family right nor either family wrong. Just different. (As you might have noticed, it doesn’t always work, either)
Jesus spent a lot of time exposing the Pharisees for their shallowness and self-righteous judgements, yet many of us homeschoolers have inadvertently followed the Pharisee’s path – we have overtly elevated outward form and we have condescended to those who appear less enlightened.
Oh how those condescensions wound! I have been the recipient of them many times. There are quite a few things that we don’t do that are considered “homeschool-ish” and we have been “brought up” on account of them. I have had one woman confront my “sinful lack of submission to my husband” by not wearing head covering. “But,” says I, “he doesn’t PREFER me to wear head coverings.” “It doesn’t matter, if he were a stronger Believer, he would, so you should do what he SHOULD be asking of you.” says she (If that isn’t some of the most convoluted logic….if one can go so far as to call it that.) It certainly makes me stop and think – what condescensions have I placed upon others? I know I have done so in the area of moms working outside the home. You know I have. What other “pet issues” have I held onto like a pit bull with a bone, when in fact, it was grace that the Lord desired from me?
One of the ways that will reveal if, in fact, we have gone the way of the Pharisee, is that when we believe we have achieved results with our children, we become proud of our accomplishments. In our pride, we then judge others by those areas in which we feel most successful.
GUILTY! What a bold slap in the face of Grace to think that any success I have experienced in the lives of my children is anything less than God the Holy Spirit working in the hearts of my children!!!!!
I’d like to pause here and say, I truly am convicted of this area. AND I truly have some questions about it as well. If the Lord has given me wisdom in any area of life and I can see a Sister struggling in it, how do I help them without looking at them and judging that they are unsuccessful – or at least judging that they are in need of someone helping them? Do I wait for them to ask? I would say, it is quite likely that the parent has a blind spot in that area – as I do in my own areas of weakness, no doubt. So how do I know what areas need my attention, but for the kindness of my friends?
Let me offer an example. We have friends whose husband’s ministry requires that they dine with many people. Their children are not a delight to have at the dinner table. They are demanding and they are very picky about food. Would it not have been kindness – LOVE – on my part to look at them and judge them to be in need of some encouragement on how to train their children to receive with joy, the ministry of hospitality? (I didn’t, by the way. I was too chicken. At the time it seemed like it was the wrong thing to do – I know it now for what it was – fear of man.) If we were to be IRL friends, I would want you to point out where my children were needing additional correction. I would WANT that. Would it be judgement on your part if you did?
Well, my spoiled baby is requiring some nourishment and I’m going to allow her to have her way. : ) SEE, I knew that this would be more than 1 blog.
Please, I really am seeking understanding here – I would desire to hear the wisdom the Lord has given you.
(If you’re just joining us – you may find a copy of the article at http://www.familyministries.com/HS_Crisis.htm – but go there at your own risk. It’s not an easy article to take in. I’ve been processing it for weeks – and still getting convicted!)