Am I the only mom with young adult children who, in my opinion, are making some not so good decisions? When I try to give advice it is not always met with open arms, ears or hearts. A frequent response is, “Do not judge me.” The defensive response hit a nerve with me.
Is judgment my motive when giving advice or admonishing what I see as wrong behavior? What is the basis of my admonishment? Is it based on my attitude, hurt, and emotions or is it based on God’s Word? Am I more worried about what others will think about my son or what God thinks of him?
Judgment is how we view other people’s sin versus our own. It is an attitude we possess based on opinions and preferences. Judgment often happens when we feel someone else doesn’t believe what we do. Our opinions become strong when we feel we are correct and true. If you don’t think your opinion is correct and true, it isn’t held as strongly.
There is a difference between God’s commands and personal opinion. I happen to fall to fear of what others will think about my children if they are not acting in a way that is pleasing.
When my boys were little they were very active. Come to think of it, they still are! They really had no chance. My hubby and I are very active people. We are always on the go. I don’t know how to walk anywhere. My pace is more of a face-paced walk, not yet run. When appropriate, my boys were allowed to run, scream, push, play and wrestle, doing whatever else boys think is fun behavior.
A fellow baseball wife decided she would tell me how ‘out of control’ my boys were. She continued to tell me how her daughters sat quietly and colored, they obeyed her because she was in control. It hit me straight in my “trying to be the perfect mom” heart. I was crushed. The boys were being boys, when appropriate. They never were allowed to run around during dinner, or at the doctor’s office, or in an airport. But when they were in a playroom or on a field they were let loose.
I began to put a lasso on my boys to calm them down. Not because I thought their behavior was naughty, but because another mother thought it was. I had a tendency to judge others too. She wasn’t the only one judging. I judged her for other reasons that I thought was fair and just.
Judgment is never fair and just when based on opinions and preferences. In Romans 14 we read about the church in Rome. There were some who believed it was OK to eat meat, others only vegetables. One believed a certain day was more sacred than another, who believed all days were alike. As believers, we live and die each day for the Lord. We are urged to not become a hindrance or block the way of other believers. Our opinions and preferences stand in our way.
How do we not stand in judgment of others? We don’t stand in judgment when we view others through a Gospel lens. Viewing others in relation to what God has done for us, not what we have done creates an attitude of humility. Knowing that we have been forgiven and freely have a relationship with Christ gives us an attitude of compassion and concern. If each of us is made in the image of God and are forgiven by Him then we should desire and strive to treat them well. Without a Gospel lens, we are drawn to condemnation and judgment.
When I looked at my sons’ behavior with a Gospel lens, I had to repent for my harsh words. My reaction was judgmental. I wasn’t approving of sin but was seeing my opinion of his behavior as skewed by the lens of opinion and preference. My opinion was others were going to think differently of him. My preference was that others would not unfairly judge him. Yet I judged him myself.
Seeing others through a Gospel lens allows us to refuse to be judgmental. God has the final decision of our wrongdoings. (Matthew 7:1)
Seeing others through a Gospel lens allows us to examine our self, see the sin that we fall to and clean that out of our soul. Taking that log out of our eye before seeing the speck in another’s. (Matthew 7:3)
Reflecting on how I am judgmental each day, reveals how I need to change my behavior. My focus on their faults, blind me to my own. Viewing and examining our lives in view of the Gospel becomes motivation to live according to the love God has shown us.
Do you find yourself judging others? Even your own children, in relation to others opinions and preferences? Are there areas in your life where you need to look through the Gospel lens?