A couple of weeks ago, I took my almost 3 year old son to an indoor playground at a nearby mall. My little man is all boy and loves to wrestle and tackle and has been known to bite when overwhelmed. I sat down with him before I sent him off to play and warned him that we would have to leave if he wrestled, tackled or bit anyone. He did great! He steered clear of the other kids and played his heart out. We took a break for lunch and went back to the playground for a little more playtime with his best friend before we headed for home. He was showing some signs of getting tired, so I was keeping a close eye on him and soon found him pushing another little boy rather aggressively. I rushed over, got him away from the situation and gave him a good talking to. The father of the little boy was understandably upset at my son for pushing his son, but as he walked away, he said, under his breath, “What the h--- is wrong with that kid?” Well, the mama bear in me rose up and I, uncharacteristically, asked, “Did you just say what’s wrong with him?” I then gave him a bit of a tongue lashing for judging my son on a 15 second experience.
Yes, what my son did was wrong. I knew that and was disappointed with his behavior, but I didn’t like that someone else thought they had him all figured out and labeled him as having something ‘wrong’ with him. It made me think. A lot.
First of all, for me resisting the temptation to be judgmental is a minute by minute battle. It comes naturally. That doesn’t make it right, just a harder battle to fight. It was a reminder to me that I have no right to judge another person because I don’t know anything more than what I see in the moment or at best, small snippets of that person’s life. What didn’t that dad not know about my son? Well, he really is a very sweet boy. He loves to snuggle. He tells me he loves me several times a day. He tells me he likes me several times a day. Anytime he does something fun, he wants to take a friend the next time, so they get to enjoy it too. I have never had to teach him to share. Just that day, he had been slapped and shoved by other kids, but had not touched another child himself until that moment. All that man saw was a bad moment in a great day. None of us know what another person is going through or what there struggles are.
Secondly, I got a view of how God feels when we judge others. We’re all His kids. Talk about a Papa Bear! When we make judgments on others, we are putting ourselves in God’s role and implying that we somehow know others better than He does. I, as a mom, have grace for my son’s learning curve. I know his personality and his struggles and love him in spite of anything he may do wrong. God feels the same way about His kids. When we judge others, we get a heavenly ‘Excuse me?! That’s my kid you’re talking about!’
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.” Matthew 7:1-5
We tend to judge others based on our own standards and rules. It is self-righteousness. How well are you following them yourself? It’s something that the Lord is working on in me, daily. Just because someone does something differently than I do, doesn’t make it wrong. And if someone is doing something wrong, we are told to ‘Speak the truth in love” (Eph 4:15) to encourage and spur each other on. Instead of judging others, we would do better to show love and gain God’s view of others and ourselves.