Monday, January 15, 2007

1/15/07 “Judgmental People”

It amazes me as I realize how judgmental people are on a regular basis. It seems to me that strangers, acquaintances, and friends all seem to come up with all sorts of judgments towards others.

Up until the last couple of years, there weren’t many people I associated with. Yeah, I had no friends. Apparently, in joining a social group I have gained more than just the friends and acquaintances I was happy to be part of. I have also put myself out there for other people to judge me and everything about me. I guess I was na├»ve to expect anything different from “friends”, even from Christians.

To be fair, I doubt that “everyone” judges me so harshly. But it’s hard to know. There are the looks, the off-handed comments, or the outright talking-about-me-behind-my-back that I find out about days, weeks, or months later. But how much is there that I never end up hearing about?? It makes it hard to trust anyone.

I realize that I set myself up for it as soon as I let anyone know anything about me. People just can’t resist, I guess.

Let’s see, there was the time that Tony and I asked for prayer for our marriage that was feeling pretty rocky at the time. That opened up the door for others to think that it was because we don’t get out without the kids enough. We were told that we “need” to do that as though that was the answer to some issues that had nothing to do with that. Apparently, we didn’t need to simply have prayer for our marriage as I had thought. No… it seems I also needed to take the advice of others who had no idea what they were talking about.

Then there was the time when we were really struggling financially. For the first time ever, we actually got a shut off notice, and we had no idea how we were going to pay our bills. (I now know that there was a reason. God was shutting a door on a job so he could open a new door to a great job. Transition isn’t easy. Seeing His plan isn’t easy. But GOD is good!)Again, we asked for prayer. We got more than prayer. There were also the judgments and/or gossip about how we can’t handle money, or that there is no reason we should be struggling as people who have no business doing so estimate what our income vs. expenses might be. I have no idea where anyone would come up with the figures necessary for such evaluation of my personal finances, but the point is that it is offensive that anyone would think it is their business at all. (The exception would be if I were asking for monetary help from someone. Then they would certainly have the right to wonder/ask. But that’s not what I’m talking about here…)

Then there are all the judgments associated with parenting choices and techniques. It’s just unreal.

Let’s see… I have received judgment from others in regards to breastfeeding, breastfeeding for too long, attachment parenting, co-sleeping, cloth diapering. Some might say I’m a mean mom for giving my kids chores to do (keep room clean, + one more chore, requiring about a half an hour of work per day before playtime). Give me a break!

If I express frustration towards any problems there may be with the kids, there will always be the select few who think that means I need unsolicited advice.
Certainly, this insightful advice from an outsider will help me overcome my parental deficiencies.

Then there is the announcement of a child on the way. This news seems to be an invitation for people to ask personal questions.

Was it planned? (MYOB)
Don’t you have enough kids? (We will soon)
How many more are you going to have? (Does it matter?)
Is our house big enough? (Um, yeah. We fit in our house just fine. Why would anyone else worry about this?)
It seems that some people don’t think we should have anymore kids. In light of the financial problems we had nearly a year ago, we must not be able to afford our kids.

After our pregnancy had been announced at church, someone actually laughed at me. I don’t mean a little chuckle. It was more of an obnoxious cackle that was very inappropriate. It seems this person thought the baby was unplanned, and she took great joy in that thought. It was interesting to watch this same person unable to manage her own child during the service while our family and the another large family sat with a total of nine children (ages 9 and under) being appropriately quiet during the service. Hmm…


This rant of mine is not to say that I am never guilty. I understand that it is human nature to be judgmental. But this just seems ridiculous at times. Human nature or not, it is wrong, and it’s time for people, especially Christians to make some changes.

Do not judge and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6:37