Posted by: molly | April 21, 2011

Judge Not…

My husband and I have two cars.  One car is an average, run of the mill, soccer mom looking car.  The other is a 1993 Chevy Lumina.  1993.  This car is practically vintage.  But not.

We are very thankful to have two cars.  However, the nondescript car makes me feel like a soccer mom.  The other car gives me a feeling of something else entirely.

You see, my husband and I are foster parents.  We have two kids.  Two kids who were born while we are still in high school.  And I still look like I am in high school.  To top it off, our two kids look very different from each other  (they are half-siblings and you can really tell).

I noticed several things as I rode up to pick up my daughter from her elementary school with my son in the back seat.  When I drove up in my new car I felt good.  I literally had the exact same car as some of the hoity-toity upper-middle-class moms in the line–down to the color.  Sitting in that line I though “Wow, I bet they are jealous that I look so young.  I bet they want to know my secret to having a seven year old and looking like your are 19.”

Then I drove up in the other car.   I usually have the windows down because the air conditioning doesn’t really work.  At some point the light in middle of the ceiling fell down and was hanging from some wires.  This light was legitimately in the way when I tried to look behind me.  But it was also very ghetto.  I tried to tape it up, but inevitably it would fall:  when I pulled into car line.  In vain I tried to tape it back up before anyone ever saw it.  In vain I tried to pretend that my car wasn’t over half my age.  All the while I was looking at the other parents.  “Oh poor thing.” I heard them saying in there nicely air-conditioned cars (with the windows up).  “She must have made some bad choices in high school (with two different guys!).  I hope my kids don’t end up like her, bless her heart!”  (I do live in South Carolina after all).

Silent internal judging from rich people in nice cars with no information about the truth of the situation can be so crushing.   Hmm.  Wait, why was I so desperate to tape that light up?  So people wouldn’t make wrong assumptions about me?  That they would never share?  And would never effect me?  Oh, right.  It didn’t matter.  I am not a soccer mom (even in my nice car).  And I didn’t have kids in high school (even in my old car).  And I was enslaved by other people’s perceptions of me.  Perceptions that really didn’t matter.

People don’t really like to be judged.  People who know a little about the Bible like to whip out Matthew 7:1:  “Judge not, that you be not judged.”  Basically they say “You can’t judge me so you won’t be judged too.”  Let me make two observations on this argument.  1.  You have just horribly abused scripture, ripping a verse out of context and using it to fit you whims.  2.  This is a command from Jesus, so even if it was strictly forbidding you from ever judging, it is not grenande to throw at people when you feel like they are judging you.  I highly doubt Jesus ever yelled at his childhood friend “judge not!” when they questioned him about the very iffy cover story his parent had of why he was conceived out of wedlock.  Jesus understood what it meant to be judged for something that wasn’t even true.

So maybe the other parents in car line shouldn’t judge me (and maybe they don’t–after all this is going on in their cars with the windows up).  But even if they do, I do not need to be shackled  by their judgment.   I don’t need to shout “judge not” loud enough for them to hear me.  In the end, it is between God and them.  And I do not need to fear being judged.

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Responses

  1. A blessing to read, Molly. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Oy! I have such a bad habit of doing this. I imagine all sorts of horrible things for other people to think about me. Sometimes I imagine so well that I take offense that they should think such things! I have found that as I seek to disregard my own insecurities that I am much more understanding of people that I would have otherwise judged wrongly. Thanks for sharing Molly. Very well written.


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