“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!” – Ps. 139:23
I think it happens about a thousand times a day for me. There is always some judgment to be passed. I may be at the park, horrified to see a mom allowing her toddler to climb the jungle gym on their own, or at the mall, watching another little one hide under the racks of clothes while the mother shops farther away. Even if I don’t go anywhere, I still have opportunities to judge – the news and Facebook take care of that! One of my worst faults is that I always have an opinion, and most people don’t usually care what it is!
I think we moms can be especially careless about passing judgment on other moms because we are so sure of our own parenting skills that we are aghast to find out that someone else may be doing it differently.
But lately, I’ve been reading in my devotions about examining my own heart and allowing God to enter into the secret places. This is an intimidating thought! After all, I don’t want God to see my judgmental, angry, prideful, selfish, sinful side (as if God doesn’t already know everything about me!).
“Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.” – Ps. 51:6
As I started examining my own heart, I have begun to realize just how critical and judgmental I can be! I’m ashamed to say that I find myself even becoming quite prideful in how I handle a situation with the kids or with my husband. Who can pat me on the back better than me?!
“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” – Prov. 16:18.
You know, it’s not too long after I get puffed up after one good day that suddenly things get crazy at my house! Hannah may suddenly start mouthing off to me, slam the door to her bedroom, and spend the day in a huff. And Ephraim will suddenly decide to tear apart everything in the house, leaving chaos in every room he visits. In the meantime, Jamie is annoyed with one thing or another and taking it out on all of us. And before I know it, I’m blowing my temper, falling down, down, down into a deep mire of self-pity. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I had the perfect family?
But I don’t want to be the kind of mother, wife, or even human being who glories in their own abilities. I don’t want to find myself puffed up on my own achievements because “all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away” (Is. 64:6).
When I start examining my own heart, I find myself falling on my knees, begging God to “see if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Ps. 139:24).
I love how God speaks to us in ways that we really need. He knows what each of us needs to hear at the exact moment we need to hear it! Right now, I am knee-deep in parenting, and so all of my pride is wrapped up in this season of my life. But I am so thankful that God forgives me every day and washes my sins away with His Son’s blood! He is constantly loving me, wrapping me in His arms, and whispering to me, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10).
So, fellow mother, I say all this to challenge you as I have been challenged. Rather than scorn the mother whose child needs their nose wiped and their diaper changed, come alongside of her and ask her how she is doing. Lend her a hand. She may need compassion instead of criticism. And instead of despising the mom who is yelling at her school-age child, consider how you sometimes talk to your kids. Maybe she’s just having a bad day. There is no mother out there who does not have bad days with her children, including you!
So instead of judging one another, let’s consider coming together and joining forces in this journey of motherhood! I don’t know about you, but I sure could use the support!