I feel judged….
I feel judged for the pants I wear.
I feel judged for the v-neck shirts I wear or the fact I dress each day and don’t go out shopping in my sweats.
I feel judged that I put make-up on even when I’m at work or simply at home.
I feel judged for the way I raised my kids.
I actually feel judged by people because they ‘think’ we don’t have kids! (Trust me… last week at church someone is passing me and I say hello asking them how an event went and we had a very nice conversation… But then the question comes… “How come you never had kids?” ‘Seriously??’ I didn’t say that. I am so used to the question, and not wanting to make them feel bad I laughed and said… ‘Oh, I have 3 beautiful brilliant adult girls!’
There was shock on her face…. As there usually is.
I feel judged for the way I follow Christ… How Sundays are not always my Sabbath day, and the fact I have tattoos and so does my man… or that I don’t attend bible studies that focus on our sins… I feel judged that I don’t advertise our home address out in the world.. that I am cautious with who knows where we live and we ask that people don’t just pop over… Text first please!!!!
I feel judged!
And part of me knows that this judgement is the enemy. That satan would love nothing more then to make me feel judged and less than in this world that is not my home. That he would love nothing more then to make me feel so small that I can’t or don’t speak up and love on people. That I hide into my own small circle of friends, not inviting anyone new into my circle…. Not reaching out to someone that God leads me to… For fear that they too will judge me….. or my current friends will judge me for inviting someone they don’t approve of. Or simply someone they don’t know.
I could live my entire world under the feeling of judgement, so much so, it could immobilize me.
But that isn’t what God wants! It isn’t what Jesus died on the cross for!!!!
The other part is the knowledge that people ARE judging me.
I am sure that if my neighbors could see in my living room just now… they would have been looking with an odd look… as I danced around my small living room…. To a song that God and I were enjoying. I dance. I am not a professional dancer… I twirl, like I am not a professional… And I do not care one bit who see’s… Because those moments with God…. Are better then any moment I could possibly have here on earth.
Then there are those neighbors that would be smiling.. because they just plain get me…. Just like I am.. No judgement… That’s just Tabitha. As they snicker their snicker and continue to their place. How I love friends that just roll with me.
I know people judge me because they have told me. In honest moments they have come to me asking for clarity and told me how they perceived me. Till they sought to know… The reason… And it’s ok.
I also know because I catch the hints and the slight micro expressions…
I’ve sat across the table when someone starts talking about how person A is doing such a horrible job.. and I can’t help but to speak up…. “Have you asked them why they do that?” The conversation is always eye opening… for both of us.
We as humans have a tendency to judge people. It’s just what we do.
We judge someone’s economic status without learning about more about them.. what makes them tick… We judge their social status….. without stopping to ask them exactly why they do what they do and for what reason?
We judge and call a woman that has had an abortion a murderer… and condemn her in our social circles.. because ‘we could never’ do that…
Then there are those slight judgements where you talk about how sad it is for all the aborted babies.. and then follow it up with… I never had an abortion… I ‘feel’ for those that have. I call those backhanded judgements… You say you feel for the woman for the choice she made.. but you preface or follow it with the fact YOU NEVER had one.. Just so the room knows you shouldn’t be judged like the ones that have.
We sit and look at how someone dresses and judge their clothing choices… because modesty for a Christian….. without asking them why they dress the way they do.
I could go on….
But I won’t…
Because you get the point…
When our eldest was about 8 she became very concerned about the sabbath and more specifically the fact her grandfather whom was a fireman was working on Sundays. One Sunday while sitting in the service she listened to the pastor talking about how important the sabbath was. She leaned over and whispered to me… ‘Mom, what about grandpa? Is he sinning because he doesn’t have Sunday off?’
She was visibly distraught and as the people were leaving I walked her right back into the office… We were met face to face with the pastor.. A large man with a deep voice that never scared anyone or any kid…. He listened to her sweet soul asking her question and without missing a beat he replied, “That’s why God gave us 6 other days in the week. Do you think he rests on one of those 6 days?”
She replied with a yes… and he left her with an assignment. “Next time you see him.. ask him. The only way to truly understand someone is to ask them.”
I miss this pastor. The pastor that would throw the doors wide open exposing the darkness within. He understood people.
But that’s a lesson to us all… The lesson taught in a short moment to an 8 year old…. “The only way to truly understand someone is to ask them”
Ask me why I wear v-necks and I will tell you… I was strangled when I was 19 and to this day a simple tshirt against my neck brings on unpleasant feelings… God created people that make different clothing for reasons like me.
Ask me why my pants are tight… and I will tell you they actually aren’t. They are a lycra that hugs comfortably close to my legs so when I am pulling fencing the fencing doesn’t get caught on a pocket and pull me down the cliff…. Trust me.. I learned the hard way. Pulling fencing on a steep hill and sliding down the hill with no way to stop but into the large evergreen brings a lot of bruises with it. Pants that hug me slightly have less area’s for the fencing to get stuck on.
Ask me why I love on everyone and I will explain simply because Jesus told us to Love everyone and Christ loved…. everyone!
Ask me why I hold where we live somewhat secret and don’t post our physical address in directories and I will tell you… We have had people come to the house unannounced to ‘school’ me on how my husband should do his job.
Ask me why we travel to the next city to go to the Dr’s or Dentist office and I will simply tell you that it is most unsettling when the tech says Hello “Mrs. Bettencourt” as she comes to your chair and on the other side of the wall you hear a man chirp up…. “Are you related to Officer Bettencourt?” You would have seen my eyes close as I honestly whisper… “Yes” and I hear the other techs in the room comment on how I am his wife… and then he hollers out… “He gave me a ticket!” And your body grows cold… because you have no clue what the ticket was for… why he still remembers it.. and why he feels entitled to comment to the officers wife for doing his job? So you just sit there remaining still and pray… please don’t let him take it out on me Lord!!!!!
There are reasons why people do the things they do.
We all have past experiences and past hurts that shape the way we live in this world.
Wouldn’t the world be amazing if instead of being quiet and secretly judging the person for why they do what we feel they shouldn’t do…. We simply strike up a conversation as to why they do what they do?
These conversations don’t come without pain. Some questions have met me with tears… One because I care enough to ask why… Two because I saw them.. and Three because I want to understand them rather then judge them and move on to someone ‘more my caliber of friend.’ But 4… because it’s painful for them…
20+ years ago I heard a pastor counsel with an 8 year old…. I tucked this brief conversation in my heart and live by it…. “The only way to truly understand someone is to ask them.”
This reminds me of John 8:1-30… Jesus… face to face with a woman that was caught in adultery… Men all around her waiting for Jesus to condemn her to be stoned to death…. And He says this….
“The one without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her.”
If we truly believed that Christ died for our sins…. And that he desired for us to truly know Him and follow Him… Wouldn’t we be spending more time loving people… showing compassion for them.. offering guidance…. praying for them… and getting to know them.. then passing judgement on them?
Just in case you want to know how the story unfolds:
Then He stooped down again and continued writing on the ground. When they heard this, they left one by one, starting with the older men. Only He was left, with the woman in the center. When Jesus stood up, He said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, Lord,” she answered.
“Neither do I condemn you,” said Jesus. “Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.”
I just want to cry…. at the beauty of this moment.
“The only way to truly understand someone is to ask them.” – Bufe Karraker