I can be really judgmental.
It’s important to be honest about this up front.
Judgmental and prideful.
I have a number of things that need some refining in my life, but these two regularly top the list.
You know what often makes me better about my nasty Judge Gindi default?
Changing my mind.
Stepping outside my comfort zone.
All those things, knock the judgmental wind right out of my sails.
I’m actually way better than I used to be. At the ripe old age of 17, I went off to a religious university full of piety. I may have been poor but I made up for it with riches of righteousness. I was a good girl with limited life experience and bows to match my dresses. (That wasn’t as bizarre in the late 80s and early 90s.)
My senior year in college, the little rebel who had been pushed down deep found her way out. I spent several years doing the things I was told were wrong growing up.
But one moment during that period stands out. I’d returned to my college during my first year in law school. I showed up at one of the parties thrown by a “partying” fraternity (keep this in perspective, small town Arkansas, religious school). One of the guys came up to me, I’m sure to refill my drink, and said, “You’re really cool. I remember how you used to walk by our table in the cafeteria and not even look at us. Like you were better. But here you are, and you’re a lot of fun.”
It still hurts writing it. I remember it like it was yesterday and I was 22.
I was so judgmental it physically SHOWED.
Wouldn’t you think that would break a person PERMANENTLY of judgment?
Alas, it still rears its ugly head.
Why am I writing about this now?
Well, I was reminded of how self-important I can be last weekend, and why I have to start every single day asking the “author and perfecter of my faith” for help.
Luckily, the judgement didn’t show like it did when I walked by those tables in the college cafeteria, but I saw it and you’ve probably seen something similar before. Either as the judger or the judgee. Or, like me, as both.
We are pretty restrictive about what the kids can see/listen to/read. They are only in third grade and there is so much scary and graphic and sexual out there in the world today. I don’t believe I need to protect them forever, too much protection can get you into the trouble I got into as a young adult, but third grade still warrants safeguards.
One place this shows up is movies. The kids aren’t just watching “kid” movies anymore, but there is a lot out there they can’t watch. So when I saw a mom posting about a movie she was at with her similarly aged kids, I immediately jumped to Judge Gindi (has a ring to it, no?). I had read a review on CommonSense Media (where I investigate movies in advance) which said how rough the language was. Good movie, bad language was the basic summary.
Judgy-judgy-judgy me jumped into my happy judgy place. And you know what happens when you jump to a judgy place? You feel better about yourself. You get up on your self-righteous pedestal and say, well at least MY children are being sheltered from such inappropriateness. Insert mom pic with halo.
Mom-judgyness is at an all time high around our country.
Imagine posh voice, raised eyebrows, nose downturned:
I never serve my kids fast food.
My children have been tutored in music lessons since they could babble.
Oh, I read at least THIRTY minutes every night with my children.
(None of these things I could say, mind you. Hence the “I’ve been judged out the whazoo.” So why the heck am I running around judging!?!?)
So you know what God did? Now mind you, this isn’t scriptural or anything so don’t take this as a faith lesson. It was just another kick off another pedestal (for the 15,679-th time).
I ended up at THAT movie with MY kid a week later.
Take that Judge Gindi.
This is clearly not a directive to take your kid to a movie with bad language.
But here’s what happened. My daughter had begged to see this movie for a long time. It had a good and important message. So I looked at her Saturday morning and said, This movie has a lot of bad words. The D word. The S word. The F word. (Her eyebrows arched. Cursing is something I don’t struggle with, I’ve got plenty of other stuff, but she’s 9 and she’s heard these words out in the world by now.) We can go to this movie, with a reminder that these words are never appropriate and you are not to say them, or we can go see the Beauty and the Beast musical downtown.
Hand’s down, the movie won.
And it did have A LOT of bad words. And it also had a wonderful and powerful message.
Afterwards, we talked about what the movie meant and what we shouldn’t take away from it.
But this isn’t about the movie. This is about how God reminds me, even after all these years on my faith journey, that I have SO far to go.
It’s why that passage in Hebrews 12 is really encouraging to me. Not only does it call Jesus “the author and perfecter of our faith” – if our faith is being perfected, then that means it is not perfect yet. But it also reminds us to “lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us.” My judgment is both an encumbrance to me living freely as well as a sin (“Judge not or you too will be judged” – Matthew 7). Then, it goes on to say this (from the Message translation):
My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either.
It’s the child he loves that he disciplines; the child he embraces, he also corrects.
God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live?
So I’m just still getting schooled.
And I guess I will for a good long while.
In the meantime, I’ll retire Judge Gindi. We’ll see how long she stays in retirement. I’m confident I’ll get knocked off more pedestals in the future. Then, once again, God will teach me there’s a better way when I muck up, or change my mind, or step outside my comfort zone.