As I sit here on the floor of my bedroom, hiding from the view of my two month old son as he cries himself to sleep, I reflect on what it means to be a parent today. Some of the people reading this might think I am a terrible parent. “He is only two months old!”, some might say. Others might think, “they are only little so long, just hold him”; and some might even concur that crying himself to sleep is a good idea. All of those people are only judging a glimpse of what they see. They don’t know that I have tried to get him down for a nap for hours but he is too overtired to allow me to put him down. They can’t see that he is inconsolable and simply too irritated to be held right now and they don’t know that I have changed him, fed him, rocked him, walked him and cuddled him to no avail. Yet they still judge. We all do. We all judge those around us. I judge the mom who gives her screaming child the toy he wanted at the store even after his hissy fit. I judge the parent who’s child kicks the back of my seat non-stop at the theater and with all this judging you would think I would remember how much I hate being judged myself. You would think I would remember the doctor who lectured me like a child when I told her my child sleeps in a manner she didn’t approve of. Or when she told me I should do better at breastfeeding my child and not just give him the formula that he is finally satiated with. We all judge when God is really the only one with the right to do so.
I have found that my pursuit of being a ministry minded mama requires that I learn my own lesson when it comes to judging others. I need to learn to meet people where they are. This doesn’t mean that I accept sinful behavior from fellow believers as, “just who they are, so it is ok.” As Christians, it is our responsibility to constantly be working towards a life lived for Christ, therefore, any sinful behavior I do that affects my fellow believers I expect to be held accountable for. Every Christian is on their own walk with God and God may be working on an area that I don’t see in a fellow believer’s life. This means it is not my job to judge everything they do, it means that it is my responsibility to hold them accountable if their sin is affecting others or if they are sinning publicly. That being said, it is still my job to meet people where they are. We are all sinners, who fall short of the glory of God and deserve death as a punishment for sin. A penalty that was paid by Christ on our behalf if we confess our sin and believe that He is who He says He is and did what He said He did.
Those who do not believe in Christ can’t be expected to be in the process of conforming to the image of Christ. They are still outside the family of God. They are sinners just as we are but without the direction or hope we see in Christ. If they don’t believe in God how can we expect them to be following His law? They must first see they beauty we see in the Christ what He has done to make us free. All this to say how can I judge someone when God is the judge of their hearts?
The way I see it I have a responsibility as a ministry minded mama to look past all the faults that I want to see in each person and accept them as God sees them. To look past a person’s warts and know that it is God’s job to change them not me. God may use me as the messenger. He may have me share the Good News, remind a believer of their commitment to God, or even encourage someone to do the right thing; but it is only God who sees the bigger picture and has the right to tell them who they need to be. Being ministry minded means that I always need to look at what I do, say, and think as an opportunity to serve God and bring Him glory. This doesn’t mean I allow someone to hurt someone else because, “it is God’s job”, but it does mean that when it comes to judging that mom who cursed when her child hit her with the cart for the tenth time or when I see a mom make the choice to use formula and not try breastfeeding her baby; then it is my responsibility to allow God to judge if it was a right or wrong action and use my energy to find a way to understand where she is, to encourage her where she is at, or to simply love her as a woman loved by God just as much as God loves sinful me.