New King James Version (NKJV)
11 Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?
When I was a kid, mockery about my weight from fellow classmates became a daily event. It’s not that I was extremely obese, but I didn’t fit into a mold. Even when I lost that good ol’ “baby weight” I realized I still don’t fit into the world’s mold. Now that I am in my 30s, I am learning to appreciate the way God made me. But this is a process. I learned judgement at an early age from my cohorts, and before I knew it, I casted the same judgement on others. As teenagers, we would knit pick the other kids. I would judge other girls based on if I felt I looked better than them or not. Then when I began my walk with God, I became legalistic and would judge others on every little error they made instead of looking at my own. If I saw a fellow Christian cussing, Oh boy! I found you out and the things I would think about. I am ashamed to admit that I judged so many for so little. This judging even pushed friends and family away. Who would dare want to be a Christian if all they do is sit back and judge? And for several years, I was the worst kind: self-righteous, judgemental, unmerciful, ungracious, and yet forgiven.
Matthew 7:2-4 states, “2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye?” Ouch! Let me just say how thankful I am that God doesn’t leave us where He found us. I do not want to even begin to think about the judgement He would cast down upon me if it hadn’t been for His grace and His mercy. My judgement bone is not completely removed; it’s a plank that has been stuck in my eye for a while. I still judge and biggest recipient of my judgement is myself. I became use to the stares and the hateful words that I became obsessive over loosing weight. I made sure that I was at the gym at least two hours every day, with a caloric intake of maybe 1100. If I didn’t get to the gym, oh boy, I was on a war path. It became a drug of choice, working out, and if I didn’t get my fix for that day I was not a happy person. I constantly over-analyzed my post-babies body. I had a goal that I wanted to meet by a certain deadline and come hell or high water, I was going to meet it.
I didn’t meet it. A year later I am still fifteen pounds away from my goal. One would think, “Crazy lady, you lost 60 pounds by working out and eating less. You should be proud!” And don’t get me wrong, it’s really great knowing I can fit back into my prom dress after 13 years, and not my wedding dress (because it’s huge!). But I still judged myself. I still compare myself to the other moms out there that look like they never had babies. I compare myself to every woman who walks in a room. Who looks better than me? Who do I look better than? And it is exhausting!!! My life’s focus became me and my physical features, because if I am going to be judged by others than I want the good judgement. I want to be the girl who people say, “There is noooooooo way you had two ten-pound babies!” Yet, where does God fit in to all this?
I told you, God and I are still trying to take out this plank. Thankfully, I have a husband who fell in love with me at my heaviest so now that I am at my most fit, he thinks he’s got a brand new woman. This has been a double-edged sword. lol I have two healthy, beautiful children who love me just as I am. And I have a God, my Lord, who loved me from the moment I put my first Twinkie in my mouth and then the second and then the tenth…you get my point. (I love me some pastries!) So if my God, who is perfect, can love me in my imperfections, then why can’t I?
I know this passage talks about judging one another, but I believe with all my heart, that we need to not only stop judging others, but stop judging ourselves the way the world does. I need to judge myself, alright. I need to judge my motivations and my actions according to God’s word and holiness. What does it matter what I look like? I am getting older anyways! Before I know it my boobs are going to be to my knees and I am not going under the knife unless it’s absolutely necessary. That’s what push up bras are for, right? I am going to take care of myself so that I can be around for my children as long as God lets me. I am going to take care of my body because it is God’s temple and I want to be faithful in all things that He has given me.
It dawned on me as I write this that if I continue to judge myself and allow my kids to hear these hurtful words I say about myself, they’re going to learn how to judge themselves and others in a negative light, as well. I do not want my son learning from his mother that it’s ok to judge women on their looks. Society might teach him that, but I don’t want to be a part of it. I want his father and I to teach him that what makes a woman worthy is not her body, but her heart. I want to teach my daughter that she is a princess not in a haughty way, but in God’s eyes. She is an heir to the throne of the Most High. And while she will face criticism on this earth, she is fearfully and wonderfully made by our Heavenly Father and He loves her just as she is. No, I want to show my children what a godly woman is to be like, that she doesn’t worry about what to wear or what she looks like for this very reason found in Matthew 6:27-34:
27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clotheyou, O you of little faith?
31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
I encourage us all to not worry. Do not judge, especially yourselves. Let the words you speak about yourself be loving and kind. I pray that God will allow us to see ourselves the way He sees us. He does not see the extra fifteen pounds I am carrying or the flab under my arms that I like to call “My wings”. I pray He sees me as a woman who is seeking after Him on a moment to moment basis. Yes, I fail. Yes, I falter. But we serve a loving and forgiving God! And if you ladies need an example to live by and if you fellas need an example of what a godly woman should be, I leave you with Proverbs 31:
Who[b] can find a virtuous[c] wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
And willingly works with her hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
She brings her food from afar.
15 She also rises while it is yet night,
And provides food for her household,
And a portion for her maidservants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
From her profits she plants a vineyard.
17 She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is good,
And her lamp does not go out by night.
19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hand holds the spindle.
20 She extends her hand to the poor,
Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
22 She makes tapestry for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies sashes for the merchants.
25 Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.
I thank you for your guidance and your love. I thank you that you are constantly wooing us and showing us how you love. Father, forgive us for judging others and ourselves. Forgive us for not seeing others and ourselves the way you see us. Please give us your heart and your eyes. Let the words we speak about others and ourselves be loving and kind, holy and uplifting. Teach us to not worry about what others think about us, that your opinion is the only one that matters. Holy Spirit, guard our hearts and our minds against the evil things this world has and will say about us. Help us to forgive those that have tortured us with their words and judgement. Jesus, teach us how to love those that are hard to love.
In your precious name,
Y’all have a great Sunday!