In 2004, I was at a wedding. I was a new mom of my brand new baby Sophia. And I watched in horror as another mom filled her baby’s bottle with Diet Coke. Diet Coke! I thought I will never do that to my kids!
Fast-forward many years and many kids later: Baby cries when I’m drinking my occasional diet soda, I open her bottle and pour some in. How times have changed!
In 2008, after having baby number two, I was an self-identified expert on “sleep schedules,” thinking how foolish new parents were and wondering why they wouldn’t just follow my advice on how to get a new baby to sleep through the night and in their cribs. I mean, how hard was it? All my babies slept through the night without a 4 a.m. feeding at 6 weeks and then no feeding from 6 p.m. – 6 a.m. by 3 months.
Then…baby number three comes. Boy, I was in for a surprise when she woke up because she was either cold, wet, hungry or bored. Despite all my “same” efforts, she was my “sensitive” one (still is). She didn’t technically “sleep through the night” until she was near 2 years old.
All these little lessons have made me realize that as soon as I judge someone, chances are, God will have a little laugh and it’ll soon happen to me.
I realize through so many parenting trials, I decided to apply a philosophy I already held dear in another area of my life.
When I got married, I knew that one day I may not like the man I married, we all have those days, right? But what if days turned into weeks, then months, then years? I knew “it could be me” that was one of those that got a divorce. Even as a Christian, considering that Christians statistically have the same, if not higher divorce rate than non-Christians.
I don’t intend to get a divorce. I don’t think anyone at the altar does. Luckily, after 9 years of marriage, we still are totally in love, but I have to say, in part, I attribute this idea of “it could be me.”
Because of this “it could be me” philosophy, I took the offensive. I stepped up to the challenge and refused to let my marriage dissolve without a fight.
I still realize that “it could be me.” So I continually pray, fight with my own demons and character flaws, and do my best (which sometimes is paltry, believe me when I say I’m no saint). I go before the Lord, asking him to reveal my sins towards my husband. I have not conquered them all, but I know they are there and I’m trying to chip away at my selfishness.
I remember thinking “it could be me” in the area of infidelity.
As I watched the marriages of people I knew and loved go down that path, it was evident it could happened to those who professed being “in love” with their spouses.
Enter new job, cute boy, long hours.
I remembered a saying from a sermon, “if you are tempted to have an affair…tell your spouse, they are they most invested party to help you deal with your temptations.” So I did.
For 10 months, we agonized over my subversive flirting with “cute boy”. My husband, as a man with his own issues, was sympathetic to the idea that it wasn’t because I was unhappy at home, because I wasn’t. In fact before I got the job I remember thinking how “perfect” our marriage was turning out to be, I was still crazy in love with my hubby. But put two people who are attracted to each other in an office, working long hours on projects together, is just a bad formula.
So I quit. End of problem.
But guess what? From now on I will do my best, with the Lord’s help, to not put myself in that same situation again, whether job-wise or socially. It was too emotionally stressful and eventually “it could have been me” no matter how hard I fought the temptation, I am only human. And like Joseph when tempted by Potiphar’s wife, I fled.
Then, there are those friends who I watch raising their teenagers. As a mom with no teenagers and only little ones…oh, how easy it is to judge a mom of teenagers!
“She should have spanked her kids more!”, “If she only used the method I use, she wouldn’t be dealing with that type of behavior.”, or “I would never allow my teenagers to do that.”
When I see a teenager who is “out of control,” not being obedient to his/her parents, not living for Christ, and desiring the things of this world, I must remember “it could be me” dealing with that in the years to come.
I will take my judgment and turn it into prayer for those affected and for myself.
Obviously, we should take what we see, the errors of others and learn to grow from it. If the Lord is leading you to follow a certain method, then great! Praise God!
I’m not saying we shouldn’t “judge others by their fruit” and whatnot. Of course, we have the Holy Spirit to know what is right and wrong, but there is that fine line between humanistic pride that says “I would never!” and the reliant humility that says “I may do that, Lord help me to avoid it.”
There are so many other areas I have diligently tried to apply this theory such as: people who walk away from the faith, people that are obese, or people who rely on the government for their support.
When we find ourselves in hard situations ourselves, we will be thankful for those friends who offer a listening ear and weigh carefully their words and advice before offering up their “wisdom.” And when we find ourselves in hard situations, especially after judging someone for the same thing, let us praise God for our humble situation!
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