Another Christian mom recently visited my home and commented on a particular video game she saw on my shelf. "This game isn’t appropriate for your children," she said gravely. Her words stung. Not because of the video game, which belonged to my husband, but because of the judgement I felt. I know that feeling well. I’m guessing you do, too.
When it comes to the many choices we make as women, I confess that I’ve been both judged and the judge of others. We critique many things, including how children are educated, whether cheesecake is necessary after lunch, what books children are allowed to read and whether mothers should work outside the home. Honestly, there have been times when the opinions of others have practically crippled me. And truth be told, I’ve wounded others with my own opinions.
The thoughts and judgments of other women can make life so much more stressful. Our desire to seek the Lord and live righteously before Him becomes infinitely more complicated when we allow others to burden us with their design for our lives. It’s essential that we not allow the voices of others to drown out the soft whisper of God’s spirit to our hearts. Jesus says in Matthew 11:29, "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
Every woman needs dear friends who can ask the tough questions and speak truth into her life. However, many of the judgements of other women are not the result of genuine care, but arise from insecurities about their own choices. For most women, the inclination to compare begins when we are little girls — although I’m certain that "making comparisons" is not a biblical mandate in our lives (2 Corinthians 10:12).
The secret to weathering the opinions of the crowd is to ask, "Lord, what do You think?" Then listen. Among the many standards that are clear throughout the Bible, there are many others that we must leave to our conscience, trusting the Holy Spirit to direct us.
The Lord has given us all different gifts and placed us in unique roles and circumstances. We are called to honour, not judge, each other. As we walk in Christ’s freedom, let’s extend the same grace to other women that we wish to receive from them.
This article first appeared in the October/November 2011 issue of Thriving Family magazine. Copyright © 2011 by Focus on the Family. Used by permission. ThrivingFamily.com.