Monday, March 31, 2014

Take a Pass on Passing Judgment

The other day I was out shopping, and  I saw a young woman with three young girls in the shopping cart, one young boy walking beside it and a baby in a sack hanging on her front. All the children were well-behaved and the young woman seemed so relaxed and low-key. A few days later, I saw (in the same place!) another young woman with four children and she appeared to be expecting a fifth. She seemed to be on the same drug as the other woman. 

On the way out, an older man turned to Brian and me and said, "Did you see how many kids that woman had? And another on the way!"

Of course, I noticed the gaggle of kids each of these women had, and maybe I made a judgment in my head. But I was mostly impressed by how well-behaved the children were and how relaxed the mothers were. You have to be a certain kind of person to have 4-5 children. I'm not that kind of person and I never was.

I can remember when I was of child-bearing age...the question after you had the first baby was, "When are you having another?" Please, let me just get through this first. If you were expecting for a third time, the questions suddenly changed to, "You're having ANOTHER?" 

When did we start living in China when we were only allowed to have two children? (Or is it only one there?) Why do we make rules for everyone else to follow? What makes us the boss of other people? Why does it matter if a couple want to have five children? Who are we to pass judgment? We all do it. We may not care how many children someone has; perhaps we've decided that someone shouldn't...I don't know...smoke outside the sets a bad example. Or that a person shouldn't decorate a certain way because it's outdated. Or that someone's clothing isn't appropriate (maybe it's not, but it's not our place to decide that, unless there is a dress code they are breaking and we're responsible for enforcing). 

When my daughter was a teenager, she once showed up for church in a very short skirt. Someone said to her, "Nice of you and your short skirt to come to church." My daughter never forgot that, but not because she wanted to go home and change. Because it was my place to comment, not this other person's. Hey, at least my teenager was in church.

I remember a story in the bible where a woman was caught in adultery and she was to be stoned. The Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, "What do you say?" What was his response? "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Everyone dropped their stones and walked away. (John 8:3-7)

May we do the same.

Blessings Along the Path,