Matthew 7:1-2 Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
This is a familiar scripture, but I had a good reminder of it recently. I took our youngest daughter in for ear tubes a few days ago. She has severe physician anxiety/fear and sensory issues. She cycles through good days and bad with her sensory system, and unfortunately we were in the middle of several bad days. We entered the lobby and she melted down almost instantly. She had not been able to eat breakfast and it was very early, so I am sure both of these factors contributed too. We sat down and waited for her name to be called. She did what I call melting. where she stiffens her body and slides right out of my lap onto the floor as she is screaming. She laid in the floor screaming, absolutely inconsolable, hitting her head on the floor, kicking her feet and refusing to let me calm her down. Of course, all the other parents in the lobby couldn’t help but notice. But, there was one gentleman in particular that I could tell was making decisions about my parenting skills as we sat there. The look on his face told me that he believed the reason our little one was in the floor having a tantrum was because I am a bad parent who never disciplines her child, and if I was more stern, or a better parent maybe, she would behave better. I wanted to cry. His judgment of me really hurt. I already felt embarrassed by the scene and then to have him look at me that way really hurt my feelings. Then I grew angry at him and wanted to tell him so. We finally got called to the back, where the tantrum/meltdown/fear continued until she was anesthetized. I sat there brooding over the judgment passed on me, thinking of all the things I wish I could have said to him. Things like, “You have no idea what kind of parent I am. I break my back trying to help this child make it through every day without fear and meltdown due to her confused sensory system. I am a great parent!” (On a side note, for those of you unfamiliar with sensory issues, they affect every aspect of a child’s ability to function properly in daily life, often resulting in “primal fear” reactions to triggers. For our little one her triggers are unexpected movement, not receiving enough sensory input, new or unfamiliar textures (especially orally), among others. This put together with severe fear of physicians obviously made for a terrifying and rough morning for her.) It finally dawned on me, though, that I had done the exact same thing to other parents at times. I sit and watch their children misbehave and I assume it’s their fault. How wrong of me! To be on the other side of that judgment really hurt, and was truly eye-opening. God reminded me of the above scripture and also reminded me that we are all human. No one is perfect, and there is no way we can know someone else’s story and situation just by seeing them for a few brief moments. I am glad that God is the only one who holds the power to truly judge me, because not only does He know me very well, He loves me more than I can imagine. I am going to try much harder in the future to reserve my judgments of others and remember how awful it felt when it happened to me.