No, this isn’t a commercial for KitKat candy bars, although I’m always up for chocolate. Give me a break is a phrase I utter quite often these days in response to many of the ridiculous things I see in the world. Mostly however, it is a phrase I use in response to the harsh judgements I see from one person to the next. A mom posts a picture of her kid eating candy, and gets publicly bashed for not banning sugar from their diet. Or a blogger posts on how to make your kids diet completely sugar free and receives backlash for not letting her kids live a little, or just be kids. Get in shape, and you think you’re something. Be fat, and you’re just too lazy to get in shape. The judgment is endless, and everybody feels entitled to dish it out. Give me a break.
When did it become a necessity to voice every single opinion we have about everything on to other people? When did it become okay to judge? It never did. We just started doing it. Please note that I do not believe stating that stating facts is judgment. It is the using of opinions in order to deduce something about someone else as being fact that I consider judgement. In other words, just because I don’t agree with you doesn’t mean I am judging you.
Now all of this is coming from someone who has done their fair share of judging. I have openly judged and ridiculed, commented on social media posts in judgement. I have also been the silent judger, the one who watches from the sidelines judging your every move, thinking to my self “I would never” or “I can’t believe they would”. You name it, I’ve judged it. My younger years were full of judging. Oh but life has humbled me. I try to not do that anymore. I catch myself if tempted to think those thoughts, and have to stop them right there. Or if it comes out of my mouth, I apologize and offer the benefit of the doubt. Every once in a while something slips by, but for the most part it doesn’t. It has offered me a kind of freedom I never knew I needed. A freedom that allows me to love people better.
I am free to know that I haven’t walked in someone else’s shoes. I am free to know that perhaps someones actions come from a place of deep hurt. I am free to know that sometimes the only reason someone acts harshly or in a cruel way is simply because that’s the choice they made. Everyone isn’t going to have a “good reason” for the way they are. I can’t offer grace to just the ones who have had a hard life, and judgement to those who completely know better, but do it any way. It’s not my place. It’s no longer a responsibility I carry to judge others. Christ set me free from that. He helped me to understand what a heavy burden it is to judge others. He helped me to understand that judging others only brings judgement back on me.
We are quick to judge what we don’t know, and what we think we do know. God knows I am the worst to think I know exactly what someone meant, or what they’re thinking, when most of the time Im waaaaay off. I try to do better. For my sake and theirs. I try to understand that not everyone sees things the way I do. I now understand that taking a quick minute to think before I speak can change someones day, even their life. Life has humbled me that way.
I remember finding my self in a place of infertility. I NEVER thought I would be there. It never even occurred to me that I wouldn’t be able to have a baby, but there I was. It was then that I really started paying attention to how I addressed other people concerning if they were going to have children because of my own experiences. I can’t explain the deep stabbing I experienced each time someone would say “When are you going to have a baby?” “Y’all can’t wait forever, you need to go ahead and start having kids”. You name it, Ive heard it. Even people who knew my struggles would offer some quick fix based on their judgement of my situation, “Just do this” “Just don’t worry about it and it’ll happen” “Everything happens for a reason”. Give me a break, I wanted to scream! But I didn’t. My hurt turned into frustration, and then resentment, and finally understanding. I began to understand all the times I had offered judgment on someones situation/life/problem without hearing their story. I offered my share of ” I would never” or “If they did that to me, I would” or “If I were you, I would”. God help me at the times Ive said those things to others.
During that season of my life I became sorry for all the times I had judged others or their choices, or circumstances without knowing really anything about it. I became sensitive to wait just a second longer before responding. I repented, which means I asked for forgiveness for my sin, and turned away from it, trying not to do it again. So that’s what I do now. I try not to do it again. I am tempted daily. Catch me at the right moment, and ill judge before I’ve even realized it. Get me riled up about a wrong someone has done to me and I may slip up. While I’m not perfect, I am trying. Trying not to judge others.
Give people a break, and you’ll be surprised at how much better you can love them. Love is what changes people after all, not judgement.