There’s been a hashtag making the rounds about things only Christian women hear. Harsh words. Depressing advice. Downright nasty opinions. And they are all from other church goers. I’ve read posts about the tweets and over a hundred comments/tweets—from people who have never heard of such things in their church, to women who have left because of some of the very things mentioned.
I’ve heard some pretty cruel suggestions/questions/remarks myself. There are a couple of blog posts where I’ve blown off steam about them. In my cases, it’s never a good thing to put another Christian to shame for what they wear or choose to pierce.
But my dirty little secret?
I’ve thought some of those “things.” And sometimes, I still catch my holier-than-thou inner critic judging others.
Not quite in line with Proverbs 4:23: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
Growing up, I was mostly a P.K. (that’s short for Pastor’s Kid). Dad became a preacher when I was in 5th grade, so my sisters and I wore skirts or dresses and my brother was in slacks and a button up shirt. Not sure if he wore a tie every Sunday, but he had an assorted collection. And really, it didn’t bother me to dress that way. It was only a few years after I was married, that I wore dress pants to church for the first time.
Years later, denim made the cut. Not scruffy or ones with holes, but nice ones. Even though I lowered my personal standards, my brain was still high up on a pedestal, looking down my nose when someone arrived wrinkled, dirty, or altogether odd-matching. I cannot even remember the sermon Pastor Jim gave one week where I suddenly realized my hypocrisy: I can wear what I want, but you should bend to my standards. Of course, in Jesus’ name.
Though I try, I’m a creature of habit. That nasty voice questions what someone is doing (“Why didn’t she go to the bathroom before church?”) or wearing (“Really should’ve tried the jeans without holes.”). It still fights for my attention. Sometimes, my lips move before my brain engages and I’m spewing unhelpful advice.
While that hashtag makes its round for a while longer, I dread reading comments. I hope it wasn’t ever something I said or did to turn someone away from the Lord. And I want to apologize to women who have heard offensive hints or remarks. God certainly wasn’t represented in my Judgey McJudgement attitude or the words of any nosey Nellie.
Until then, remember this:
Forgive me. I’m still trying to duct taped my internal judge’s mouth shut, but others aren’t quite there yet. Some days, neither am I.