On judging fat people (a confession)

I can be a very judgmental person. I knew this before, of course, but it really came home to me this past weekend. Here’s what happened.

I finished the first draft of my novel on Saturday afternoon after a marathon writing session, spurred on by momentum and the knowledge that oh-my-gosh-I-could-finish-this book today! So my husband decided that we as a family needed to celebrate this by going out to eat. My brain was fried, so he chose a restaurant and we went. No sooner were we seated than I happened to notice a girl at the table across from us, probably about eleven years old. She was fat. She was eating an ice cream sundae.

Here’s where I became judgmental: my first thought was “She doesn’t need to eat ice cream! She’s fat! She’s got a double chin and no neck! Why aren’t her parents making her eat a normal meal?!?”

Meanwhile, we ordered dessert. Notice the irony. Even as I let my own children and husband share a huge dessert with me, I’m passing judgement on a) a child’s weight, b) her dietary choices, and c) her parents’ parenting ability. (Although I think there was cause for concern in this case, I wasn’t feeling concern, only superiority.)

This isn’t the only thing I’m judgemental about.

I also have a huge disdain for those who can’t tell the difference between its and it’s, your and you’re, and there and their and they’re. (Meanwhile, I still struggle with the difference between effect and affect. I look it up every single time I use either word, or else rewrite the sentence to avoid being wrong.)

The weight-judgment thing really bugs me, though. I haven’t struggled with my weight, per se, but I have close relatives who have struggled with being overweight their entire lives. I have wrestled with eating disorders and body image and my relationship with food.

When I first started treatment for bulimia, my parents took me out to eat, and I was so jealous of the skinny lady eating dessert at the table near ours. I knew that I couldn’t have that huge brownie sundae, not without triggering a binge-purge episode, and it made me furious—irrationally—at the woman eating it.

So technically, I should have been sympathetic toward this child. And yet I wasn’t. I was ready to yank that sundae out from under her nose and shove rabbit food at her. Not my place. Not my job. Not a healthy attitude, nor a gracious one.

Jesus talked about judging others, how we should take the log out of our own eye before we point out the speck in our brother’s (and sister’s). Good advice for everyone. Now I just have to take it.

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6 thoughts on “On judging fat people (a confession)

  1. I’m also guilty. Thank you for offering the reminder to send love and prayer for the people to find freedom in balance. And the prayer for ourselves to let go and let God.

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    1. Thanks for reading, Frances. When I thought about it, I was really shocked at how intense my reaction was to this girl, and I have no idea why. I wish my response had been concern, and like you said, love and prayers for her to find freedom.

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  2. You and me both, Laura, you and me both. Reading your post here was like looking in a mirror.

    I am so glad that God in his grace has chosen not to judge me, even though his judgment would be righteous, and that he forgives me all my unrighteous judgments toward him and toward others. Grace really is astounding.

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  3. If we are going to judge anyone, then the person should be ourselves. I too have a problem with this, and I notice that if someone gets in my way in a supermarket, something trivial, I get ratty. I don’t show it of course, I just fume quietly! It’s all bad, but at least I am aware of this now. The danger is that when we think we just can’t be wrong, it’s then that sin has a way of finding us out; one way or the other.

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