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.