I couldn’t believe what I was reading. As I scrolled down my Facebook news feed, there it was for all to see—a status update from yet another person, using their Facebook platform as a sort of cyber whipping post for those with whom they disagree. In this case, it was a mother commenting on another mother’s parenting decisions.
The comments cascading below the assault were from like-minded individuals, either throwing salt on the wound with their own colorful commentary or taking just long enough to stop patting themselves on the back to type what wonderful mothers they were. All I could imagine was how the women being referred to in the status update would feel if she knew her private choices were being put on trial in the Facebook court of public opinion.
I so-o-o-o-o-o-o wanted to defend this women scorned, and everyone like her, who has been made to feel inadequate by other moms. I wanted to cross-examine her accusers, asking them if they had ever walked a minute in her shoes? Did they know her struggles? Had they felt her pain? Did they hear her prayers at night? I wanted to ask them why—if they were so concerned with the wellbeing of her children—had they not offered a helping hand instead of a sucker punch. To be completely honest, part of me wanted to publicly humiliate them for publicly humiliating her.
While crafting a rebuttal, my computer keypad bearing the wrath of my frustrations with every word I pounded out, I stopped just long enough to ask God to direct my raw emotions to serve Him. It was then that I was prompted with the knowledge that reacting with raw emotion rarely, if ever, serves God (James 1:19). As I slowed down to process my feelings, my own folly became abundantly clear. In being the standard bearer for what is right for the purpose of showing others where they are wrong, I am merely trading self-righteous indignation for self-righteous indignation. And whether or not I respond to the Facebook post for all to see, which I did not, the desire alone makes me just as guilty as those I thought to put in their place (Matthew 5:28).
Sure I could justify my actions. I might even appear noble in defending this women’s honor. But what I must always remember, whether referring to my own situation or someone else’s, is that the morality handed down to us through God’s word is intended to bless, not bind. It is suppose to convict the heart, not condemn the person. Had I used it to publicly shame someone for shaming someone, odds are pretty good I’d be perverting His purpose for my purpose.
No matter how hard we try, none of us have cornered the market on parenting, the moral high ground, or any other thing we perch ourselves upon to look down on others in order to make ourselves feel better about who we are. No matter what tactics we use to deceive ourselves, whether it be inflating our egos or deflating someone else’s, at the end of the day we all fall short. This fact doesn’t point to our need to be better, or nicer or to do more for others. It simply points to our need to know Jesus (Hebrews 10:10). It is through Him, and nothing else, that we become the works of perfection we are all too often pretending to be on our own.
So the next time we feel like sticking it to someone, let's not forget that the trial for all trespasses ends in an acquittal for all who believe (1 Peter 3:18). Let's live in that freedom and allow others to do the same. It certainly feels a whole lot better than the alternative--my computer keypad would agree.
"He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."
~ Jesus (John 8:7)
(For more stories by Dana Matas, visit www.confessionsofabusymama.com.)
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