What To Do When People Judge YouLast week my husband and I had to make the incredibly difficult decision to reach out for high-level care for one of our children. We were at such a tender, fragile moment as parents.

While my son was receiving care, the staff met with us to go over his situation and make parenting recommendations. My husband and I were all for it and eagerly went into the meeting with a list of questions, anxious to learn all we could to help our child.

The meeting did not go as we had hoped.

We received advice such as, “Watch Super Nanny,” and “Most of the time in these situations the problem is the parenting more than the kids,” and “Have you taken any parenting classes? You need to sign up for a class.”

Cripes.

Look, I’m a good mom. I’m dedicated and experienced. I’ve parented through birth, adoption, and foster parenting. I’ve cared for kids with medical issues, attachment issues, genetic issues, trauma, drug exposure, and special needs out the wazoo.

If you walked into my house today, you would see the child-version mixture of medical unit/boot camp we have going on at any given time, all while — oh yeah, being a family.

All this to say, I have dealt with a lot of poop, both literally and figuratively.

At this meeting, I needed specific, strategic recommendations for living with the daily ins and outs of this beyond-the-beyond parenting. Tell me I’ve got the strength to do this magnificently hard task that is set before me, and then give me some tools to help me get through today and tomorrow.

A Changed Heart

As much as I would like to shake my fist at the people who judge me, I don’t. (I get it other places, too — being a pastor’s wife, our family lives in the proverbial fish bowl.)

I don’t though, because I’ve been the judgmental one.

I’ve stood in those shoes, my arms crossed, looking down my nose at someone. God in heaven forgive me, but I’ve done it. I wish I could go back in time and fix some of those situations, but it’s done.

I throw myself at the cross asking for forgiveness. How naive I was.

For those of us who stand in judgement of others, it’s fear that keeps us longing for a black and white world. The gray scares us. We lack the trust that God will handle the gray areas.

For those of us who stand in judgement of others, it’s fear that keeps us longing for a black and white world. The gray scares us. We lack the trust that God will handle the gray areas.

I reach out my hand of forgiveness to people to who judge me, because I understand.

Don’t misunderstand. I still get mad when people judge. I feel hurt, offended and sometimes downright honked off. If crossed hard enough, I let people know, and I’m not always nice. I stand up for what’s right, but I have no interest in defending myself to people who don’t need or care to know.

Defensiveness as a position against the world is pointless, and it’s a huge energy drain. 

My choices are between God and me. God knows who I am and where I’ve been. I have no need to defend myself to others.
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When people are critical of me, it’s mostly about what’s going on inside of them.

When people are critical of me, it’s mostly about what’s going on inside of them.

When People Are Critical of Me, It's Mostly About What's Going on Inside of Them.

What To Do When People Judge You

  1. Take the good. As much as I wanted to start going off at the staff where our child was receiving care, we sat and listened, and the truth is despite their bungled advice, we also learned some great new information that really helped us. There is always something to be learned in every situation. Take it and use it. God has placed us in this time and place, with these people, for a reason.
  2. Chuck the bad. We are living, working, and bumping up against each other in this sinful world. There’s a lot of mess. Some advice is just not good.
  3. Hand it over. Give it to God, the One who can actually do something about it. Last week we spent the week focused on John 15 during our RADICAL BLESSINGS: Abide in God’s Love Bible Reading Challenge, and it was one of the most well-read, meaningful series we have done on this website. (Click here if you haven’t read it yet. The whole series is available now.) It’s not about more effort on our part. God does the work. When I continually hand Him my frustrations, fears, rejections, and loneliness, God hands me back peace, patience, gentleness, and salvation.
  4. Continue to love. We must continue to love the person who is critical of us. If we do not, we are just as judgmental of them as they are of us. We pray, asking God to give us the strength to love and forgive.

When we take these steps, we are able to step forward free from the burden other people’s criticism, and free from judgement on those who have been critical of us.What To Do When People Judge You

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