When we extend grace to others, we meet them where they are at and give them–and ourselves–a tiny glimpse of what God is like. Judging them, however, has the opposite effect. It conceals God from both of us. In this post, Jenna Marie Masters encourages us to give grace freely to other moms, so the power of the cross can be on full display.
The minivan sliding door of shame—it’s a thing. You know, when you drop off your kids at school, all humanity is watching, the door slides open, and two McDonald’s cups, a gazillion goldfish crackers, and one muddy soccer cleat avalanche before an audience of teachers and students. Yeah.
When this happened a few years ago, Eli’s precious teacher made a valiant effort to catch the miscellaneous items rolling between her legs. I was mortified. Quickly, I had to shift my car into park, resulting in a drop-off line clog-up. I shooed off the teacher’s help, insisting. “It’s okay; you really don’t need to help me find a trash can!”
“My car’s been way worse!” she giggled.
What a gift to be met with grace and not disdain. My ears were scorching with embarrassment. However, I was able to laugh and dance the humiliation-hustle back into the driver’s seat.
Judgment or Grace?
Had her car really been worse? Probably not, but I chose to believe her.
I imagined some minivan, somewhere in the world, where maybe three McDonald’s cups slipped out. Thinking of that mamma made me smile. I wish I could meet her and whisper, “I’ve seen way worse…in my own backseat!”
But let’s be honest, most days I do have the opportunity to give grace, and I don’t. Likewise, I’ve had days when junk may roll out of my car and another mom rolls her eyes in judgment.
Opportunities for Grace
Typically, us moms are hard on each other. Why? What is wrong with us? We’re all trying our best; and we all love our kiddos. Yet there’s something in us that begs to prove that we are trying harder; that we love our kids more than that other mom; or that we have everything together. But to whom are we trying to prove this? It’s not God.
Once I shamed a mamma for packing her daughter marshmallows as a “healthy snack.” Not my finest moment. By advising her on how not to feed her children, I validated the way I chose to feed mine. It was vain. God’s Word makes it clear, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).
When we seek validation outside of God’s love, we will continue to struggle with insecurity, because nothing has the power to speak the truth of who we are like our loving Creator. And when we place ourselves above others, we’re really saying, “The cross isn’t enough to declare me worthy…I need more.”
Is the Cross Enough?
Through our judgment of others, we also are declaring, “The cross isn’t enough for them to receive grace from me…I need more from them.”
What a tragedy, the way we belittle the power of the cross.
It’s the cross that has given us the freedom to refrain from judgment!
And it’s the cross that sets us free to give grace to ourselves and those around us. “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1). What a shame to miss the joy of loving others like Jesus.
I fully admit I’m clean-car challenged. Eli’s teacher didn’t know what I was straining to juggle that day. She didn’t need any other reason to love me like Jesus did except simply to know that she was first loved by Him. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). She acted as a window into God’s unconditional love for me when she could have shamed me.
Freely Give Grace
Lord, let me be that window for someone else.
The beauty of freely-given grace is that it doesn’t put the recipient on trial before deciding if she is worthy. The cross already has determined that. Jesus gave His life to prove she is worthy. Who are we to question our heavenly Father?
As we enter into a new school season, be the first one to encourage another mamma if she’s having a “trash-just-rolled-out-of-my-car” kind of day. She may be hitting some speed bumps that you are unaware of. Christ died to set you free to love her, regardless if she smiles at you or snubs you. Treat her in a way that is honoring of the work of the cross. Sit with her in the space where she may feel “less than.” Refrain from judgment.
Give grace freely. It costs you nothing. It cost Jesus everything.
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So good. Our words either offer judgment or grace. Motherhood is hard enough without more judgment. So often it seems I judge to bolster my internal slipping image of what I want to be. Knowing we are accepted by God, loved by God, faults, messy car and all helps. When I accept God’s grace for myself it is easier to pass it on to others.
So true and as much as I think I don’t judge, God continually shows me to keep digging the sludge from my heart and mind. Lord, have mercy, and of course, He does. Will share on our MOPS fb page. “I need more from them. What a tragedy, the way we belittle the power of the cross.” Great job.