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The Judgment

September 13, 2010

I was only ten when I learned to turn up my nose to people who weren’t “like me.”

Actually, I had learned it a few years before (not from my own parents so much, but from those with whom we were surrounded) and was simply starting to put my training to good use.



I was ten, and we were at a school related function. In the ’90s, there was a Southern California woman who frequently hosted classes for regional homeschoolers, covering everything from Noah’s flood and climbing Mt. Everest to space travel and chemistry.

This was the day for chemistry. I loved chemistry. I was the girl who aced her chem class in 11th grade and relished in formulas (of every variety). I loved this particular one day class and ate up everything we were taught.

But it wasn’t my affinity for chemistry that was making me proud that day. I didn’t look down my nose at the other kids because I was a ten year old who loved the periodic table.

When it came time for all of the students to separate into small groups for experiments, I stopped myself from rolling my dark hazel eyes at the group to which I was assigned.

The other kids? They weren’t real homeschoolers.

They didn’t look anything like me. They were in jeans and tank tops, t-shirts with television characters on them. The two other girls had chin-length hair and the boys said words like “dude,” and “rad,” and “aw, man!”

These people certainly weren’t like us. They weren’t “likeminded.”

They were a disgrace to us true homeschoolers, those of us who were members of the club, we who knew what was really right and wrong. We who knew how to keep “the look.”

We who truly pleased God.



I did the science experiments with these kids, but stayed a safe distance from them. After all, I didn’t want to be tainted by their ungodliness.

Because, wasn’t it true that if you hugged a pig, you would just get dirty… the pig doesn’t get clean?

I was ten years old. And to me? These people, in their stylish clothes and with their cool words, were just like those dirty pigs.



I was 24 years old.

(It was a few weeks ago.)

I’d stopped turning up my nose at the people in jeans and short hair. I’d learned the reality of grace and love and had begun to realize that true godliness is wrapped up in the love that Jesus shows and pours out, and that we are to return that love to Him and those He places around us.

I no longer thought of people as the dirty ones from whom I needed to stay far, far away.

I thought I was done with wrongful judgment.



And then, I saw them.

A family traveling with several daughters my own current age.

And this time? The roles were reversed.

I was the one in the jeans. They were the ones in the jumpers.

I rolled my mental eyes as I said hello.

Certain they were analyzing and thinking me “worldly” and “ungodly,” I smiled politely and said no more.

I interacted as much as the situation required, but stayed a safe distance away.

Mentally, they were on one side of the spiritual fence, I was on the other.

We weren’t at all “likeminded.”



My nose had been high in the air for an hour before I realized

I had

done it

again.



I hadn’t learned a thing.




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19 Comments »

  1. Shari says:

    Ashleigh: I haven’t commented in a while due to time, but wanted to let you know first that I do keep your precious family in my prayers regularly.

    I used to be like that and sometimes am still like that at 41 years old. Every time I have to hang my head and ask forgiveness.

    We were a part of some churches that were very much like you described at first. We have left that denomiation and have saught further counsel as far as which church we should attend.

    I appreciate your honesty!

    [Reply]

    September 13th, 2010 at 9:54 pm

  2. sara sophia says:

    oh my Ashleigh. You are growing so much….and defining yourself in the things that seem so undefinable.

    I love you.

    You are more than you know.

    –C.

    [Reply]

    September 13th, 2010 at 9:55 pm

  3. Jessica says:

    You know what…I’ve been there…in the past and in today. It is sooo hard to not be critical of others and draw those lines.

    Just today I was at the park & a group of women scoffed when one of their toddlers said something that sounded like Jesus. One mom’s response was “Jesus?! Where’d you get that?”

    While we were mostly likely on other sides of the fence, my heart also said, “Phew! These women are stupid.” Like because they didn’t think Jesus was important they weren’t either. So not like Jesus.

    [Reply]

    September 13th, 2010 at 10:04 pm

  4. Shiree says:

    Ugh. How I know that feeling. Been on both sides of that fence! That’s for the honesty and encouragement!

    [Reply]

    September 13th, 2010 at 10:22 pm

  5. Elaina says:

    I so appreciate your honesty. And I’m right there with you. It may be a different kind of judgment over different things but I do the same thing and then am promptly reminded of what I’ve been forgiven and from the pit He’s brought me out of.

    [Reply]

    September 13th, 2010 at 11:13 pm

  6. mishel says:

    I love you so much my baby girl. I love the little girl in the pictures (and her very cute little brother) and I love the woman you are today–with all my heart. Always.

    Love,
    Mama

    [Reply]

    September 14th, 2010 at 4:11 am

  7. Melanie says:

    But you have learned! This time it only took an hour to realize how your thoughts were going. We all do this in one way or another. Thanks for the reminder to be aware of this heart tendency.

    [Reply]

    September 14th, 2010 at 5:42 am

  8. Jenni says:

    Dear friend, this post pierced my heart. I have received and given such judgement in this very situation. (btw, I was homeschooled as well!) Thank you for the heart check. It is so wonderful to know we serve a God of GRACE who is forgiving of our shortcomings. Blessings on your day, amiga! :)

    [Reply]

    September 14th, 2010 at 6:42 am

  9. To Think Is To Create says:

    But you have learned, SO MUCH. Your journey is so exciting, and I’m honored to be on it with you. What mysteries and wonder the future holds! Beautiful. <3

    -Aril.

    [Reply]

    September 14th, 2010 at 7:04 am

  10. Gretchen says:

    Guilty as charged. So.many.times. On both sides of the fence.

    But I’m slowing learning to love and see as God sees. And I’m so thankful for you sharing your journey as an encouragement to the rest of us.

    [Reply]

    September 14th, 2010 at 8:04 am

  11. Kelly @ Love Well says:

    But the fact that you recognized the flip side of that condemning spirit shows how far you’ve come. Some people never see (or never allow the Spirit to show them) that they have just swung to the other side of the paradigm. Instead of judging others outright, now they judge those who judge.

    I like to say I grew up with a Pharisee attitude. (Like you, not because of my parents but because of the subculture in which I was raised.) Naturally, as a recovering and rescued Pharisee, I am the most frustrated with those who seem focused on the details but miss Jesus. That’s the hardest time for me to show grace. But showing it then also demonstrates God’s spirit alive and active in me.

    (Whoops! I wrote a book!)

    [Reply]

    September 14th, 2010 at 8:49 am

  12. Anna says:

    Oh, I know what you mean. Definitely.

    [Reply]

    September 14th, 2010 at 12:04 pm

  13. Caroline says:

    This post is why I love your blog. You write from the heart. I hope you realize how much I appreciate your words from your heart and how much I appreciate you.

    Sending you many hugs and love.

    [Reply]

    September 14th, 2010 at 1:55 pm

  14. Samantha R says:

    I know the feeling. The guilt afterwards when God opens my eyes to what I’ve done in my mind…
    I’ve been there and done that. =/

    I love your honesty.
    You make me want to be more honest and open about myself.
    Sending you hugs!

    [Reply]

    September 14th, 2010 at 2:00 pm

  15. Melinda says:

    OH.MY.GOODNESS. Your story is so much like mine. Thank you for you honesty. Wow. I used to be (not by my parents example, but by other friend’s example, etc. like you said) the snobby little skirt/dress/jumper wearing homeschooled girl who judged others, yet never really fit in to any group (strictly skirt group or the jean/pant wearing group). Now, I wear pants and I tend to judge those that don’t.
    Thanks so much for this reminder.

    [Reply]

    September 14th, 2010 at 5:07 pm

  16. Jenny says:

    been here…. so.many.times.

    it’s so easy to judge… it’s so hard to remember Grace. We think we do… and then in the critical moment, Grace slips through our fingers

    [Reply]

    September 14th, 2010 at 5:10 pm

  17. Katrina says:

    Well written. and beautifully sad.

    [Reply]

    September 14th, 2010 at 6:57 pm

  18. brandie says:

    i’ve never been the one in the skirt, but i came to know Jesus as a young adult and was secretly jealous of those on the “in”side of the faith. they seemed wholesome and pure compared to what my life was….

    thankfully, when we are seeking Him, He is able to transform and mature us. we come to see what really matters (grace & love) and what truly doesn’t (appearances of “godliness”). and we learn to obey Him in spirit and truth – as worship. we settle into who He called us to be and find great peace right there in that place.

    interestingly, my dearest friend attends a church where they don’t cut their hair, wear pants or make-up, etc. i have never once felt judged for my short, colored hair or my jean shorts and tanktops. nor have i judged her for her convictions. we don’t necessarily agree with one another’s choices about some of these things, but we fellowship in our Lord Jesus Christ on a deeper level than we do with some in our own church communities!

    it truly is about the heart…and a willingness to get to the heart with the other person….rather than getting stuck on the peripheral issues through judgementalism. thanks for sharing your heart and i hope this example further encourages you.

    [Reply]

    September 14th, 2010 at 10:17 pm

  19. Cecilia says:

    Oh I can relate. I’m somewhere in the middle of the community I grew up in and the other extreme I’m surrounded with now. I’ve learned from both, but it’s hard not to have a judging thought as I reconcile it all. Thank goodness for grace and the lessons we learn.

    [Reply]

    September 16th, 2010 at 7:45 am

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