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               Sonya Contreras

Do You Feel Judged?

After we had been married over a year, we lived with my husband’s parents (I do not recommend this.) We asked what they expected from us. They answered, ambiguously, “Help out.” We asked for more details to avoid misunderstanding. 

At the time, my husband was going to school full time, so the “help” would come from me, who had a baby “to help.” As time progressed, I sensed disfavor from my father-in-law. Wasn’t I cleaning the kitchen? Making dinner when there was food? Cleaning after messy kids came for the weekend? I even dusted their window blinds, one panel at a time. Who does that? 
When we asked him, he wanted me to clean the ceiling fans and dust the tv.
How was I supposed to get on a ladder with a toddler at my heels? I avoided the huge tv screen that was his pride; I was afraid I’d smear it with my cleaning attempts.
In order to avoid the disfavor, I avoided him. I stayed in my room when he was home. It became a constant stress.
Of course, all this took place while my husband was at school.

My husband made the decision to move out, even though we had no money and he still was full-time student with PA rotations that required around the clock availability. It was an act of faith for sure, but it was more a move to save my sanity.

Years afterward, I still felt I couldn’t clean good enough. When my in-laws visited (which was often), I would clean, but still feel undone. 
I felt judged.

That adjustment of being a bride is just as hard for the bride as it is for the groom’s parents. See What's a Mother-In-Law To Do

When we were expecting our first-born, we wanted a home-birth. [Hospitals are for sick. Delivering babies is not sick. Besides, I do not like doctors, (one PA excluded).] 
My father-in-law took my husband aside and said, “I know she wants this, but if anything goes wrong, you will be responsible.”
Of course, my husband defended me and it was our decision. 
They did not know me and wanted the best for their son, and wasn’t sure if I was that best yet.
That judging was based on concern for their son.
[All my daughters have become precious in their own rights.:)]

The world today uses the word judge as a negative. Shouldn’t we get along with everyone? And accept everything?

When I was a mom of young children, I did not accept everything. 
I did not allow just any book or movie to come into our home.
My husband and I screened them.
(NOTE: Many harmless Disney movies often portray a rebellious girl who proves to her father she is right and praised. We did not allow those.)
We were forming our boys’ minds to be in tune with the Bible (Philippians 4:8 gives criteria.)
If a questionable person, sometimes even a relative, was present, I did not allow my boys alone with them.
Sure, it was inconvenient for me.
Sure, it was time-consuming.
Sure, it was demanding.
But we wanted our boys to know truth. And we wanted them protected from wrong influences.
Some would say we "sheltered" our boys, especially with homeschooling.
We would say, "we prepared our boys."

When the boys “came of age,” (the age varied with the child), we didn’t cast them out into the world unprepared, but weaned them gradually by allowing them choices after careful instruction. Thus they were able to better discern good and evil. 
As young men, they must continue to sharpen their judgment by applying what they do against the Word of God. (As we all must do.)

I remember one incident. A relative had two of the boys for an afternoon. He took them to a movie (the boys had never been to a movie). In the middle of the movie, the relative couldn't find the boys. After searching, he found them in the lobby. When asked, my older son said he didn't think this movie should be watched and had taken his brother with him to wait in the lobby. My son was twelve.

Choosing what is right requires judgment.
Another word could be discernment. 

You choose one thing over another because it is a better choice.
Not always is it right against wrong; sometimes, it is better versus good.

We often hear the statement, “That’s not fair.” 
The idea of fairness comes from our inner sense requiring a certain “rightness.” 
That inner voice or conscience was instilled by God to direct us to Him.

Because we have that inner conscience telling us what we should and should not do, we are accountable for our actions, unlike a dog trained only for its master’s whims. (Some dogs have been trained to do some very bad things, and the dogs are happy to obey their master.)
We feel, even when no one is watching, that we should do right. Because Someone is watching.
We feel judged when we cannot meet a standard.
Sometimes, the standard (like the illustration with my father-in-law) is based on man’s ideas. I fell short, even after he has been gone for several years now and no longer looking at my messy house.

But there is an absolute standard for right and wrong instilled by the God of righteousness. 
That standard is the Bible.

Because we want to control, we set up our own standard.
Many ignore the standard, or proclaim there is no standard.
But they cannot silence the dissatisfied feeling in their heart.
They long to be made right and acceptable.
Because God still calls them to look to Him.
Some, by ignoring that inner voice, have hardened their hearts against God.
Pharaoh did this by denying the Israelites to leave. He suffered final judgment.

The fact that there is a right and a wrong way to do things also means there’s a judgment when someone does wrong.
For example, our U.S. court system proclaims a person “guilty” after determining our standard of conduct has been broken.

That “rightness” can become warped by our hearts’ hardness—like a criminal of heinous sins.
His hardened heart accepts his own actions as right in his own eyes.
Many today have set up their own standard of rightness. See this driving in a grocery store parking lot. They do not care whether they speed through the aisles.

What’s all this got to do with you?
The fact that we know good from evil. (Our conscience).
The fact that we are required to conform to God’s standard. (The Bible).
The fact that we can’t on our own, means that someday all will stand before God and give an account for what we have done with our lives.

But they (all men and women) will give account to Him (God) who is ready to judge the living and the dead.” I Peter 4:5.

But Peter gives hope, “For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.” I Peter 4:6.

Jesus became our substitute. 
Jesus took our judgment for our sin on the cross. 
Our sins were judged by God on the cross.
Those who accept Jesus as their substitute will stand before God justified. 

Those who do not accept what Jesus has done will be judged. 
That judgment is eternal. And it is hell.

The question should not be “Do you feel judged?”
The question should be, “When will you be judged?”

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Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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