I was browsing around on a homeschooling moms' chat board recently, and the subject of kids having candy in church came up. Normally I would ignore this type of post entirely - who could make a big deal out of this? Out of curiosity, I opened the post and read all the replies. By the time I finished reading it, I was so saddened by what I see as a HUGE foothold in the hearts and minds of Christian moms. What is that foothold? Contempt!
What? Certainly those of us who walk around claiming to be in Christ couldn't possibly be accused of being critical of other Christian moms, could we? Oh YEAH we could... it happens ALL the time, and it's wrong.
I found out that I was probably looked down upon for all those years when I was toting babies to church, along with their toys, books, crayons and (gasp!) Cheerios. God forbid that I hand my child a sucker, because apparently by doing so I am setting my child up for obesity, diabetes, cavities and more. It seems that sugar has replaced nicotine and alcohol in our evaluation of other mothers, and even of each other.
One woman commented that out of the 330 people at her church, most of the adults were overweight. Then she was quite angry that because of these people's health trouble, they asked for prayer. How could they??? She assumed many things - and among those were the assumption that prayer was needed due to weight issues. She viewed those who brought anything other than God-related board books to church for their children were fostering all kinds of behavioral problems. She then revealed that the oldest of her well behaved children was the ripe old age of 8.
Many more Christian moms jumped on the band wagon, commenting on how disgusted they were that any Sunday School Teachers or VBS helpers would ever dare to give candy prizes. How bad to have the kids working for a reward! But somehow those little Awana ribbons for which their kids worked were inherently good, even though the motivation of the kids was the same for both prizes... to win the prize.
It saddens me greatly to think of how we, as Christian women, harshly judge our sisters in Christ by what they might feed their kids, or bring to church. As a pastor's wife I can tell you that I'd much rather see Cheerios on the carpet, with a happy toddler, than have a screaming toddler stuck with strangers in the nursery.
I remember a few years back with the whole Growing Kids God's Way was the latest parenting trend. I watched young first-time moms being told not to rock their babies to sleep ("The baby will be manipulating you!), wear baby slings ("Their spines will be injured!) or nurse them on cue ("If you feed them more than every 3.5 hours they are manipulating you!"). On the other side of the mommy wars were the attachment parenting folks who advocated co-sleeping with your baby ("Baby will be more secure with mom!"), nursing on cue for years ("Don't think of nursing in terms of months, but years."), "wearing" the baby in a baby sling ("Your baby will attach to you more easily.")
It was sad to see how the young moms critically judged the older, more experienced moms, thereby effectively neutralizing any hope of a Titus 2 type relationship. I see that very same thing happening now, except that the standard isn't parenting style, but diet.
I seem to recall a similar situation of judging others based on their diet in the book of Romans, chapter 12.
Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him.
Who are you to judge another's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.
One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it.
He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks.
For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: "As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God."
So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother's way.
I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died.
The key verse is found in Romans 12:19
Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.
Edify - to help build up another's faith. It seems to me that this can't be done if we're looking with contempt upon our sisters and brothers in Christ for what they allow... sugar, or anything else for that matter. The base issue is pride. What does pride do? My study bible indicated:
*Pride hardens the spirit. (Daniel 5:20)
*Pride produces spiritual decay. (Hos. 7:9,10)
*Pride causes you to deceive yourself. (Jer. 49:16)
"Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him." Proverbs 26:12
"Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." Proverbs 16:18
May God help us to look at each other in ways that honor him, and that show love for others, even in our thought lives!