Why judging other moms diminishes the power of the cross

Published on July 07, 2023

The minivan sliding door of shame—it’s a thing. You know, when you drop off your kids at school with all humanity 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 back 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 mama 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 have the opportunity to give grace and I don’t. Likewise, I’ve had days when junk may fall out of my car and another mom rolls her eyes in judgment. 

Is the cross enough?

Typically, 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 we are trying harder, 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 mama for packing her daughter marshmallows as a “healthy snack.” Not my finest moment. By advising 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 except simply to know  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 to encourage another mama if she’s having a trash-just-rolled-out-of-my-car kind of day. She may be hitting some speed bumps 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 to 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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Jenna Marie Masters

Jenna is a speaker and writer who lives in Southern California with her hubs, their three bio kids, and their newly adopted foster daughter! She’s the “Parenting Toddlers & Tweens” writer for The Joyful Life Magazine. She also contributes to Christian Parenting, Home Front Magazine, and Truly Co and is on the writing team for The Devoted Collective.

Jenna holds a Master’s/Seminary Degree in Christian Ministry and Pastoral Counseling but is only interested in using it to lead other mamas into intimacy with Christ.

Things that matter most: Jesus. Family. Fellowship. Words. Cappuccinos. Crockpots. Paper plates. Summer. Live music. Eating outside. “The Cookie” from Bristol Farms. Bluey.

Read more about Jenna Marie

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