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Oh, good ol’ social media. It pits us against each other so quickly, doesn’t it?

A heavy woman is eating a burger at a restaurant and people comment, “She should be eating a salad.” A thin woman is eating a salad in a restaurant and people comment, “She should be eating a burger.” A heavy person is photographed riding his bicycle and people openly comment with hatred seething about how “disgusting” they are, despite his obvious effort to improve his health. A slim and trim person posts a photo and has to endure the verbal attacks and insecurities of women posting comments about how they don’t look like that because they’re “real” and have a life. A mother posts pictures of her children and gets rebuked for what a mess her children are (despite their obvious joy), yet the same women with the messy homes ridicule the women that live in meticulously clean homes for “not being real” because “real moms” have messy homes and messy children.

See what I’m getting at?

Friends of ours own a window cleaning company. Their motto is something like “People never notice clean windows, but they always notice dirty ones.” How true that is!

I’ve been guilty. I’m one who resides on the “clean freak” side and I’m also a people watcher.

Do I think we ladies have a responsibility to provide a clean, restful place for our families to refresh and renew their spirit? Absolutely!

Do I think it should be perfect 100% of the time? No. I wish, but that’s not reality. I love driving by homes at dusk and getting quick glimpses inside people’s homes and my husband and I “ooh and ahh” about things we see that we like. I like seeing other people’s decorating styles and I mentally store ideas that I’d like to modify and incorporate into my own home when I see things that appeal to me.

I also find it atrocious when I see women who are blatantly lazy and not motivated enough to clean their home for weeks and months on end, despite the number of children they have. It’s easy for me to become hypercritical; I’m guilty as charged. I’ve actually had to apologize to a dear friend of mine that mistook a comment of mine and slaughtered herself with it. I had mentioned that I was thankful enough for the home my husband has provided, so I find and make the time to clean. She internalized it as her being a failure as a housewife. NOT AT ALL my intention, but her insecurities, struggles, and goals for herself used my comment to mock her. I think she’s a fantastic wife and mother, but even innocent comments can cut someone to the quick. Satan makes sure of that. I had to call her and apologize and then explain my intent behind my post. We’re still friends.

Perhaps the woman we’re mentally or openly critiquing isn’t lazy; maybe she’s been sick. Perhaps she’s flat-out overwhelmed. Maybe she’s got a loved one in the hospital. Maybe she’s had to postpone some housework in order to help someone else. Maybe, just maybe, she’s been in desperate need for a day off. Wives and mothers never get days off. We’re always a wife and we’re always a mother, even when our loved ones aren’t in the home for hours or days on end. Our jobs never end. Ask any of us. Maybe it’s none of our business!

Matthew 7:3-5 – “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”

Just a quick reminder for each of us to pause before we begin attacking others for doing things the way we wouldn’t.

When you see someone on a bicycle and they have more rolls than the Rainbow bakery hanging off the sides of the seat, internally applaud them for their effort. Better yet, why not roll down your window and shout an encouragement as you pass by? “You can do it! You’re doing great! Keep it up!” Wouldn’t that be refreshing?

Maybe the bigger person that’s chowing down on a burger has been living on yogurt and veggies for a month and this is his or her reward day. Or, maybe they just like burgers – you know, the kind that have an obscene amount of cheese melting down off the sides and grease oozing down their arm. (Yum!) But why would that be any of our business, anyway? Are we their cardiologist? Will we be the ones to care for them if their health fails? No. Therefore, it’s none of our business.

The world needs more encouragers!

When someone posts their picture and they have muscles in places where we only have places, congratulate them on their hard work. Bodies like that don’t just happen, ya know. It can be misconstrued as vanity, but congratulate them on their discipline that most of us are lacking. I’ve recently lost 118 pounds and now I hear warnings from “concerned” people such as “Now just don’t lose too much…” Yet I can’t remember them ever addressing my health with a sincere concern when I was in a downward spiral and about a biscuit away from a heart attack.

I’ve noticed my biggest critics are now silent. They had plenty of hateful things to discuss amongst themselves when they were “concerned,” yet no encouragement has been given since I decided something had to change so I could reclaim my health. Are we that insecure as a society that we must shame those who differ from us? I’m not suggesting we applaud or adopt philosophies that go against our convictions or values; I’m talking about just supporting people where they are in life – health, weight, homemaking, cooking… just LIFE.

We never know how a sincerely kind word of encouragement could help them try again tomorrow, especially if they failed (again) today. If we’re going to seek after shame, we should search our own hearts and be ashamed of our own sins. That’ll keep each of us busy cleaning!

Psalm 51:10 – “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”

by Trish Rife

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