By Betsy St. Amant
When you’re a Good Girl, you can really get into trouble.
Not necessarily the traditional kind of trouble, because as Good Girls, we’re taught not to abuse alcohol, experiment with drugs, hang out with the “bad crowd”, cheat on tests, or skip school. We’re often not even tempted by those opportunities, and think the people who do are a little crazy.
No, I’m talking about the more subtle version of trouble, the trouble that starts with a capital T because of its severity. This kind of trouble lurks inside us, is often invisible to others, and wraps deep-lancing tentacles around our hearts.
This Trouble is named Judgment.
When you’re a born and raised Good Girl, you often get put on a pedestal. And be honest—you like it. It’s fun being raised above the rest, being recognized and praised for your wisdom and good decisions. It helps make the persecution for not giving in to Peer Pressure a little easier to bear, right? We might not be getting invites to the cool-kids keg parties at school, but we’re getting high-fives from our pastor and rave referrals on job applications from the deacon’s wives.
But that pedestal is wobbly—especially when you start thinking of yourself as Holier than Thou, instead of just as Holy. And then it’s super easy to come crashing down, right on your Good Girl booty.
As Christians, as daughters of the King, born again Good Girls, we are redeemed. We are marked by Jesus’ blood that was shed for us. We are sealed, we are God’s. Because of Christ’s sacrifice, death and resurrection, we are labeled Holy in God’s eyes. Pure white in a world stained with black.
We are Holy. But that doesn’t give us the excuse to act Holier-Than-Thou.
You know what I’m talking about. It’s that feeling inside when you see the kids huddled behind your school, passing around a joint. It’s that feeling inside when you see that guy cheating on his test, or hear that girl talking about who she crossed a line with on her date last night. It’s that feeling inside when you hear the kids at the lunch table cursing every other adjective, or hear about who got drunk at what party last weekend.
That feeling that screams “Thank God I’m not like that.”
There’s a line between being Holy and being Holier-Than-Thou. And it’s real easy to slip over to the wrong side.
When you get that feeling, you’re essentially putting yourself above your peers. Instead of feeling compassion for that lost or wayward friend, you’re elevating your own righteousness over their sin. Instead of reaching out, you’re puffing up.
In those situations, we should be making efforts to be there for those friends, those peers, those lost souls. This doesn’t mean you sin beside them. It means you love them through it, and wait for them on the other side. You pray for them. And you keep confessing your own sin to God, because guess what? You’re not perfect either, Good Girl.
I’ve been so guilty of this in the past, and never even knew it. I would see the choices my friends made and would think “Thank God I’m not like that.”
When I should have been on my knees, crying out to God and honestly, heart-gushing, “Thank you God, for saving me from that.”
Because here’s a secret, Good Girl. Without Christ, we’re the exact same. If it hadn’t been for God reaching out to us, we’d be in that sinking sin ship right beside them, not even realizing we were going down.
It’s time to jump in the boat and start bailing water in the name of Jesus.
Trust me! Their sins might be more obvious, but our sin—unjustly judging others from our pedestal—is just as ugly. Just as dark. And just as disgusting to God.
The Bible says plenty on the subject.
Luke 6:37, ESV, says, “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
John 7:24 ESV, says, “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”
Think about it—what would be more appealing to those lost in sin? A Christian with her nose in the air who thinks of herself as better than them because she/he doesn’t deal with the same temptations? Or a Christian who is honest about her own struggles, is only a text message away help is needed, and sends invites for youth group without being pushy?
Sometimes it’s hard to determine how to “judge with right judgment”, as the Bible says. I think in that case, it’s talking about discernment—using the Holy Spirit to prompt you to make good choices and good decisions. If you feel uncomfortable in a situation or around a certain person, there’s usually good cause for it, and you should listen to that inner voice of the Spirit urging you.
Also, I think “with right judgment” means standing up for the truth of God’s Word and letting your place be known without condemning in the process. It’s one thing to say “I support God’s Word on this topic, and I don’t agree with what you’re doing, but I still care about you. I still am here for you if you need me”…and another thing entirely to say “You’re wrong, I’m right, the Bible says so, so HA!” Or even worse, saying “You’re doing This or That, so you’re going to Hell!”
Throwing your beliefs in someone’s face is never productive. Neither is being so silent that no one knows what you stand for or who you are. With all things in life, there is a balance. Holy—not Holier. Holy, by the grace of God—not by anything you earned. Holy, by Christ’s sacrifice—not by your own good deeds.
If you look down and realize that you’ve been standing on a pedestal, this is the perfect opportunity to hop down and get your hands dirty. Not dirty with sin—but dirty with the blood and love of Jesus.