Saturday, May 23, 2015

Slow Down

With a title like that, you probably think this post is going to be about the lazy days of summer, or how we need to relax, or maybe even how we shouldn't drive so fast. No. It's not any of those things. First of all, the lazy days of summer are anything but lazy, and while we need to take time for ourselves, these last days are anything but a time to relax--we actually need to be stepping up our game. And lastly, if you are driving in front of me, SPEED UP. Okay, just a little whining... my route to work takes me down a road that is one of the few roads to get out of where I live, to any road that crosses the river going east.  The speed limit is 40, but the road is frequented by a couple of particular demographics who can't make it past 35. THEN the limit changes to 50. STILL 35. SO, SPEED UP. Okay. rant over.

What I would like to blather on about at this moment is judging, and how we need to SLOW DOWN.

Multiple things going on today are on my mind, but I'll just talk about one:

Oh yes, "ModestyGate".  The first nano-second that I saw this picture, I thought, "What the hell, Lindsey." I had been bombarded with "news" discussing the almost-nothing dresses other celebrities  had worn to this function, and my brain just assumed this was another. Then I slowed it down for a second. This is Lindsey freaking Stirling--hang out with apostles to have firesides for youth Lindsey Stirling.  So I look some more. The dress is lined. Of course it is. Now I have to turn around and try to jump back across the chasm from the conclusion I'd just arrived at. Thankfully, I didn't drag anyone along with me in my judginess.

So, lots of judging on this dress from folks. Is it "immodest"...nope. Would I wear it? No, but certainly not for modesty reasons. I like stuff that covers my arms to the elbows (again, not for modesty but for pride).

More importantly, when we judge, and put it out there publicly, we commit sins worse than the perceived immodesty, or "leading our girls astray" or whatever you want to label it (and people have... and much worse).  First, a very sweet and talented young lady, who is genuinely doing her best to be a good example of Christ's church for the world, has been bombarded with a mountain of judgy-judginess. She expressed a little of her sadness in an Instagram post. As I read it, I feel sad that she was attacked by people who rabidly adored her until one nanosecond after they saw that picture:
She says:
I've received a lot of hate over the last 2 days and I'm sorry for anyone that I've disappointed. The dress I wore to the awards was fully lined with tan fabric. But after looking at the pictures, I see that you actually can't tell that it's lined. In hind sight it wasn't the best choice because modesty is important to me.

However, more importantly it makes me so sad that people are so quick to judge. Especially all the "Christians". I make mistakes, and I am definitely not perfect, but I really am trying my best. I tried on racks of dresses before I found one that actually covered me and I want to thank the designer and my stylist for making a dress that could make me feel beautiful and still keep me completely covered from head to toe.

For those who say I've changed, I still believe in Christ and although I'm not perfect, I strive to share his love and positivity with those I meet.
I worry that having so much vitriol thrown at her may harm young Lindsey's testimony--or at least her desire to want to be around Mormons.  Judging each other is something we are REALLY, REALLY good at in the Church. SO, I say, SLOW DOWN.

What do we do when we come across:
  • That sister that smells like cigarette smoke
  • The woman who comes to church in pants
  • The man (or woman) covered in tattoos
  • The couple getting a divorce
  • The man with the ankle electronic monitoring device
  • The teen girl who wears shorter skirts
  • The teen boy with hair pulled in a ponytail
  • Or wearing a t-shirt and jeans to church
  • Insert your own here....
(All of the above are people I've come across in my own church experiences. Some have been chased away by judging/gossiping/etc., and some have been embraced and loved and brought closer to our Savior.)

Are any of these people less deserving of our love and support? Do we think that a single one of them is not painfully aware of their "flaws," or that we are doing anything but hurting them if we point them out, discuss them, and try to "help" them overcome them?

SLOW DOWN. We really need to look past the "thing" and to the person underneath. There's not a single thing we need to be concerned about, according to our Savior, then loving them. If "Love your neighbor as yourself" is second on the list of commandments, then "Make others conform to your idea of what a good Mormon should look, sound, smell, and act like" is not third, or fifth, or 690 hundred millionth (that number is courtesy of my son Simon. It's his favorite number). It's actually sort of on the list of "thou shalt nots." On my mission people would say, "No seas Fariseo" --don't be a Pharisee. There's an article in LDS Living that addresses this:

It says it better than I can.

Secondly, do we realize how we might be harming the missionary effort by being so openly, publicly judgemental? Aside from people who might assume (sometimes rightly so) that they would not be welcome in our congregations because they don't fit the Mormon Mold, we also are being decidedly, blatantly, UN-Christian when we sit and point fingers and discuss the faults and mistakes of others. We can't profess to follow Christ and model the behavior of his enemies.

If we SLOW DOWN, we can look past the outward and into the soul and heart, the inward vessel, of the people we may be prone to judge. We can listen to them, understand their intentions, their thoughts, their trials, and THEN we can get a glimpse of them as the Savior would see them. That is what we are charged to do.  

If we love them as the Savior would, lift them, strengthen them, then THEY will change what needs changing. That part is not our job.

Our job, our ONLY job, is to LOVE THEM ALL.


  1. *slow clap*

    Well, well, WELL said, Leann! I was thinking of posting something similar this week. Man, the second we start to judge someone else- for any reason- is the moment we drop ourselves down a notch (or 690 hundred million).

    Honestly, when I see someone come to church dressed differently, or with tattoos, or whatever the case might be, I immediately think, "Oh, man- I hope they don't feel out of place. I hope we don't scare them away!" I immediately want to protect them from the people that might judge them. I want to pull them aside and say, "Just because we look like this and you look different does not make us better than you or vice versa. We're all in this together, whether we're tattooed or pierced or long-skirted or short-skirted or sleeved or sleeveless! I'm so glad you're here!"

    Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.

  2. I cannot stand people who can not drive at the speed limit yes I know the limit may be 50kph but it really pisses me off if you are doing only 40kph the peddle on the right is accelerator use it, it makes you go faster.

    Now I wouldn't wear that dress but only because I am short and fat and would look like a cow in a dress and that is not a good look, just saying.

  3. Thanks. A good reminder. I get so frustrated when things like this come up because I feel like we're just showing our worst side when we rant about other people's dresses, etc. I try to keep my rants to a minimum these days (at least online; my poor hubby still gets some of my ranting). (Oh, and I confess that I sometimes drive too slowly. :) )



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