Focus Scriptures: Proverbs 11:2 and Ephesians 4:29
Mom-Shaming. New words in our vocabulary, but essentially defined as using verbal and non-verbal cues to bring light to another’s alleged guilt, both on-line and in-person social groups.
Sometimes mom shaming shows up as passive-aggressive social media posts written so that it is directed at everyone but is really targeted at someone specific.
Strongly-worded, direct, “I tell it like it is” attacks that leave no one guessing how one really feels, but still written for everyone’s benefit, rather than as a personal note or private conversation.
Snappy judgements hidden behind a bible verse, Maya Angelou poem, Mother Theresa quote or clever meme….
Blogs? Am I Mommy Shaming the Mommy Shamers?
What I hope to do is not shame but make a plea to sisters in Christ to not let the real enemy whisper lies to us about making each other enemies. When Sisters in Christ can turn posts, pictures, opinions, shared moments, activities, plans, etc. into a canvas for their toxic speech against each other, the enemy is definitely at work.
I’ve seen it happen in posts regarding:
Public breast feeding
Working vs. staying-at-home moms
Discussions on car seat-booster, age-weight-height
Home school/private school/public school debates
Traditional hymns vs. contemporary worship music in church
Participation medals vs. competitive try-outs
Posts about moms protecting their kids against everything
Posts about moms who don’t protect their kids from enough things
Do we need to even mention any hot-blooded political topics?
And I’m sure we could name a hundred more.
I actually saw an example of this the other day with a recipe. A recipe! One person commented about how they did not like the way the texture of a cookie looked in a recipe video shared on social media. What followed was not a civil list of suggestions to alter the ratio of sugars and flour or to chill the dough, but instead an all-out brawl ensued, with name calling and insult slinging.
Over a recipe video.
Women are such passionate creatures – our capacity to feel is off the charts and the enemy knows it. He knows exactly how to use that to turn us against each other. And sometimes, we let him.
Satan teaches us to assume the worst out of each other and when we choose to listen, we readily take up our pitch forks on issues that could easily be resolved in person or probably best left alone.
And sometimes we only think of snarky things to say. But Satan can get LOUD. And he is the master tempter.
He tells us that someone else’s shameful post was about us so we have to come up with an equally sassy post in retaliation so as not to lose social face. But God tells us, “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath” (Romans 12:19)
And Satan tells us it is our duty to point out to let someone know just how shamefully someone else is living, but God tells us, “When pride comes, then come shames” (Proverbs 11:2)
Satan’s lies convince us that because someone vastly differs from our values and believes, or child rearing ideologies, or driving skills, or political views or anything else remotely different than how we would do it, then we have to despise them, call them ignorant or even stupid, and treat their views as ridiculous. But God tells us not to seek the approval of man. “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10.)
Good grief, in the last 9 months I’ve been called out on all sorts of things for actions which I genuinely intended for good and for God’s glory. And while the comments hurt, I sought the direction of Jesus and went back to what he called me to do. I can tell you, Satan worked hard to get me to believe some of the comments that were made, but I turned to his word: Proverbs 12:15 says, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice”.
So I sought the counsel of sisters in Christ to make sure I was going in the right path and asked them to hold me accountable for doing it for the right reasons.
Seek trusted and wise advisors who will tell you the truth in Christ and redirect your path towards seeking God’s glory. A snarky post cannot do that, even if they’re justified. See wise counsel.
What would it look like if we expected the best out of each other and crafted our conversations around ensuring the other person was lifted up instead of shamed? What if we picked up the phone or talked to someone in person about what was bothering us? Or what would it look like to just keep scrolling?
Have we forgotten our command to love and what that looks like for us today? Have we forgotten how to love our neighbor, the enemy too?
Whether you have shamed or been shamed, we are commanded to support one another:
Proverbs 27:17: “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”
James 5: 19-17: “My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins”
And more pointedly, because of what He’s done for us, we want to support one another:
Genesis 12:2: “I will bless you, and make your name great; And you shall be a blessing.”
But, if we find ourselves in such a state of madness because we listen to the lies Satan has created for us, quickly go back to the word and remember the original, “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it at all”:
Ephesians 4:29: "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."
Remember, we don’t take our “feelings” cue from people who pretend to know us or our situation, but from the God of all, who knew us before he formed us in the womb.
We take our cue from his word:
“Lord, even when I have trouble all around me,
you will keep me alive.
When my enemies are angry,
you will reach down and save me by your power.”
You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.