There I was, perusing the diaper aisle at Target and completely consumed by my thoughts on cloth diapering (pathetic, yes). I was wearing yoga pants (as always) and a tank top that greatly accentuated my baby bump. My hair was in complete disarray, thrown haphazardly in a bun. My thick, brown glasses were a poor attempt at hiding the complete lack of makeup on my pale, childlike face. (The husband's away, the mascara does not come out to play.) And I was carrying a couple of long-sleeved shirts that I was going to purchase for myself.
I caught this woman staring at me from the end of the aisle, and I knew she was about to approach me. A weird thing about being pregnant is that people love to talk to you. Random people. They love to ask you about your pregnancy, the gender, when you're due, etc. It's a strange sense of community that I've felt with several people who've I never met and probably will never see again, and I'd be lying to you if I told you I didn't love every second of it.
When the woman opened her mouth to converse with me, I assumed she would be asking me the same sorts of questions. After all, I was in the baby aisle and I was very obviously pregnant. Questions, however, were the last thing on this lady's obvious agenda.
"Hi there. I see you're looking at the diapers."
Thank you, Captain Obvious. "That's right. Just trying to figure out the best ones that aren't going to cost me a fortune, if you know what I mean." (Fake laugh.) Please don't give me your two cents on Pampers vs. Luvs.
She grimaced and shook her head as though I had just told her a puppy died. "Well dear, that's what we get when we make poor life choices. We have to deal with the consequences of our actions, and unfortunately, it looks like paying for diapers isn't going to be something you can avoid."
"Um, right." I awkwardly shuffle backward. "I didn't mean that I won't love to pay for them. But they are diapers, after all. No one actually wants to pay for those things." (Fake laugh, fake laugh. More awkward shuffles.)
"I understand. I just thought you should know that this isn't the bottom for you. Just because you made one mistake doesn't mean that Jesus won't..."
I stopped listening at that point. I could feel my face grow warm with embarrassment. My grip around the cotton shirts in my hand significantly tightened, as I realized what she was implying.
She thinks I'm a knocked-up teenager too poor to pay for diapers.
I'm not against confrontation (Grahm will laugh when he reads that). Usually, I can handle my own. People assuming I'm 14 or 15 is nothing new to me, as you may recall from this post. But this completely floored me. I was flabbergasted at her brash comments, her hasty assumptions, and her completely misguided "Jesus talk." This frizzy lady knew me about as well as she knew how to use a comb, and yet ... she was judging me, lecturing me in the middle of Target, and preaching to me that Jesus can get me through this "trying time." I was frozen and furious and completely mortified.
When she finally finished her speech, most of which I completely tuned out, I mumbled something about being "24 and married and uh, thanks for your concern." I waddled away as quickly as my pregnant legs would carry me and made a mental note to try not to look homeless next time I'm in public.
On my way home, I was confused. Should I laugh or cry? This woman might have had good intentions, I don't know. I don't know her heart. But her approach was wrong, so so wrong. She made me feel cornered and judged, not loved and cared about. I mean, how could she? She didn't even know my name, let alone my life story.
I got to stewing on this interaction for the rest of the evening, and one question kept coming to my mind: Why do people hate Christians? Some people may say, "We are hated because others are ignorant to the truth" or "God told us we would suffer." All of those may be true, but did you every consider people hate Christians because of us, the Christians?
It's because of people just like this misguided woman at Target, people just like ME, that we are so loathed by our culture. We love to waggle our self-righteous fingers at someone else, whether we know them or not. We don't care about their lives or their hurting hearts; we care about the "rules." We care about our opinions; we don't care about Christ's. We care about our own grace; we don't care about anyone else's. We care about justice; we don't care about truly sharing the gospel.
Oftentimes, I think the best way we can love people--the most effective way of displaying Christ to our friends, our families, and the random people we meet in Target--is exactly what I wanted to yell at this unkind, old lady... just shut up.