I lead a bible-study with some amazing young twenty-somethings. They confessed that they feel judged all the time—judged for being unmarried young moms, judged for not graduating college yet, judged for their choices of college and career, judged if they choose not to party and drink like they did years ago, judged as if they were still the same person they were in high school, judged for going with their eleven-year-old goddaughter to the Justin Bieber concert tomorrow night. (Oh wait. That’s me. No judging. Swag.) 

Here is part two of a recent talk I gave at MOPS on judgment between women. Last time we looked at how God gave Mary and Elizabeth each other to help them through this extraordinary season of life…You can read the post here.   

Luke 1:39-49

At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zecheriah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.” And Mary sang: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. 
From now on all generations will call me blessed. 
For the mighty one has done great things for me—holy is his name.

I wanna look at the middle section of these verses today….

Mary greets Elizabeth first, which was proper, culturally. Elizabeth is the superior one—she’s the elder, the daughter of Aaron (a generational line of priests), and the wife of a priest. 

The little twist is that Elizabeth immediately puts herself in the servant’s role. She bestows honor on Mary. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the child you will bear. Why am I so favored that you’re coming to my house?

If this was the Real Housewives or something (we’ll just pretend like I’ve never watched that show), this would’ve been a moment of tension. Elizabeth would be resentful. Mary would be proud. There would’ve been these little condescending remarks about Elizabeth’s age and about Mary being a “virgin.” They could have competed about their children: Well, my son is a modern-day prophet. Well, my son is the son of God. (Btw, Mary will always win that contest.) 

Both women are aware that they have a significant role God’s plan, but they aren’t competing with each other. 

Elizabeth is humbled and honored just to be in the presence of her friend, and (especially) the baby in her friends womb. And Mary doesn’t flaunt her good favor or demand any type of worship.

In my ugliest of moments (usually when I’ve been on Facebook for too long) I start to get jealous of what God is doing in other women’s lives—what they are able to accomplish while being stay-at home-moms, what they look like post-baby, what they have. That’s when I get judgy—in order to make myself feel better. 

The moment I do that, I am no longer grateful for the good gifts that God has given me and the work he is doing in my life.

Mary and Elizabeth know that God doesn’t owe them anything, and they see each other as blessings, not competition. 

What’s so cool is that John (inside of Elizabeth’s tummy) follows suit.

In Genesis, there’s another story of babies doing remarkable things in the womb: Jacob and Esau were the twin sons of Issac and Rebekah (another couple, like Elizabeth and Zecheriah, who struggled with infertility until their sixties.) The bible tells us that these twins fought in their mother’s womb, and even when they came out, Jacob grabbed Esau by the heel, to try to come out first (that’s why Jacob means heel-grabber).

Luke writes that the exact opposite happens here: Elizabeth’s son, John delights in acknowledging Jesus as Lord. He leaps in his mom’s womb—He dances! He celebrates! He worships!

Obviously this was a rare and supernatural moment designed by the Holy Spirit to acknowledge the special nature of the baby Jesus…but I still think it’s applicable to us. 

When we stop competing and practice gratefulness, and when we worship God for what He is doing in other people’s lives, we set that example for our children. 

Okay, I know this is getting long…one last point:

The next moment noteworthy moment is when Elizabeth actually speaks to Mary.

Filled with the Holy Spirit, in a loud voice she exclaimed, “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the child you bear”. Then in verse 45 (known as the first beatitude in the New Testament) she says, “Blessed is she who has believed what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.” 

When the angel first appeared to Mary, she responded obediently. (In fact it’s in stark contrast to Elizabeth’s husband—when he heard the news that God was going to give them a baby, he didn’t believe the angel and was dumbstruck; literally, he couldn’t speak until the baby was born.)  

Mary’s response is obviously more obedient than Zecheriah’s, but it is still reserved and stoic.

However, when Elizabeth affirms what God is doing in her life. When she says, Blessed are you Mary. Look what God is doing! It’s then and only then that Mary bursts into this beautiful song of praise—The Magnificat. (Which we’ll talk about in Part 3, after I attend the JB concert and compare her song to his style of music. Just kidding. Sorry, that was a terrible joke. Back to the point…)

Elizabeth made Mary giddy at the triumphant work of God in her life.

In the book, The Power of a Woman’s Words, Sharon Jayne writes

“Our words can spark a child to accomplish great feats, encourage a husband to conquer the world, fan the dying embers of a friend’s broken dreams into flames, 
encourage a fellow believer to run the race set before her, and draw a lost soul to Christ.”

We have the power to do that for each other.

The job of woman/wife/mother is difficult enough without the judgment between women. 

Every time we start to judge, let’s begin to ask God for help“God, I am judging this lady. Please forgive me and help me to see what you are doing in her life. Help me to encourage her through it and praise you for it.” 

We’ll change each other’s lives. 

Now, off to plan tomorrow night’s wardrobe. What does a 30-something wear to a tween pop sensation’s concert? 

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