Andria Flores

Be Tender—We Are All Icebergs

We’ve all felt judged and misunderstood. Certainly, we have all passed judgment and failed to understand. Judgment can become such an instinctive voice of reasoning in our heads that we become desensitized to the fact we are even doing it. Type As can be especially critical—either of themselves or of others.

I felt like an iceberg.

When I was going through the splintering exposure of divorce, I felt like an iceberg. I was often misunderstood, or sometimes judged, for the tip of my life seen jutting out of the water. I was judged for the single choice I made to leave my husband, not for the myriad choices I made to stay during the years leading up to that moment. Even back then, I understood that, so although it hurt, it didn’t make me angry at those who judged me. Rather it opened my eyes, particularly as a Christian, how I too had made assumptions, thought I understood, or outright passed judgment on others for the tips of their icebergs. Isn’t that something? We never really know what is going on in someone else’s heart or life, yet without thought we sum them up by what we see.

We don’t see each other’s massive block of ice under the surface.

Even if it’s just a passing thought we never give voice to, we form opinions in fleeting moments that can make a lasting impact on how we treat a person or speak about them. Though I’ve always been much more critical of myself than I have of others, once on the receiving end of such hurtful words in an already devastating time of my life, I made a personal decision for myself. I didn’t want to be that kind of Christian anymore—always measuring, subtly criticizing, overtly limiting.

My ice is not better than your ice.

We are all flawed. Underneath the surface we all have jagged edges and deep crevices that aren’t for everyone to see, but they still exist. We all have tips exposed to the wind and the waves that course across our lives, sometimes bitterly pounding on all sides. Our icebergs will vary in size, shaped by different forces and pressures, but we all have stress fractures above and below the water line. My ice is not better than your ice, and I won’t pretend it so anymore. Nor will I judge myself, by the portion I see on the surface or the layers hidden beneath. God sees and judges our hearts, which are unseen by man. God is my Judge. I choose to give that power to Him now, not to others, not even to myself.

Let’s be gentle with ourselves and with others. Let’s choose to accept one another without judgment.

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