What to Expect When You’re Expecting: No Judging the Dudes

Posted: May 18, 2012 by John C. Kwasny, Ph.D. in Comedy, Drama, Rom-com [romantic comedy]
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What do I expect from What to Expect When You’re Expecting? Well, I certainly don’t expect to see conscientious husbands and fathers exercising spiritual leadership in the home. What would be the humor in that? And, how would that be reflective of our society anyway (since Hollywood always tells us that they strive to reflect culture in their movies, not promote it)? Therefore, I expect that WTEWYE will have plenty of fathers-to-be acting like idiots, with absolutely very little idea what fatherhood is all about.

Granted, movie trailers don’t always give you the entire story–even though many of them do clip together the extent of the good parts! But the trailer for WTEWYE tells us much about the men in the movie. Specifically, we witness a “dudes group”: a support group for fathers and fathers-to-be. Now, I’m not a big fan of support groups, but I understand why they are popular with so many. It’s comfoting to have the encouragement and counsel of those who are experiencing the same circumstances as you.

Like all most support groups, the dudes group in WTEWYE has a couple of rules. First, what is talked about in the group stays in the group (I know, sounds eerily similar to Vegas). Second, and most importantly: No judging in the dudes group! These two governing principles makes the group a safe place to share and discuss common problems. Sounds fair enough.

But what happens when the group becomes more of the “blind leading the blind” rather than a repository of wisdom and knowledge? For example, one “seasoned” dad gives this advice to a father-to-be: “Stay on the other side (meaning childlessness). This is the side where happiness goes to die.” Definitely a funny line. But is this the encouragement our new fathers need? Obviously not. It is our duty as Christian fathers to communicate that, while fatherhood is really hard work, it is a joyful calling from the LORD! This is just one example that reminds us to be careful of what sort of groups we participate in–that we aren’t really being counseled by fools.

Here are some other great lines from dads in the dudes group: “You dropped your kid off a changing table?” “My kid ate a cigarette!” “I caught him playing in the dryer yesterday.” “I picked up the wrong baby from daycare.” Again, very funny. And, you can see why the two main rules of the support group are so important! What would the wives say if they knew? Remember, no judging!

Don’t get me wrong, we fathers make LOTS of silly (and sometimes serious) mistakes with our children. We are often particularly incompetent when it comes to infants and toddlers. If I catalogued some of my own errors with my babies, this post would become way too long (and much too embarrassing). So the dudes group in WTEWYE is probably a fairly good representation of the modern father.

My problem with the dudes group (in addition to the “blind leading the blind” aspect) is the notion that there should be no judging of one another. But, wait a minute–aren’t the dudes just following Christ’s injunction in Matthew 7:1, “Judge not, that you be not judged”? Even non-Christians throw out this verse to support a view of absolute tolerance of the behaviors of other people. We should allow all people to live their lives, make their own decisions, with no criticism or moral judgment. Besides, the dudes will only be free to share if they feel no condemnation from other dudes, right?

But there is a vast difference between harsh, thoughtless judgmentalness and Biblical judging. One just needs to read the next few verses of Matthew 7 to see this truth. In verse 2, we learn that we will be held to the same standard to which we hold others. In verses 3-4, Jesus describes the hypocrisy of judging someone else’s sin while refusing to looking at our own sins. Then finally, in verse 5 we have these words: “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” So Jesus is clearly not forbidding all sorts of judging or even the confronting of others in their sin.

Biblical judgment is essential among dudes (and dudettes) for numerous reasons (I’ll just list three). First, we have a responsibility to live according to God’s Word. We are free in Christ in order to live to please God. Second, we need other people to see our sins and failings due to our own blind spots. Because of our sin, we can’t always see our actions and decisions clearly. And finally, we should recognize that Biblical judging serves as safety and protection from the LORD. If we don’t allow others to confront us in our sins and errors, we will most likely continue in them.

So while I applaud men seeking the help and support of other men, let’s take it to the next level and openly invite one another to level some Biblical judgment!

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