Walking through the mall, I saw a woman in the juniors’ department dressed to be noticed – stylish belt slung low on the hip.  Cleavage busting out all over.  Hair teased beyond the point of no return.  Bright blue eye shadow.  Spidery black eyelashes.  Stiletto boots with pointy toes.

Normally I wouldn’t even notice this type of thing, but in this case, I did a double take.  You see, the woman was probably about 70 years old.

At first I thought I was exempted from “judgeyness” because I was just worried that some gaggle of teenagers might make fun of her.

But what if they did?  First off, I judged the teenagers.  As if judgment was only the domain of teenagers.  But I just judged them.

”Help her be true to herself,” I prayed, thinking I was expressing some kind of Christian concern.

But what if she was being true to herself?

Here I was worried that she’d be mocked and it would hurt her, yet my pity was more corrosive.  At least if someone has an opinion of her, she’s not invisible, as I expected her to be at 70.  I passed by dozens of other older people in the mall.  And I do not remember a one of them.  But I remember her.

What did I expect of her at 70?  That she dress “age-appropriately?”

Orthopedic  shoes, support hose and a shawl?  How about a walker too for full effect?

All that said, I went to the mall in sweats and sneakers, my hair stuffed hastily into a pony tail:  in a word, grungy.  Only God knows how many people passed me in the mall and prayed the same prayer for me!

At the end of the day, there’s no dress code for kindness.  Everybody’s doing what they think is best, so live and let live.  Lori’s beautiful post this week is about holiness, and it made me realize how easy it is to lapse into “holier-than-thou-ness.”  God doesn’t give you the up-down before He blesses your life.  He looks at the heart and character.  Not the haute couture.