Monday, July 29, 2013

Guilt--True or False?

My mom, as she got older, would often remark that she felt guilty for taking my older brother, Jay, out of preschool when he was 4.  My dad was in the military, and even though my dad was a Captain, he could not take us with him when he was stationed in Alaska.  So she decided to go home to her parents, and thus had to take my brother out of preschool.  I, on the other hand, had been attacked by the neighbor dog, and bitten on both legs, and one arm, when I was 5.  I still have the scars.  She never mentioned that she felt guilty about that.  (My oldest granddaughter is somewhat afraid of dogs.  Could this have been passed down genetically because of my experience?) Maybe my mom felt guilty because, as my brother got older, he had difficulties getting along socially, while I didn’t have as much trouble.  But what she did was not a sin. 

Recently another blogger, Megan Hill, pointed out that many Christian moms were writing about what messy jobs they were doing as moms.  She thought their confessions of failures, which were very humorous, (it’s better to laugh than cry), were not what we should be doing as moms.  There is a difference between “Keeping it real” and being honest.  If we were negligent in teaching our children, that would be wrong.   The link is here:

         One humorous piece that had an unbelievable number of readers was by Jen Hatmaker.  I enjoyed her take on the worst end of the school year mom ever.  It's here:  I thought the costume she made was awesome.    Apparently she felt guilty.  But I didn’t see any sin in what she did.

Some people have another view.  I read a blog written by a mom who felt guilty for the way she was parenting.  She felt lower than a cockroach.  Maybe she has made some mistakes as a mom, but I encouraged her to ask God to help her.  He will send help if we ask.  It doesn’t do any good to dwell on all the missteps in the past.  If we ask God for wisdom we must trust that He gives us wisdom.  Why not trust? 

I have heard of Catholic guilt.  I don’t know what causes this except maybe the Catholics think they have to work their way to heaven.  Protestants believe that Jesus did all the work necessary on the cross.  We are to love Jesus so much for His work, that we want to work to build His kingdom. 

  Maybe some people are harder on themselves and others than God is, because of their perfectionism.  If we are a child of God and striving to please Him, He will forgive our missteps and foibles like we do our own children, if we confess, and ask for forgiveness.  

Sometimes I feel guilty for NOT feeling guilty.  But I admit that when I read an article like the one by Jen Hatmaker or watch a silly TV show like “My Name is Earl,” I’m tempted to become sillier than I already am.  (Just ask my husband about the radio interview I blew. I do feel guilty about that, and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. I think my attitude was sinful.)

But I believe that---  “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

So I don’t look back, (Philippians 3:14), and I don’t feel guilty.

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