Being the mother of three teens is full of laughter, silliness, joy, expenditures, frustration, anger, and my nemesis: GUILT. There are many times when I question my decision as a parent. Did I make the right choice to homeschool my kids? Am I feeding them the right foods? Do they do too few activities—or too many? Is it okay that my daughter went lunar bowling until midnight? The list is endless.
Guilt is always hanging in the corner of my mind, waiting to hinder me. AGAIN. If this guilt feeling can disrupt my day, throw me into a tailspin of fear and anxiety, or even stop me from doing a task, this is a clue that something is out of order.
Mirriam Webster defines guilt as: “responsibility for doing a crime, or doing something wrong, or a bad feeling caused by knowing or thinking that you have done something bad or wrong.”
This definition has a legal feel doesn’t it? So if I have guilt feelings, does that mean I have really done something wrong/illegal? In Christian counseling we are taught to ask ourselves, “Am I routinely, and without repentance, breaking man’s laws or God’s laws?” If the answer is yes, (ask your friends and family if you’re not sure), it’s time to repent and get some help from your pastor, mentor, or Christian counselor. If the answer is no, then what? That is where I am.
Romans 8:1-2 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”
In my head I understand this. I get it. Then why do I very frequently have guilty feelings that I can find no basis for? Is this really guilt, or is it something else? If it is something else, what is it? I don’t have a satisfactory answer right now, but I know where to go for answers. Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all of these things will be added to you.” In chapter 6 of Matthew, Jesus addresses worrying in a very big way. Could this guilt really be worry? Am I worrying that my mistakes are bigger than God’s ability to have His way with my children? That sounds kind of arrogant on my part, doesn’t it?
I love Job 38:1-4, which says: "Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: 'Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.'”
I do not want to be full of false guilt, or worry, or arrogance. I know parenting is a process. God gave me three children who are completely different. They are His sanctified sandpaper. Each child is a different grit used for a different sanding purpose. None of God’s sandpaper contains guilt—that was handled by Jesus at the cross.
Join me in praying that we will not succumb to false guilt, worry, or arrogance. Jesus said “IT IS FINISHED.” I must camp there.
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