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Guilt Trips
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Why is it if I do something wrong, my parents have to bring up the Bible, what God wants me to do, and how God wants me to be?

Pastor Steve Responds

It sounds as though when you do something wrong, you don't want anybody to correct you. Or perhaps you just get weary of feeling beat over the head, especially when you already feel guilty.

It's quite common for teens to feel a desire for freedom, especially freedom from those who try to impose rules on them. Sometimes you just want "to chill" instead of always getting corrected.

But I'm a parent now, and I feel a great sense of responsibility for my child. In fact, much more than she feels for herself!

I really feel responsibility when I read passages such as Deuteronomy 6:6, 7: "These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." (NIV)

This text is where many parents get the idea of family worship, plus being aware of all the teachable moments.

I've been surprised at how much I end up correcting my daughter. And as I think about it, I can imagine my daughter asking the same question you did!

How About Your Feelings?

Now that we've looked at why your parents react the way they do, let's see why you feel the way you do. It's natural that when we do something wrong, we feel guilty. And we certainly don't want people to point out our mistakes.

This is what makes sin so vicious. It makes us guilty, and then when we feel guilty, we avoid being corrected (which just keeps us feeling guilty).

When we do something wrong, we need to be corrected. Some parents might add an extra burst of authority by claiming that God feels the same way they do about your disobedience.

Actually, the purpose of God's law is to point out that we're guilty. Paul explains that the law, though good, can't save us—it can only show us that we need to be saved.

In other words, the law shows us that we need Jesus to save us. "The Scriptures have declared that we are all prisoners of sin, so the only way to receive God's promise is to believe in Jesus Christ. . . . The law was our guardian and teacher to lead us until Christ came. So now, through faith in Christ, we are made right with God" (Galatians 3:22-24, NLT).

So instead of getting defensive when you've done something wrong, go to Jesus to receive forgiveness and cleansing.

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By Steve Case. Reprinted with permission from Insight Magazine. Copyright © 2014 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the New International Version ® and the New Living Translation.

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