Mary Alice and her husband dedicated themselves to raising their three daughters by Christian principles. Two turned out wonderfully; the third caused continual grief before running off at the age of eighteen with a thrice-married ex-convict. As a result, Mary Alice came face-to-face with one of the most painful emotions in human experience: guilt. In her words, “I thought I would go around forever with FAILURE branded on my forehead. My husband and I had long discussions about whether we should drop out of the church and not attempt to minister to others because of our failure.”
These are the words of parents who believed the great lie. In their minds, they had destroyed their precious daughter. They were convinced that even God could not forgive so great a sin. Guilt sometimes is valid and represents the displeasure of God Himself. When that is the case, we must seek the Lord’s forgiveness, and then rest in the knowledge that our parental transgressions and failures are removed from us “as far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12).
At other times, however, our guilt is entirely of our own creation. If this is your situation, you might follow the example of the apostle Paul. Despite his devoted efforts to preach the gospel to the Jews in Macedonia, they became abusive and forced him to leave. His response? “I am clear of my responsibility” (Acts 18:6). Likewise, you are clear of your responsibility when you have given your very best to your children.
Before you say good night…
Do you feel guilt over your parenting efforts? Is it valid?
What does God want you to do about your guilt?
Father, even as You build our faith in You, we ask You to build up our confidence in the rightness of our own actions as parents. Please take away our doubts and our guilt, and let us focus on Your infinite sufficiency. Amen.