Guilt is a poor manager…

It often makes me laugh when I see parents play the adult card “because i said so that’s why!”.  But I think the church has often played an equally inadequate card.  Guilt is too often used to motivate and manage our behaviour.  We are told what we can or cant do, but sometimes we have no idea why (other than ‘because the bible says so that’s why!’).  We have a vague sense of things that are BAD and a vague sense of things that are good.  There are many flaws with this, one of them as Laura Winner points out is that ‘if guilt is the only resource the church has given us to diagnose sin… then in the absence of guilt we will simply keep on doing whatever it is we shouldn’t be doing.’ 

Surely if we better understood what it meant to be truly human, or if we better understood the beauty of God, or the value of each other we would make better sense of the way we are called to live and we would live better lives.  I want my life to be more than a series of decisions based on avoiding guilt or even a series of decisions based on avoiding getting it wrong.  That is never the goal.  The things God calls me to are invitations to glorify him, and therefore they are invitations to life.  To give life to others rather than rob it from them.  To impact the world around us in ways that helps it flourish rather than diminish.

When we use guilt to manage people we have reduced God to something he is not, and we live mediocre lives.  We need to restore our muddy unformed images of God and the life that is truly life.  We need to stop using guilt and fear as motivators – whether it’s about salvation or social action.  Beats me why we choose to settle for guilt over seeking the answer to the ‘why?’ in the eyes of our Father.

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One Comment on “Guilt is a poor manager…”

  1. alip1 Says:

    You see, it makes perfect sense here, it’s just on Skype that we got so confused!!
    Like I said, so often fear of hell is used to try to scare people into the Kingdom – while it’s important to teach about hell, it’s scary how many people have made some kind of a profession in the past because of the fear of hell, but have never really heard of or experienced the love and mercy of God, and the longing and desire for heaven and for Him… It’s kind of a carrot / stick thing… 🙂
    Keep bloggin mrs, you’ve inspired me to get mine up and running!

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