avoiding guilt and installing virtue

Robb asked a great question in the comments section of a previous post on parenting. He asked, "Hmmm. Not sure about this. Do our kids really need a stronger sense of guilt in their lives?"

Maybe some others of you are wondering this as well. As always, here's my two cents...

Robb, if they context of the conversation was one of anger, disapproval, guilt and shame, then I agree that it would not be appropriate. But what I try to do (and admittedly sometimes fail in) is to explain the beauty of Jesus on the cross and the truth that even though we cause trouble God still loves us.

In fact, just this morning Jacob brought up a situation from a couple days ago where I had corrected him and told him that he made a bad choice.

I quickly took that memory as a chance to hug him and tell him that when Daddy forgives him for his mistakes I don't remember them. I tried to illustrate this by saying that when I say, "I forgive you" all the bad stuff flies far away like little birdies. Then I told him that the same is true with God and taught him how the Bible teaches us that when God forgive us for our sins, our sins fly away like birdies and God don't remember them.

Jacob is constantly showered in hugs and kisses and praises. If all he ever heard was "You are bad" and "God is mad" then the situation would be different. But I won't, and before God cannot, just cocoon him in a false sense of goodness either.

Does that help clarify?