This week I came across something on my Facebook feed that rubbed me wrong (that’s a slight understatement, I actually might have come just a little unglued over this!) It was a post by a very well known women’s ministry run by a renowned author, speaker, and radio personality. It is also a Bible Study ministry. Many of you follow this Page like I do, for its nuggets of encouragement for women.
My desire in writing this is not to slander another woman in ministry, but to encourage you who follow these things to be discerning. This is more evidence of how much the humanistic psychological thinking of the world has crept in to the church. If you don’t watch for it (by learning to think Biblically), it can entrap you in its snare like it trapped me for so many years until God opened my eyes.
This particular post has to do with a Bible Study this woman’s ministry offers - which is about whether or not we are "messing up our kids" and what to do about our guilt. Here is a portion of the post:
"This FREE study will equip you to:
* Overcome the weight of mom-guilt and learn how to forgive yourself for honest mistakes.
* Stop comparing yourself to “perfect” moms by turning to God for perspective, guidance and permission to be the mom He’s created you to be.
* Anchor your identity to who you are in Christ instead of chaining your worth as a mom to your kids’ fragile choices."
Ladies, we need to use discernment and think Biblically. What in the above quote troubles you? Where is there a lack of Gospel-focus? Did you catch it? Some of what is said in this quote and elsewhere in their longer description sounds Biblical enough. But there is that one phrase that I just can’t get past.
I am passionate about a lot of things related to the Gospel, but this one point has become my #1 message in my life and ministry. It is this: SELF-FORGIVENESS is not a Biblical concept. I was so disappointed to see that sentence in the description of this study that no-doubt will gather lots of participants and interest.
Moms do struggle with the weight of “mom-guilt” described here. Moms are desperate for relief from this type of guilt that weighs them down. I know this to be true personally, and I know this to be true in my counseling ministry. I don’t know how they think that they teach you in this study to “forgive yourself” because there are no scriptures to support this kind of thinking.
There is no other answer to this mom-guilt than this: THE GOSPEL. Ladies, you WILL fail at mothering. You will sin against your children. You will make mistakes that cause regret. You will never be the perfect parent. Your parenting will impact your children, both in good ways and bad. This is a given in this fallen world! But the answer to all this guilt does not lie within yourSELF. It is in the Gospel and Jesus is enough.
Here is a quote from Rick Thomas, an insightful Biblical Counselor. He says this:
"Stop blaming—Let’s go ahead and get this out of the way—you were a bad parent. So am I. None of us are good parents. What parent can stand up and say, “I did it right. I know how to parent children well.” That’s idiotic and you know it.
If you are tempted to rehearse what you did wrong as a parent, then I call you to repentance. We all have messed up. Could it be any other way? The person who over-focuses on where they messed up and wallows in regret has a small view of God.”
Maybe you, like I once was, are stuck in that over-focus on where you have messed up, wallowing in regret with a small view of God. Rick gave you the answer to that: repentance. The Gospel provides forgiveness as well as everything you need for change. It is your source of strength. If you are trying to muster up self-forgiveness, you will never find relief.
Trying to do yourself what God has already done on your behalf is never going to relieve your guilt!
Believing the clear Gospel message that Jesus bore your guilt on the cross is all the relief you need. There is nowhere in the Bible that teaches you that you must also “forgive yourself.” You cannot do it. And Christian, why would you need to when the God of the universe already forgave you? And if you are not a Christian and you struggle with mom-guilt, your answer is not in yourself and some notion that you can forgive yourself. Your answer is in The Gospel. You can be forgiven by God Himself.
I once gave a testimony about mom-guilt and self-forgiveness, several years ago. Some of my circumstances have changed since then (not necessarily for the better as some of my adult children are still not walking with God in spite of being raised in a Christian home - if you can relate to this, you will benefit from this testimony.) What has not changed is this one fact: Jesus is STILL enough.
Have a listen by clicking on this link:
Self-Forgiveness is Not Biblical