It’s easy to give of ourselves when we’re invited to do the good we already want to do. Often just a little encouragement goes a long way toward getting us off the sidelines and making an impact for good. But this giving of ourselves should still be our free gift and not something we’ve been guilted into offering. Love is free and not something we’ve reluctantly given because someone twisted our arm.

For instance, everyday commercials are designed to tug at our heartstrings and appeal to the deep desires of our heart. And this is not necessarily bad when it exposes our true desires and we remain free to purchase or not without our dignity and worth being questioned. But it becomes a guilt trip when we’re accused of being selfish, arrogant, and unloving to decline the request being made. The hope is that we will feel bad and eventually cave on our decision.

To be sure, this can also play out in marriage, at work, in political movements, or even at the register of our local store. Much beyond a mere emotional appeal, a guilt trip is an attempt to manipulate our decision by making us feel bad about ourselves for even considering another way. And wisdom, discernment, and courage are needed not to fall victim when someone tries to guilt us into doing something we wouldn’t have done otherwise.

It starts with having a clear sense of our purpose and practice of love. Does this option bring true good? And is this the good we’ve been called to advance?

Our call is to love and it becomes easier to decline something when it doesn’t bring good in the long run. But even when it’s good, this doesn’t mean it’s our good to offer. And we might have to say no to remain faithful to the good God has personally called us to.

Resentment and bitterness are the result when we make decisions simply because someone made us feel guilty.

In the end, let your practice of love remain free and grounded, and not guilted into doing something because of the emotional games others play.  

Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

Dr. Corey Carlisle

Dr. Corey Carlisle

Licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist - providing Christian counseling and soul care to individuals and couples, with a special emphasis on developing the masculine soul. Suwanee, GA 30024

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