Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans. In all your ways acknowledge HIM and He will make your paths straight.
— Proverbs 5:3
— Proverbs 5:3
Guilt and Grace
Caregivers may from time to time be visited by an uncomfortable visitor -- GUILT. The visitor can come from any direction. It may be a relative that thinks we are not doing things right. Or general social culture that feels we should do this or that; like there is only one accepted way to provide care. It may be the one we are caring for is never satisfied with how often we visit or how we do their meals or laundry. Guilt may come from our own heart. You second guess whether you are doing things right or doing the right things. The big one is feeling guilty before God. Did you do something wrong to cause this to happen? It this in any way a punishment?
What does scripture say we should do with our feelings of guilt? Even with the most horrible SIN, scripture gives us a clear and forthright instruction. We are to confess our feelings of guilt. That does not mean that what we are feeling is a true moral guilt. It means that we need to get our thoughts and feelings surrounding guilt out into the open in some way. We might be experiencing a mixed bag of strained relationships, confused roles, feelings of inadequacy, etc. woven in with our feelings of guilt. I John 1:8-10 says, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.”
If we are dealing with feelings of guilt, it is important to confess it. There is another option. We can become resentful, bitter, self-defensive or angry. That options just breeds more guilt or self-centeredness. So I suggest confession. Confession is central to restoring right relationships, even with ourselves. parent or spouse if I could go back and start all over. But that is not the case. We are where we are in life. We need a safe place to let our feelings out.
As a general rule, caregivers do the best they can do with the information they have at the time. I would be a better caregiver for my mom if I had to do it all over. Then again I might have been a better
If God offers grace, after you express your feelings of guilt (or another associated feeling), give yourself grace too.
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Sue Brettmann RN has been devoted to Caregiving both in her career as an RN, Parish Nurse and caring for her aging parents through the last 40 plus years. She has experience in trauma, home care and hospice. Her strong faith walk and relationship with Christ has always been a part of her care and she is committed to helping others see the gift of Christ in their personal journey's.