Thursday, October 3, 2019

Guilt Trips are a Trip to Nowheresville

My friend, Bill Sutton, dropped by to share his thoughts on guilt trips! 
"The scene is from a true story a few years ago. It took place during visits to a local service station. After spending my hard earned gas money, I would be guilted by the owner for not stopping by more often, or that he saw me getting gas at another station in town. It happened a few times, so the curtain closed on that scene, and I chose to buy my gas elsewhere, where a “Thank you” replaced a “Guilt Trip”. The owner got a trip to nowheresville with me.
I want to be appreciated for what I do, not guilted for what I don’t do. I think we all want that. If you want to run people out of your life, or away from your business, then put them on guilt trips. The mother who finally gets that desired call from the grown kid who seldom calls, chastises the young man repeatedly for not calling her more, then she wonders why he doesn’t call much. Or she scolds him the entire call about the lifestyle he is living, seldom trying to find out about the good he may be doing. He thinks about calling the next week, then puts the phone down. Both mother and son lose. A guilt trip tore them apart even more.
A person who goes to church every now and then, wants to feel good about getting up, getting ready and doing what they believe is the right thing. But the person is greeted with words like, “We have missed you the last MONTH” which is code for “Where have you been?” When I haven’t been for awhile, and someone jokes with me a bit about the “roof falling in” with me finally being there, I’m fine with it, and laugh right along. Others though, may take it to heart, so we have to be careful. We can prod certain people a little in good fun, and hopefully we don’t have a bit of a hidden agenda, that becomes a guilt trip. Worse yet is the person who is trying to make some changes, goes to church, but gets guilted by others because of the way they are living. I’ve always been taught to let God do the judging. There may be a time and place to talk with someone about some needed changes, but it takes wisdom to know the setting and timing to do so. Let God guide you. If you just don’t know, let God handle it. God brings conviction where needed. People can bring condemnation and guilt, is a trip to nowheresville, and will keep people away from church.
How do we handle it when it’s obvious someone is trying to put you on a guilt trip? Don’t go! When you don’t go there, you’ll find that those who love to lay guilt trips on people, will leave you alone more and more. Also, don’t take it personally. That may just be how they roll. You’re not alone. If you are up to it, you could even tell them how the guilt trip makes you feel, and that it doesn’t work. The main thing is, don’t go.
Linda knows how to handle my attempts to guilt trip her. Recently, I thought she should go to a home football game with me. She responded that she hates football, the stands make her have back problems, and that the cold night air isn’t good for her body. I said that the team and the cheerleaders need our support. She came back in a sort of humorous way, “If you think you can guilt me into going, sorry….doesn’t work.” So I went, and the game was a runaway, the bleachers were hard, and it was a bit chilly. It would have been a terrible experience for Linda. But I loved it. So she handled my manipulation in a perfect way. Just don’t tell her!! Uh oh, she may be reading this; oh well. She didn’t go along on the guilt trip, she put the (foot) ball back into my court, saying, “If YOU want to go……go.” I did, and I was happy. She didn’t go, and she was happy. The stands were nearly full, so the cheerleaders and the team were happy. Besides, there’s always next week’s game. "You're going Linda, right?"
Even though guilt trips are a trip to nowheresville, we all know that unfortunately, guilt trips do work sometimes. It is a sort of manipulation, and manipulation isn’t a good thing. Guilt trips often “succeed” because behavior can be changed because of a guilt trip. But these so called successes come with a price. And that price is resentment toward the manipulator, and it poisons relationships. It hurts places of business. It keeps attendance down at churches. Marriages built on foundations of guilt trips, can’t be healthy. Putting shame on an alcoholic, makes the alcoholic secretly turn to the bottle, to mask the shame. In the big picture, what looked to be a success at one time, became a trip to nowheresville. God can bring conviction and change. Guilt can bring condemnation and resentment. God is God, we’re not, and that is GOOD! Appreciate people for what they do well. Don’t shame them; it seldom works.
Romans 2:1-2"
Bill was born and raised in Williams, Arizona and attended college at NAU.  He has been a schoolteacher, local newspaper writer, then a judge for 20 years. He is McKeachern Award Winner as nation's outstanding non-attorney judge and  President and founder of Yes I Can, Inc.  Also President and founder of my company, Wise Choice Alternatives. There are 100 Thoughts like these in his recently released book, Thoughts for the Weekend, available on Amazon.

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