Jesus isn't a Guilt Gift - Truth in Love Ministry

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Jesus isn’t a Guilt Gift

Everyone loves the hymn “Joy to the World!” I did not.

When I thought about Jesus’ birth at Christmas, work, duty, and obligation came to mind. But joy? Never, not even once.

How could I rejoice? Jesus was the perfect example; I could never measure up to him. The gift I received each Christmas was only guilt. 

The Christmas messages that I heard were, “Bring your best gifts to Jesus. Follow his perfect example. Strive to become more like him.” I wanted to “light the world,” but there wasn’t any light in my heart to shine. Guilt had smothered me.

Do more. Work harder. Be better.

Don’t get me wrong. I was thankful that Jesus came at Christmas as part of the package deal “plan of salvation.” But, I viewed Jesus as a “guilt gift” rather than a treasure to hold near and dear. 

The gift of Jesus was like an exercise program and weights set I once received for my birthday. That thoughtful gift from my husband said to me, “Follow the example of these fabulously fit people, and you too can become fit and beautiful.” First, I felt guilty for not being in better shape. But worse, I wondered if my husband’s love was conditional. I feared he would only keep loving me if I became a better, fitter person.

Do more. Work harder. Be better.

A gift that brings guilt is not a gift at all; it is an oppressive obligation.

Because of the witness of Christian friends, I know this now. Jesus is not a “guilt gift.” He is not a spiritual fitness coach or taskmaster. He didn’t give me the gift of a plan or an example. Instead, he gave me the gift of himself.  

His work. His perfection. His righteousness.

Because of Jesus’ gift, Heavenly Father loves me unconditionally. Therefore, I can rejoice and sing, “The glories of his righteousness and the wonders of his love!”

— Janet, Ex-Mormon

Christmas-Tree-Web

Article Summary

Because of the witness of Christian friends, I know that Jesus is not a "guilt gift." He didn't give me the gift of a plan or an example. Instead, he gave me the gift of himself.

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About Truth in Love Ministry

We are a Christian ministry devoted to proclaiming Christ to Mormons and empowering Christians to witness. In addition to offering time-tested training, we provide ongoing support. This includes person-to-person mentoring as well as websites with pages of practical tips, strategies, and witness stories.

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