Jesus and Me: Association by Guilt?

by Larry Hehn on December 9, 2010

guiltJesus tried to lay a guilt trip on me yesterday.

Well, sort of.

Some literature with a picture of a handsome blue-eyed Jesus on it tried to lay a guilt trip on me.

Something about it just wasn’t right. Like choosing The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald as your wedding song. Like buying your wife a vacuum cleaner for your anniversary. Like ordering a diet cola to wash down your double cheeseburger and large fries. Like wearing white shoes after Labor Day. Something about it was just plain wrong.

As you can see in the image above, the message was not exactly encouraging:

I am the LIGHT and you do not see Me.
I am the WAY and you do not follow Me.
I am the TRUTH and you do not believe Me.
I am the LIFE and you do not seek Me.
I am the MASTER and you do not listen to Me.
I am your FRIEND and you do not love Me.
I am your GOD and you do not pray to Me.

And last but not least…

If you are unhappy, do not blame Me.
(Inscription on the Calvary scene in an old Flemish graveyard – 1632)

Ok, time out.

I can’t see Jesus talking like that. Ever.

In fact, he doesn’t.

Here’s what he really says in some of the verses that are cited:

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” – John 8:12

“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” – John 12:46

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6

“In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” – John 18:37

“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.” – John 13:13

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” – John 15:13-15

Notice no condemnation. No guilt.

Here’s what I believe that literature should say:

I am the LIGHT. See Me.
I am the WAY. Follow Me.
I am the TRUTH. Believe Me.
I am the LIFE. Seek Me.
I am the MASTER. Listen to Me.
I am your FRIEND. Love Me.
I am your GOD. Pray to Me.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28

Which version have you experienced in the past?

Which one do you believe?

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

bill (cycleguy) December 9, 2010 at 4:48 am

First red flag: a blue-eyed Jesus. Second red flag (that screamed out to me): the words of that poster. I gotta tell you that I cringed as i saw them. Why would anyone think Jesus would say those things? UGH!! Great post Larry. And I will vote for your version any day.
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Larry Hehn December 9, 2010 at 11:54 am

Thanks, Bill. While there may be an element of truth to each of those statements, the whole guilt approach just did not say Jesus to me. My reaction to this card made me consider how I communicate with my children, and whether I use love or guilt to express my desires for them. There’s a big difference between guilting them about all the things they haven’t done but should, and simply encouraging them to do them.


mo December 9, 2010 at 11:23 am

Crap thats totally the card I got you.

I have experienced the Light! I was sooo blind. But now I see 🙂 love it!
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Larry Hehn December 9, 2010 at 11:56 am

Aw, I forgive you Mo.
It’s the thought that counts.


Tony Alicea December 9, 2010 at 2:27 pm

I believe the second. I think sometimes people forget that Gospel means “Good News”.
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Larry Hehn December 9, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Good call, Tony. I could always use a reminder of that. Sometimes I forget it too.


Alex Marestaing December 11, 2010 at 11:10 am

I think our focus should be “relationship” with God rather than rules, once the relationship is there, that’s when we start following all the rules, and for the right reasons.
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Larry Hehn December 11, 2010 at 3:53 pm

Exactly! Well said, Alex. Thanks!


April Rowen December 11, 2010 at 2:49 pm

Right on!!!


Larry Hehn December 11, 2010 at 3:57 pm

Thanks April!


Ellen December 14, 2010 at 3:25 pm

Awesome!!! Thank you Larry! 🙂


Larry Hehn December 14, 2010 at 10:01 pm

My pleasure, Ellen. Thank you!


Jesse December 17, 2011 at 10:49 am

Thank you sir. I know your post here is about a year old – but you ust helped me finish my sermon…


Larry Hehn December 17, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Awesome. I’m glad this was helpful, Jesse. Thanks for letting me know!


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