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Parents also should put their trust in God

Mayville, N.D. I cannot possibly reply to everything The Forum published in response to my letter (Nov. 17), but I would like to respond with a pastoral word to the writer (and I'm sure she speaks for many) who spoke of the guilt parents experien...

Mayville, N.D.

I cannot possibly reply to everything The Forum published in response to my letter (Nov. 17), but I would like to respond with a pastoral word to the writer (and I'm sure she speaks for many) who spoke of the guilt parents experience as they attempt to raise their children. Tell me about it.

I cannot think of a vocation in which more mistakes are made. How do we parents deal with the guilt that comes from our failure to be the fathers and mothers we ought to be? The most common way is self-justification. And this is the most destructive. It doesn't work. It has never worked.

When we seek to justify ourselves we cannot afford to admit failure or even mistakes. For when we do we see our justification crumble by our own admission. But the one who does not seek to justify himself but rather trusts in the God who justifies sinners for Jesus' sake finds true righteousness, forgiveness of sin and peace with God.

Jesus Christ is our righteousness. He was the most perfectly dutiful son. And he lived his holy life and died an innocent death on the cross so that we might be justified through faith alone in him.

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We fathers and mothers sin daily and fail to do what God calls us to do. We cannot rid ourselves of our failures by the most vigorous efforts to justify ourselves. But the blood of Jesus Christ, God's son, cleanses us from all sin. When we have Jesus we have true righteousness.

We are God's children. We belong to his family. We don't need to justify ourselves - an effort doomed to failure. God accounts us righteous. And that's good enough. The confidence that this brings to us helps us become better parents as we learn to live under God's grace.

Preus is pastor at First American Lutheran Church, Mayville, N.D., First Evanger Lutheran Church, Fertile, Minn., and Grace Lutheran Church, Crookston, Minn.

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