“For of all sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these: “It might have been!”~John Greenleaf Whittier
Have you ever been taken on a guilt trip? Mothers are especially great at this, but other influential people in our lives may also (knowingly or unknowingly) take us on this detour. Many times this is motivated by a desire to see correct behaviour, build character or develop right attitudes. Most often it is used to manipulate someone into doing things the way another person or organisation thinks they ought to be done. Looking at this phenomenon, I came across this post from StuffFundiesLike.com [the term ‘fundamentalist’ is mostly used today as referring to someone who is an adherent or belongs to a strict and conservative religious sect].
“What if?” is a very special kind of … guilt trip because comes from nowhere, contains nothing but imagination, and can be used on anybody about even the most innocent of activities. Consider…
What if instead of buying that candy bar you had instead given the money in the missions offering? What if that very dollar was used to print the tracts that went to deepest darkest Africa and converted the local medicine man to Christianity and caused revival to break out across the entire continent? But alas, you chose the candy. So now we’ll never know.
What if instead of sleeping in on Saturday you had spent an extra hour praying for your lost family member? What if that snooze button was all that was standing between their soul and eternal damnation? A little sleep, a little slumber, and now you’ll always have to wonder if you could have done more. You probably could.
What if you had dug deeper, pushed harder, or fought better? What glorious opportunities may have been had! What souls could have been won and empires built! But alas, poor craven soul that you are, you did not.
Guilt trips on the Subjunctive Highway. They’re a thing of beauty.