And for some reason the last one seems the stickiest wicket of the bunch. For those of us who love someone who has damaged or even destroyed their own lives, this seems to the be primary trap.
I have great compassion (since I fall into this myself) for folks who look back at a point in time when we can honestly and objectively say, "I fell short in this relationship". We can identify things we would change if we could, times when we were too strict, not strict enough, might have sought professional help, coulda, woulda, shoulda done it differently. But here is the problem: not one of us is perfect. Not one person on this Earth was parented without err.
But when we over focus on what might have been, we not only get stuck ourselves, we encourage our child to be stuck there too. No human on this Earth today gets a life without challenges, both of the random sort (like a parent who intensely dislikes thunderstorms and unwittingly passes that fear onto their child) and the more intentional sort (like a teacher who is abrupt and withholds approval to a child who bears an uncanny resemblance to a bully from their own past). It is far better to speak this truth to our children (of any age): life is hard, but it is worth the effort. With God's companionship and counsel we can find our way through to a life of hope, purpose and joy.
This is also true for ourselves -- each and every one of us. If we can drag our focus away from ourselves and turn our face to God, we can open ourselves to new ways of approaching challenges. We can find the blessing in the most challenging of situations. We can begin to experience the amazing peace of being more interested in what we have to give than what we feel we are owed...especially when what we think we are owed has the potential to cause us great harm.
It is not only harmful, it is a form of egotism to hang on to sins God has already forgiven. It is as though we can say to God, I know better than you do how far I fall short and You, God, are not big enough to overcome my failings. If that is the attitude I embrace going forward, the example I give to those I love so dearly is that their sins cannot be escaped either.
For the sake of those we love, but even more urgently, for our own sakes, we need to trust God on this one!
Now we see how God does make us acceptable to him ... God treats everyone alike. He accepts people only because they have faith in Jesus Christ. All of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. But God treats us much better than we deserve, and because of Christ Jesus, he freely accepts us and sets us free from our sins. God sent Christ to be our sacrifice. Christ offered his life’s blood, so that by faith in him we could come to God. And God did this to show that in the past he was right to be patient and forgive sinners. This also shows that God is right when he accepts people who have faith in Jesus. Romans 3: 21, 23-26