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Column: Don’t nag! Stop ramming into others with your advice

Neighbourly Advice According to Ed: Pure love does not count the sins of others against them
Nagging finger
There is a fine line between guiding and nagging. Genuine love will overcome even nagging.

Parents and spouses have taken a lot of blame for being guilty of nagging. It may be that both parents and spouses are guilty as charged. The problem with nagging is it seldom changes anyone. Nagging is like living near an airport. After a while, you don't notice the sound of the planes anymore.

The defence of naggers is that they are persistent for the good of the person they are pestering. Harassing others seldom changes them and often leads to bitterness and distasteful relationships. Good intentions can backfire when we nag others.

As a retired clergy person, I realize parishioners may feel nagged about their relationship with God regarding their faith, church attendance and Christian morals. However, there is a fine line between guiding and nagging. Genuine love will overcome even nagging.

We nag others in love because we want to prevent them from making serious mistakes. Yet, we learn little from the advice of others and must learn through our mistakes to recognize what others have tried to tell us is valid. In the Bible, the Prodigal Son or Lost Son in Luke 15:11-33 demanded his inheritance before his father was even dead. Upon getting his inheritance, he took off from home and went to a distant country, and wasted his wealth in wild living. No one was nagging him about anything, and everyone was glad to help him enjoy his money.

Love from others can be very fickle. Once the young man's money was gone, so were his friends, and he became in great need because there was a famine in the country. The only work he could get was feeding pigs. Hungry and hating his job, he realized the hired help at his father's home ate well and got a better wage. He realized he had abandoned his father and had no rights as a son, but he could at least work for his father. He headed for home.

Genuine love does not give up on others even when they reject or abandon us. It is the love that can look past what another person has done or failed to do concerning us. Pure love does not count the sins of others against them. When the young man came near his father’s home, his father rushed out to hug and kiss him.

The son said to his father, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son." His dad was thrilled to have his son home and showered him with gifts worthy of a son, and declared a celebration.

Using this story, Jesus wanted his disciples and others to understand the truth of Psalm 32:1-2. It says, “Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit." The son left home sure of himself and what he wanted. He returned humbled, admitted his sins and was relieved with joy to gain forgiveness from his father.

Our sins turn from pleasure to pain with nagging guilt and disappointment. Thankfully we can go to God and find forgiveness. God doesn’t count our sins against us because of Christ. (2Cor. 5:19)