Are You Feeling Guilty – Part 2

Kevin CauleyIn last week’s article, we learned that Christ’s sacrifice eliminates all guilt. If we are feeling guilty about our past forgiven sins, then we are doing so for irrational reasons. Let’s think about some of those irrational reasons.

First, we may feel guilty due to self-blame. Some confuse blaming self with taking responsibility. Self-blame is really a mechanism to excuse oneself from responsibility. We tell ourselves, “I am guilty of [some wrong],” so I better not do [some right]. After all, I don’t want to be a hypocrite!” The truth is: you are a hypocrite for doing what is wrong. To stop being a hypocrite you need to do what is right. Guilt due to self-blame fails to act. Stop feeling guilty and get to work.

Second, we may feel guilty due to false standards. Those suffering from eating disorders often set up false standards of acceptance. They feel guilty when they eat because they tell themselves that eating will make them fat, and they will be rejected. False standards of acceptance are irrational, but it isn’t guilt that is the problem, but the false standard. Eliminate the false standard, and the guilt will disappear.

Third, we may feel guilty to control others. Some express feeling guilty to manipulate others to act like they want them to act. This brings false validation, and means that they don’t value themselves correctly. Such manipulation is sinful and irrational. The Christian’s validation and worth comes from Jesus.

The feeling of guilt is an emotion that we control. Others do not make us feel guilty; we make ourselves feel guilty. We must take ownership of our own behaviors, including our guilt, by handling them correctly through Jesus. Unbridled guilt robs us of peace, joy, love, and contentment. Trust Jesus, and let go of guilt.