I have spent most of my life wrestling and hurting with guilt and shame. It has crippled me so many times from enjoying life and those around me. It has driven me to depression and to the points of feeling worthless and of no use to anyone. So the question that came to me is guilt good or bad. Since guilt had almost destroyed my life I am going to say guilt is bad.
Guilt is extremely powerful and has caused so many problems and confusion throughout our world and in our society. You can always find guilt somewhere at the root of most problems we have in our life. Guilt drives us to do things we shouldn’t do to keeping from doing the things we should.
For example: Many times guilt it is at the root of volunteers, contributions and appeasing others. Many ministers have been enlisted into various religions due to guilt. Many parents have controlled their children through guilt and shame. Guilt has been forced upon many children due to molestation, physical abuse, rape, bad grades and divorce or even for the clothes they wore to school.
Guilt is a powerful tool used by Satan to manipulate and destroy so many people. It’s a good tool because it works so well. The reason for the religion of “Evolution” was based on guilt. It was an attempt to remove God. No God, no guilt was the purpose.
If you commit a crime and have to go to court, they will try to prove you innocent or guilty of committing a crime. This is not a court to determine if you are a good or bad person and this is not what you will be judged for in essence. You will be convicted if you are guilty of committing the crime. Whether or not you stole the car is the point and the fact you are a nice guy doesn’t matter. You may have even said please and thank you when you took it.
At the root of guilt you will always find selfishness. Anyone whoever uses guilt will do it to accomplish their own personal selfish desires and control others. I have used it on many occasions to get what I wanted. To guilt someone to do something against their will or boundaries is all too common. Many young girls have sacrificed their virginity of feeling guilt while the young man selfishly manipulated her. Mothers (I can’t help but think about Ray’s mother on “Everyone Loves Raymond.”) have attempted to use guilt to achieve the type of behavior they desired from their children. Have you ever heard the statement, “If you loved me you would…or if you really cared about me you would…or if you were a really a Christian you would....Has someone ever given you something, but you knew there were strings attached?” I have even heard this kind of manipulation from the pulpit.
This is the most important part that I want you to remember and this will help you to evaluate others motives in the future. Guilt has nothing to do with love and never will. God doesn’t use guilt to get His way. God is love and there is no love in guilt, only selfishness. God wants us to come to Him because we desire to and because we love Him. The guilt that Satan has used to imprison us, God will take away from us and give us a new life.
What about conviction? Doesn’t God convict our hearts to turn to Him? Yes He does, but He’s not doing it through guilt. He is convicting us out of love because we are already guilty and we now are just agreeing with Him. You confessed you stole the car because you were found guilty. Consider Adam and Eve after they had sinned and hid. They were already feeling guilty for what they had done. All God wanted to do was remove the guilt and shame. He did this by asking them questions. The first question was, “Where are you Adam?” (God already knew everything) Then Adam confesses he was hiding. The second question, “Why are you hiding?” Adam confesses again because he was naked. The third question, “Who told you, you were naked?” Then Adam goes into the blame game and not only did he blame the woman, but he also blamed God. God wants us to confess our sins so He can restore our relationship with Him.
One of the big problems we have is we’re feeling guilty and confessing to things we haven’t done. We feel guilty many times for something someone did to us. Then we feel stupid for feeling guilty. This happens many times when a crime is committed against us, such as molestation, rape, robbery or simply feeling guilty when we set a boundary or tell someone no.
Guilt is not an emotional problem. That’s why psychotherapy never works when dealing with guilt. It is neither a physical or emotional issue. It is a spiritual problem and can only be dealt with through God’s forgiveness. Once God has forgiven us you can be assured Satan will be there to continually accuse you of your wrong doings. Self-forgiveness is actually accepting God’s forgiveness. Do you believe He has forgiven you or not? He said, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9
This all comes down to the choice of walking in the darkness or the light. If we are walking in the light we can see the truth about guilt and what it does to us and others. If we are walking in the dark we can’t see what’s happening and we fall into the pit of ignorance. We simply cannot see where we’re going. In Romans 8:1 it says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” The last part is saying if we are walking in the light we can see the truth, but if we’re in the dark then we can’t see.
So what is the boundary between darkness and light? From my own experience it was unforgiveness. Once this wall came down I was able to see things more clearly. I had created a huge wall between God and me blinding me from the truth. Once this wall of unforgiveness came down I could see more than I ever could. Part of it was forgiving God in what I perceived He had done and the other part was accepting His forgiveness.
Many won’t even read this because they are stuck in the darkness or they’re afraid this is going to make them feel guiltier than they already do. Guilt will imprison us so far from the truth that we will only return when we feel we have no place left to go. Guess what? If we had gone to God to begin with, then we wouldn’t have to go through the garbage to get there. Sometimes it takes the garbage to see how bad off we really are.