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Saturday, December 24, 2011


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Guilt feelings are a hard task master. It is both a fact and a feeling. It is a force that attacks repeatedly and severely. The remedies for controlling these feelings are often ineffective and temporary. Whether real or imaginary the effect is debilitating and painful. It has the power to affect the spiritual, psychological and our physical being.

Guilt is an emotion, a response to failing in some area of you life. There is nothing we do wherein we can’t experience some degree of perceived failure. The casserole didn’t turn out like it should have. Company just dropped in and my house wasn’t clean or some area where you didn’t meet the standard either you or someone has established.

It could be a “Didn’t do or shouldn’t have done,” scenario in either case the result is a yucky feeling.

One thing many agree on is - - if all forms of guilt were eliminated there would be little need for psychologists or psychiatrists for it is there they find most of their patience’s problems.

Wikipedia; A three-fold division is sometimes made between objective or legal guilt, which occurs when society's laws have been broken..., Social guilt... [over] an unwritten law of social expectation', and finally Personal guilt occurs when someone compromises one's own standards.”

The most punishing guilt is when we violate what we believe is our standards, of course these standards are those that have been imposed upon us at a very young age. Starting at the center of the bulls eye when we fall below our own expectations the old phrase “I could just kick myself” seems apropos for we have a high opinion of ourselves.

Even when we deliberately do poorly we still excuse and justify ourselves but that doesn’t get rid of the guilt associated with it.

Guilt carries with it the expectation of having to pay the price for our laxity or inability to measure up to either our or other’s standards especially our family. One of the worst awards one can receive is the “most likely to succeed award” this puts pressure on the individual so that anything less than perfection is failure.

How to get over the guilt syndrome is certainly beyond me for every psychologist has a list of things to do and even with the list utilized at best there is but little relief. Whether there is real guilt or imaginary guilt, deserved or undeserved the result is the same, self condemnation. It is certain that others will condemn you but it is only when condemnation is internalized the damage is done.

The Biblical viewpoint in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were without any sense of guilt. There was no condemnation until Adam and Eve sinned. Then the blame shifting began because they were both guilty of disobeying GOD’S commandant.

While there were many of “Thou shall” directions given to them there was only one. “Thou shalt NOT” commandment and they violated it.

When Cain murdered his brother and he was sent from GOD’S presence and Cain said; “My punishment is greater than my strength.” This seems to be the effect of guilt, we can only partially mitigate this and not totally expunge it.

Hundreds of volumes have been written on this subject without resolution so the only thing we can do is learn to live with it and not allow it to become obsessive.

The “How” is the tough part of any answer to every problem. By recognizing that the feeling guilty emotion is the result of falling below some standard you must ask whose standards are these and why must I conform to them.

Starting with the spiritual we look at the scripture Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

This means we are guilty and now need to seek the remedy if there is one. For simplicity sake we look to; 1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1John 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.

I understand from a theological perspective this construct could be improved upon but the main issue which is separation from GOD is resolved. The next issue is violation of standards set up for you by others. These may be friends, parents, society as a whole.

If I want to have peaceful interaction with them I must accept their rules of the road.

Understanding all the while - - that I’m going to fall short of their expectations I must be ready to compensate for my failure. Starting with “I’m sorry.” and showing that you are by whatever means that is available to you. The best and genuine way is to make sure you avoid doing it again.

If their standards are too high then break off the relationship and move on. It is not a right or wrong issue but rather an incompatibility problem that is best dealt with by avoidance.

Your own standards and failure to live up to them is big issue for you have to live with yourself. Some try to lower their standards even as far as “I don’t give a damn,” but that doesn’t get you off the hook so to speak - - for the guilt will remain, just pushed to a lower level of consciousness. When this happens something is eating on you and you don’t know what it is.

After all this blather what is the answer?

To start with; Ecclesiastes 12:13 Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole [duty] of man. And then James 2:8 it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: "Love your neighbor as yourself."

Love them to the point of meeting their expectations of you even though you find them a bit intrusive. This may add a bit of irritation to you but doesn’t allow room for guilt.

Then love yourself enough to accept yourself as being imperfect and walk in forgiveness toward yourself as you work through your problems.

Recognize that everyone can do better and go so far as cutting yourself a little slack, enough as to not condemn yourself for every little failure but not as far as persevering to become the best version of you as possible.

Reject any guilt that doesn’t provide the answer for doing better. Philippians 4:7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

The peace of God also includes freedom from jarring, discordant passions of the mind. It is a positive enjoyment of the purest, sweetest kind.

It is a foretaste of the bliss of heaven. Nothing on earth is so delightful.

You might enjoy this beautiful song:

This post has been linked with Joan Davis at: Sharing His Beauty

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