Tell Guilt Goodbye
“There are two kinds of guilt: the kind that drowns you until you’re useless, and the kind that fires your soul to purpose.”~ Sabaa Tahir
Many of you commented on last week’s post about forgiveness and the freedom it gives us. A few brave souls commented here, many more sent me a private message of some sort. Most of us struggle with it at one time or another but for some, it can be a powerful, crippling stronghold.
The word stronghold most often comes up when we talk about spiritual issues that keep us from becoming what Matthew Kelly calls the best version of yourself. I found this concise definition on a website called Ministering Deliverance, www.ministeringdeliverance.com.
“A stronghold is an incorrect thinking pattern that has molded itself into our way of thinking. These strongholds have the capability to affect our feelings, how we respond to various situations in life, and they play a large role in our spiritual freedom. Strongholds are built upon deception and error. These errors and deceptions which form strongholds can come from a wide variety of sources…”
But guilt can be good
“I’m just going to say it: I’m pro-guilt. Guilt is good. Guilt helps us stay on track because it’s about our behavior. It occurs when we compare something we’ve done – or failed to do – with our personal values.” ~ Brené Brown
Brené Brown is widely considered to be THE authority on the topic of guilt, especially when it crosses the emotional boundary and becomes shame. Brown is a shame researcher. Who knew such a job existed? Her years of study into human behavior have made her an extraordinary speaker and author. Her TED talk in 2010 on the Power of Vulnerability quickly went viral and has over 29 million views, an indication of how widespread the pain of guilt is experienced.
Too often, we punish ourselves for past mistakes, as if we could somehow “make up” the wrong that we’ve done. Our self-esteem suffers and the negative emotions we feel gnaw away at our happiness and satisfaction with life. But in truth, guilt is a choice. We are all human so we are by nature flawed and imperfect. If we’ve done something wrong and learn from it, apologize and make amends it can be a great lesson. Best of all, if we don’t repeat the mistake or the offense, we grow from it. There is no badge of honor from membership in the beat-yourself-up club. Move on!!
The destructive nature of guilt
“Guilt upon the conscience, like rust upon iron, both defiles and consumes it, gnawing and creeping into it, as that does which at last eats out the very heart and substance of the metal.”~ Robert South
Guilt has the capacity to steal our joy and destroy happiness. This time, let’s focus on self-forgiveness, often the hardest kind there is to give. Often, even though we know God has forgiven us, we hold on to guilt. We can let this go, too. We need to remind ourselves again and again that we are a beloved child of God and that “He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.” Psalm 103:12.
Believe and receive His forgiveness and say goodbye to guilt. See you Thursday!