In Psalm 38:4 David said, “My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear.”
Can you relate? Feeling guilty is no fun.
But let’s explore whether some guilt can actually be a good thing.
First, there is Loud Guilt. It’s that guilt you feel when you’ve clearly done something wrong. Maybe you’ve said something hurtful to someone or vandalized a car. (Let’s hope not! Lol) In these situations your guilt is telling you you’ve done something you know is wrong.
Second, there is an ongoing Ball-And-Chain Guilt about something from your past. You’ve asked for forgiveness, learned from your mistakes, and done your best to make amends. But you continue to feel guilty. Since you’ve already addressed it, try to stomp it like an empty pop can and kick it into a recycling bin in a galaxy far, far away. I don’t think this kind of guilt is helpful.
But then there is Corrective Guilt. This is a voice that tells you something isn’t right. Maybe it’s an ungodly lifestyle choice; maybe it’s the way you’re treating someone; maybe it’s something you know you should be doing, but aren’t.
A part of you wants to turn it off. But you can’t.
Maybe that’s because it’s teaching you something. Maybe it’s trying to help you correct your course because there’s something you need to change.
So friends, there are kinds of guilt that don’t help. But sometimes there is a Corrective Guilt that is actually good. Why? Because it is reminding you that something just isn’t right, and that there is a better, more godly way forward.
God wants the best for you. The question you need to ask yourself is, Do you want the best for you too?
By Matthew Ruttan
–“Fostering Faith – Christian parenting in an age of high-expectations.” That’s an article I wrote that was just published in Christian Courier magazine. You can read the online version here. Enjoy!
–Bible quotes are from the NIV.
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