Interpreting Guilt

I had a conversation with someone recently about guilt. They felt that someone had been making them feel guilty about not giving enough to a certain cause. They really didn’t like feeling guilt (and after all, who really does?) and that dislike of the feeling itself seemed to make them resentful of the person making them feel it. This conversation started me thinking about this whole topic of guilt. Because if ‘guilt’ can have the effect of causing/harbouring resentment, then it seems a dangerous thing. Or it is at least a dangerous thing to leave unprocessed. Is guilt a good thing? Should we avoid feeling guilt? Or does guilt reveal something deeper within?… something life-giving, even?

Definition: Guilt – “a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined.”

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Trusting that it’s true for us, too…

I was just pondering a recent podcast I subscribe to.  It drew me to review a story in the Bible about a man forgiven his huge debt. Then, rather than returning the favor and showing mercy to those who owed him, he instead went out and ransacked a guy that owed him pennies. * ($100,000 vs $10.)  It got me thinking… what would cause a man who had just been forgiven so much do something so unmerciful to another.  And, then it hit me.  Not accepting it for himself.  He didn’t really believe it was true.  He most likely doubted the heart of the guy toward him…. that he would “probably end up coming back to get the money from him someday.”  And, so, in a panic, he tried to gather his outstanding debt so he’d be prepared to pay him back when the guy came asking for it.  He had missed the entire thing… he missed the grace and mercy of the man’s act of forgiving the debt.

Then, it hit me.  We do the very same thing.

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Slipping from Heart to Head

When you go to the Doctor, one of the most common questions you’ll get is, “Have there been any changes in your health lately? . . . recent weight-loss? . . . weight-gain? . . . etc.”  The Doctor isn’t just being nosey or trying to chat it up with you. Your Doctor knows that with each change there is a reason; there is something behind these changes that holds answers to what is going on inside.

Life is like this physically… and spiritually.

Last week was a hard week.  (To be honest, in many ways I’ve had a hard year. Just read some of my recent posts. 🙂 )  There have been many times I’ve felt detached, lonely, numb even. I have that sensation you experience while driving your car when you’re tired and distracted and you can’t remember how you got where you are… what happened during the last few miles?!   It’s like how Eldredge describes the way many of us experience life, “Like arriving to a movie 20 minutes late… something important seems to be going on, but we can’t seem to make any sense of it…“.  I mean, sometimes I feel such clarity, passion, direction, connectedness, purpose… and yet over the last year I’ve felt like I’m late for the movie… or maybe a better metaphor to describe it would be to say I’ve felt like someone listening to one side of a phone conversation.  I can tell there is an important conversation going on, but I can’t make out enough for me to make sense of it. My sense of clarity and passion and direction and purpose seem cloudy, distant, spotty.

Which brings me to one day last week… Continue reading “Slipping from Heart to Head”