Believe me....it is something I am WELL versed in.
Coming from a Jewish-Catholic background I have had experience in every possible nuance of the emotion.
RH and the kids might even say that I have maybe occasionally used guilt to "help" them get things done around the house.....but I don't know if I'd go THAT far.
There are many different kinds of guilt:
There's guilt because you knew something was wrong and did it anyway.
There's guilt because you have inadvertently hurt someone.
There's guilt because you have purposefully hurt someone.
There's guilt because you can't do what someone else wants or needs you to do.
There's guilt because you don't do what YOU want yourself to do.
There's guilt because you didn't follow God's rules.
There's guilt because you don't feel guilty and you think you should.
I am sure there are many other types to add to this list....but I am going to finish with the one that is most on my mind right now:
There's guilt because you have something that someone else doesn't have.
This "something" could be:
a loved one
Survivor's guilt, I believe it's called.
A few weeks
He said something like (and I paraphrase the best I can here):
"Right now everyone feels guilty. Some people feel guilty because they were completely personally unaffected by the tornado. Other's feel guilty because they only lost their car. Other's feel guilty because they only lost their workplace; or home; or possessions. Some people feel guilt because they didn't loose a loved one--while other's feel guilt because they are the only survivor in their family.
Right now everyone feels some degree of guilt...and guilt is one of Satan's most powerful tools."
I'd say that's pretty accurate.
I know that I feel guilt every time I stoop low enough to complain about something in my
I know that I feel guilt every time I thank God for saving my children that night.
I know I feel guilt going out to a nice dinner with friends and NOT talking about the tornado.
I know that I feel guilt when we drive past the FEMA trailers and see the ice cream truck circling around the many sets of wooden stairs and my kids yell, "Not fair! Why can't the ice cream truck come to our house?!"
It's a dumb and not healthy emotion and I would counsel ANY of my friends to let it go.....
But it's there.
Survivor's guilt has been around for a long time.
In Luke 13 (1-5 if you're interested) my pastor pointed out some things that hadn't been evident to me before his lesson.
(Now....I'm going to super-paraphrase this again....so please go look at it in your own bible if you want the accurate reading.)
Some people were talking to Jesus and asked Him about these guys from Galilee who had been killed. Apparently these Galileans had gone to make their sacrifices at the temple (as they were supposed to do) and one of the bigwig judges then had them randomly killed right then and there.
Why just those poor guys?
So Jesus says, "Do you think the guys who were killed were bad people? Do you think they deserved to die in a man-made tragedy? How about the 18 people who were killed by some random tower in Siloam that randomly fell on them. Do you think they deserved to die in that natural tragedy?"
The people speaking to Jesus were not only asking:
"Why did they have to die?"
They were also asking:
"Why did I live?"
And you know what Jesus' answer was?
He didn't give an answer to the "why".
He said that NO....those who died were not any worse sinners than those who lived....but...
He didn't give an answer to the "why".
The WHY doesn't matter.
Jesus's follow up and conclusion to the questions was:
"Turn you life around and come to Me....or you will "die" too."
We can feel bad that the bad things didn't happen to us....
Or we can use it as a chance to do what really matters.
I have another
I heard a news story this weekend about a guy who was sky diving and his parachute didn't open
He landed in a 14 foot blackberry bush and lived.
Now think of this.
Have you ever reached into a blackberry bush?
There are LOTS of really hard thorns.
You can't get your fingers out unscathed....it's impossible.
Imagine extracting your ENTIRE body from a massive bush.
Imagine the thousands of thorns ripping through various tender parts of your flesh as your pulled out from the middle of the bushes.
Would you be thankful for the bushes...thorns and all?
Would you still have small bloody tears all over your body that really in fact did actually hurt?
Would you change the fact that you had landed in the bush instead of the hard unforgiving ground?
Feeling guilty about having something or surviving something DOESN'T MEAN you don't feel grateful.
It just means that you are admitting that those little tears in your flesh/soul....really do hurt, as insignificant as they may be in the grand scheme of life.
What we.....what I need to work on is this:
To stop asking "why?" and focus on the "what now?".
It will happen.
For all of us.
Guilt has a problem with making me feel unworthy.
But I have to remember:
I am no more worthy than anyone else....
but I am also no more unworthy than anyone else.
I have to not question....but simply accept.
And I have to let go of my guilt for feeling guilty.
But I suspect that my Jewish and Catholic grandmothers would roll over in their graves if I didn't feel some guilt on a daily basis.
Maybe I'll save that guilt for the fact that I ate peach cobbler for breakfast.