Tag Archives: guilt

The Power of Guilt

6 Jan

From 2000 to 2007, I was a student in Cuba. It was very challenging for many reasons. But the most challenging of them all was controlling my inner-temper while lining up for a bus. Let me explain: I’d get to the bus stop with only two people in front of me, then when the bus came, dozens of people would come out from nowhere and get in the bus before me. Just as it would be my turn to enter, the driver would say, « Ya » and close the door. What happened? Well, the two people in front of me kept spaces for their friends. It was an accepted practice which seemed to be embedded into their culture.

I used to get so angry because I was often late for class. We did have buses at the dorms but the same thing would happen: friends would guard spaces for their friends, who would come out the building at the last minute and make it in the bus before me!

I hated this so much that it affected my attitude; and yes, I called quite a few people « idiota » and « estUpida ». I sucked every tooth in my mouth and also tried to roll my eyes out of my hot head.

As a result of my bad attitude towards this cultural experience, I felt burdened. Negative feelings weighed heavily on me and I couldn’t seem to shake them off.

One day, after leaving a friend’s home, I paused at the nearby pharmacy and began to reflect on my feelings. Why was I feeling this way? Why couldn’t I seem to shake them off? Then it hit me. It was guilt! This feeling was more powerful than the act that caused it in the first place. I then told God how I felt and how sorry I was. I forgave myself and accepted His forgiveness, then I brushed my left shoulder off as a tangible sign to myself that I was moving on.

When I identified the problem, I remembered this verse:

« But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth onto those things which are before. » Philippians 3:13

I was condemning myself and was unforgiving. I was rejecting the forgiveness of God.

This may sound silly to you. But this was my spiritual dilemma at the time. I’ve since had to beat back guilt on parenting strategies and in other areas as well, but knowing the culprit helped me to push forward.

What about you? What have you done that has caused you immense guilt? Don’t compare it to mine. Sin is sin, and guilt is guilt. Don’t let them hijack you forever. Let guilt do its job, which is to provide that stepping stone to repentance which leads to forgiveness. If we confess what we feel guilty about, God will forgive us. Accept this forgiveness and move on. Keep growing in Christ and kick guilt to the curb.