Guilt

Posted: December 14, 2010 in Guilt
Tags: ,

I hate guilt. I mean it’s one thing when it comes when I sin – that’s fine, it serves a good purpose then – drives me to confession and God. But when it comes because of my pride, perfectionism, comparing myself with others, from my desire to meet what I think might be other people’s expectations – and fail, then that guilt just binds me, completely unnecessarily. And it’s stupid. And then I feel guilty for feeling guilty. What a load of trash!! A few unmet goals – and I’m messing my pants.

I had a goal of writing 20,000 words for a book by mid-November. Well, I only wrote 8,000 (ONLY). So, guilt set in. Sure, I could tell myself – hey, you spent 40+ hours dealing with immigration and customs. Or, writing isn’t your full-time job, you do have other stuff to do. So? Did myself listen to myself? (Now I sound like Jim Carrey, I think) Nope. Or other things that I/we/our church do just good enough to get by. I’m not good with excellence, and in Poland, just getting by is usually good enough.

My fundamentalist upbringing strongly affects how I feel about guilt, of course. Sometimes guilt was used to manipulate or even abuse other followers of Christ. In reaction, I would deny all forms of guilt – even when it was healthy, useful, and could have helped me grow. In Poland, I ran into manipulation by guilt again – in fact, Polish culture in the church and in the world seems to thrive on it.

But. I am thankful for the times when my feeling guilty over the way I treated someone leads me to apologize, or try to resolve an issue. I am thankful for the guilt that pushes me to do things better, to be a better husband/father. No, it isn’t the best motivation. No, I still haven’t fully grasped the amazing nature of grace – and I probably never will fully understand the length, breadth, height and depth of God’s love. But you know what? I refuse to feel guilty about it!

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