“So often when people hear about suffering in our world, they feel guilty, but rarely does guilt actually motivate action like empathy and compassion. Guilt paralyzes and causes us to deny and avoid what is making us feel guilty. The goal is to replace our guilt with generosity.”
~The Most Rev. Dr. Desmond Tutu,
God Has a Dream, 2004.
Fear reigns when it should not.
What should hold sway — but often doesn’t — is the power of love in positive action.
Instead, fear pushes through the crowd, gatecrashing its way to the front, and it withholds the unencumbered flow of growth where citizens otherwise have no thought but to love.
Guilt’s Time-bound Role
Guilt is a wasted emotion unless it’s facilitating the movement of a soul toward repentance — the process that finds, through restitution, a making of amends toward healing. It has a role, finite as it is.
Love — rightly apportioned — is the one that wheels in this great purpose-promoted use of guilt. Guilt is accessed because love has been transgressed. Love’s therefore the one that brings a person to account via their situational guilt.
Honesty’s the catalyst employing guilt, making a facilitative contract with the truth. God wants the truth adhered to; moments after there’s forgiveness. Grace never withholds healing. We own the guilt and then we’re healed.
That’s guilt’s role in sum. It has no right to bring us back to reconciled issues.
Recovering from Guilt – Promoting the Generous Spirit
We need to brainwash ourselves toward generosity — restraining our guilt — to restore the empathic balance we all feel at the will of injustice.
Put plainly, we outweigh the typical fears we have — manifest as they are in guilt — with the positives of action, and this inspired by empathy and compassion.
Generosity cannot be seen unless it’s action-oriented.
Whenever we feel like guilt is restoring its grip on us, we can immediately resist it through the grace-felt utterance of generous action — a heart for the lost.
Think of those around us. Anyone who’s ‘dealing with life’ has our empathy — our compassion is shared with them in meaningful ways. A plan’s devised and executed. God blesses us, and this inspires more generous action.
The Spirit of God has us never listening to the lies of the devil — guilt is his forte; a bilingual portion with shame.
Above all, love is known via action (for instance, generosity) but fear is known by inaction. The world needs love — and the reach of God — continually, because there’s too much fear.
But fear is beaten with love (1 John 4:18) and positives and action always outweigh negatives and inaction. Side with generosity, not guilt.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.
Graphic Credit: Trevin Wax.