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Good or bad guilt?

Are there different kinds of guilt? 

Can there be good and bad guilt? 

Most everyone agrees we experience Guilt when we Hurt or damage someone in some way and are called out (or call ourselves out) on it.

But how do we respond when this happens? 

I would suggest guilt is guilt i.e. guilt is real and we are either guilty or we are not. The question is how do we respond to our guilt. 

It's not that there is good or bad guilt per se but rather a Constructive (good) response or a destructive (bad) one.

Destructive response

We beat ourselves up (shame ourselves) over it and often minimize (downplay) the hurt we caused someone in order to relieve our guilt and shame i.e. we attempt to defend our actions.

We immediately acknowledge the hurt we caused, ask forgiveness and seek to restore the injured party whenever possible, as quickly as possible.

"Now I am happy, not because you were made sad, but because your sorrow made you decide to change (constructive). That is what God wanted, so you were not hurt by us in any way.

The kind of sorrow God wants makes people decide to change their lives. This leads them to salvation (constructive), and we cannot be sorry for that. But the kind of sorrow the world has will bring death (destructive).2Co 7:9-10

How do we "do" good guilt and not bad? 

It's a matter of the heart. When we are secure in God's love and know all our guilt and shame before God is already fully taken care of (satisfied, removed) we are free to more clearly see and admit the hurt we cause others and no longer seek or attempt to ease our own sense of hurt/failure. 

This is not something we try to do it is something that simply happens when we fully recognize and know who we are in Christ i.e. fully loved, forgiven and accepted.

For a child of God, the question isn't if we are ever guilty of hurting others. We are all guilty of offenses and all of us are also offended. The only question is how we address that guilt; in a constructive or destructive way. Because of Christ it can always be constructive if we receive and believe his offer.

For more on God's remedy for offenses click here.

This post first appeared on Thoughts About God, please read the originial post: here

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Good or bad guilt?


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