So, I was teasing my roommate–for reasons that do not concern you–and at some point, I was threatening to guilt her into doing something (that once again, does not concern you).
So I pointed at her and said “Guilt! Guilt! Guilt!” (Notice, I did not claim that this would make sense. You read everything I write at your own risk.)
And she said, “Guilt? Qué es guilt?” (Translated: ‘Guilt’? What is ‘guilt’?)
And we laughed. Of course, though, I started thinking. I do that a lot…
I am the kind of person who feels guilty about nigh unto everything. It actually stems from my pride and need for control, because I should be able to fix things, to foresee them happening and stop them. It sometimes makes me physically ill, because I worry and stress about things both within and without my control.
I’m writing this post and listening to music, and the shuffle just went to a song that I feel merits sharing.
It’s by Michael Card, from his album Luke: A World Turned Upside Down.
It’s called Freedom.
The lyrics that caught my attention:
“I am lost and I am bound
And I am captive to the shame that keeps holding me down.
And all I need to be found
I suggest you go listen to it before continuing. Yes, buy the album if need be.
Returning to my earlier stream of thought:
I often am consumed by guilt. And the worst part of it is, I’m not remembering everything that I should feel guilty for.
There is so much guilt. It crushes. It hurts. I sometimes wonder why anyone would even want to be my friend, because I’m such a wretched person. I am captive to this weight of guilt and shame that I deserve entirely.
And even though I know that Christ has delivered me and I am no longer condemned, I can’t escape it. And then I feel guilty for being focused on myself, my sin and guilt, and not on Christ and others. And the cycle continues.
Later on, Card’s song continues:
“I am trapped inside a cage I’ve made of hopelessly trying.”
I really, really, can’t do anything about this. People tell me, “Focus on Christ.” This is not helpful. This just adds another layer of guilt.
So I pray, and pray, and then there are days when I do focus on Christ and on others, but it’s not because I do that by my own power. Good friends help with it, and wise teachers, but in the end I truly do need Christ’s help to escape from my self-strengthened prison of guilt.
The song ends:
“A gentle voice I can’t evade
Speaks in the darkness of the heart and whispers, ‘Do not be afraid.
You can be free. The price was paid
For your freedom.’
From the darkness of the night
From desolation to delight
The chains are broken
The door is open
He is your freedom.”
Guilt? Qué es guilt? How is it that I feel it when it is no more in Christ?
Lord, pull me out of this prison I’ve put myself in without your permission or orders.