Sunday, October 24, 2010

Many types of guilt

I have been thinking about “guilt” for a while now and struggling with my response as an activist to various forms of guilt.  I want to make up for it or fix it but I don’t want to bash others with it.  But is it even helpful for me to think about it this way …

Guilt is a useful emotion when it points out what you personally have done and then you can make amends and seek forgiveness.

Here are some other type of guilt by comparison that have caused me trouble:

Survivor guilt:
Is that felt by some who is better off than another following a trauma.  So for us right now if we compare to anything; from Haiti to people who need to rebuild and have huge mortgages, we feel bad about our own better circumstances.  But what good is that if we just feel bad about our own needs that are real too.  If we have something in our power and boundaries to help then lets do it.

Post –colonial guilt:
This may be felt when we look at our history as a nation and wish it had been done differently

Post –evangelical guilt:
I feel this when I wish I had been a gentler evangelical and while I am glad to move on it’s been a big chunk of my life.  I must be getting old as I now look back even further I have post-liberal guilt too!!

Comparison –guilt
As general term I think this occurs when we look at someone’s situation and want to rescue them.  Where is the line between sacrifice and giving verses letting consequences fall where they lie. 

This is all just mulling arounds of mine so please don’t take it as gospel – you could try this ….
Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
(from letter to the Hebrews 10:22-23)  


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