Monday, November 21, 2011

Guilt - in the wrong hands

Guilt is a divine tool which God uses very sparingly, and only in enough measure to bring the wanderer into His arms of love, into fellowship with Him.  Only He knows how.

In the wrong hands, it can be both a weapon and a highly addictive drug, for the use of guilt can turn someone's behavior to a desired result by the use of real or imagined punishment, and at the same time give the one who wields it such a heady sense of power that only one successful trip will plunge the user into guilt-trip addiction and leave the victims in emotional ruin again and again.  

The wrong hands, of course, are always human.   Humans were never meant to wield it.

Source (through Google Images):
It's just like humans to rip something out of the hands of the Maker that was designed for Him and Him alone to use - and wreak havoc and misery in others' lives by using it.  AND over-using it.  As a weapon.

Just because they can.  

A friend reminded me the other day that just because someone who wields power over another has the right to do a thing, doesn't mean that he or she should do that thing.  Applied to guilt, this becomes especially true.  

Yet millions of people do it.  

Parents use guilt on children; sometimes even children on parents.  It's all too common. Teachers use this dangerous tool when dealing with children; children with each other; supervisors with employees.  Ministers with parishoners - and vice versa - through thousands of years of church history.  Husbands and wives.  It happens all of the time.  

The tantalizing deception is that we use guilt because we care about people.  The truth is that at the heart of it, we only care about bending them to our will because it will make us feel better about who we are and the way we see the world.  We have taken on the role of God in that other person's life.  That is a burden that is so hard to bear that it can exhaust and crush the one who takes it upon him or herself.  And it has an eventual boomerang effect that will cause the people on whom we have used that weapon to resent us and harbour unforgiveness in their hearts toward us  ...  just as we resent and nurse grudges against those who have consistently taken us on guilt trips.  

The solution?  If guilt does not belong in human hands, it's time to let go of it and let it reside in the hands of the only One who is qualified to use it...for only He can use it with love and will not overdo it. It is high time that some of us Christians stopped trying to be the Holy Spirit.  We aren't.

Letting go of guilt is a two-edged sword.  We let go of the guilt others have placed upon us first; we grow in our confidence to know what we believe about ourselves - and from that place of strength, we can let go of our need to use guilt on other people.  It really is freeing to let go of it.  

And I can't begin to describe the miracles that can take place when we stop playing God with people and just let them be who they are so that God can be who He is.

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