REAL POWER: MAXING OUT ON GOD'S LOVE
GUILT - HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCE - HANDLE WITH
Guilt is a hazardous substance, and
you must handle it with care.
Nearly everyone has been exposed to
the debilitating effects of guilt. People often attempt to use it to
motivate others to change in a positive direction. Unfortunately,
guilt rarely transforms lives in a positive direction, and usually it
has the opposite effect.
People overwhelmed by guilt suffer
from low self-esteem, and guilt places them in a non-resourceful
state. There is a great risk that the debilitating effects of guilt
will make positive change more difficult.
Guilt is relatively ineffective as a
motivator for positive change. It falls more into the realm of
punishment you deal out to others or to yourself.
When guilt is repeatedly applied to
an individual, he quickly becomes immune to its application. Each new
dose of guilt is less effective in moving behavior in the desired
Guilt has a tendency to immobilize
people into a state of inertia. They tend to wallow in it and spend
time punishing themselves for their mistakes.
DONíT PUNISH YOURSELF WITH GUILT
Punishing yourself with guilt wonít
make up for your mistakes. If you want to make up for the things you
have done wrong, do something positive to help those in need. Donít
waste your time and energy in a masochistic guilt ritual. It wonít
make the world a better place or help other people. It wonít make
your life better or fix the problem that caused the guilt in the first
GUILT HAS THE WRONG FOCUS
Guilt has the wrong focus. It
focuses on your weaknesses and past undesirable behavior. Whatever
you focus on expands into your mind and life. When you make other
people feel guilty, you arenít helping them. You are focusing them on
the wrong thing. You are giving them an unhealthy focus that
predisposes them to repetition of undesirable behavior.
GUILT UNLEASHES INCREDIBLY LIMITING
The word guilt is actually an
acronym. Guilt Unleashes Incredibly Limiting
Thoughts. When you feel guilty, inertia takes over, and
limitations multiply like jackrabbits in the outback of Australia.
Guilt would be great if it made you
stronger. If it supercharged your life and turned on your
afterburners, then guilt would be your best friend. Unfortunately,
guilt does the opposite. It makes you weaker, puts sand in your
supercharger, and snuffs out your afterburner. When guilt has
completed its dastardly deed, it recites a litany of limitations just
to remind you that you are a worthless human being, and there is no
chance your life will ever improve. In fact, there is no limit to how
miserable your life can become when guilt is in control.
GUILT IS A NON-RESOURCEFUL STATE
Guilt is a non-resourceful state.
Your best chance for creating positive change occurs when you are in
an empowered state, and you feel like change is possible. It doesnít
make sense to load yourself up with guilt, which places you in a
non-resourceful state, and then expect all your problems to magically
Guilt initiates a downward spiral of
low self-esteem, undesirable behavior, more guilt, lower self-esteem,
and worse behavior. The downward spiral ends in despair, depression,
USE GUILT SPARINGLY
Donít punish yourself with guilt.
Instead, use it sparingly as an alarm to tell you when there is a
problem. If you discover a problem, solve it. Donít waste your time
and energy feeling guilty about it.
Donít put guilt in your travel bags.
Lugging around a burden of guilt is wasting energy that could be spent
in making the world a better place. You will never break the back of
negative thinking by punishing yourself with guilt.
TEST GUILT WITH A WATCH AND
Healthy guilt is time-limited and
proportional to the offense. When you break the laws that govern the
moral universe, you should feel guilty. God put the capacity for
guilt in your heart as an alarm to prevent you from making tragic
mistakes. God designed guilt to help you stay on course as you move
in the direction of your dreams. He didnít mean for guilt to be
punishment or to be an instrument of self-destruction.
Guilt is unhealthy when itís not
time-limited and itís out of proportion to the magnitude of the
offense. Depression often has a strong component of guilt. People
who feel guilty need to look at their watch and get out their
calculator to see if their guilt passes the test. If they have an
all-pervading sense of guilt that goes on endlessly, their guilt is
unhealthy. If they stub their toe on moral molehills and end up with a
mountain of guilt, then their guilt is clearly out of proportion to
their offenses. They need professional help to restore wholeness to
their heart and mind.
People overwhelmed by guilt need the
assistance of competent counselors who help them regain a positive
perspective and put guilt in its proper place. Guilty people often
try to treat themselves, and too often, they fail in their attempt at
self-help. Guilt is a condition that truly benefits from a second
opinion by an objective third party. Good physicians get second
opinions all the time, and they are glad to get them. If you are
having a problem with guilt, a second opinion will probably turn your
Whenever you feel guilty, your watch
and calculator can be your best friends. If your guilt doesnít pass
the watch and calculator test, then itís time for a second opinion.
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