Dealing with guilt

… is something that I have trouble with. I tend to replay the unhappy events and mistakes in my mind over and over and morally punish myself.

But there is a better way.

The cure was given around 2000 years ago by our planet’s Master and Saviour Jesus Christ.

The Gospel is the treatment for all our infirmities.

Dealing with guilt by Artur Valadares

Once again, Artur Valadares brings us precious reflections on this topic in this youtube video:

Dealing with guilt (Portuguese)

The duty of our conscience tells us to forgive, to overcome bitterness, to develop humility and charity.

When we do not fulfill our duty, it creates disharmony within ourselves, as well as in our surroundings.

Trying to escape our duty creates suffering. Suffering is a warning sign telling us that we are doing something wrong. The function of the pain is to prevent us from continuing down an erroneous path, before the consequences of our behaviour gets even worse along the way.

Guilt freezes the energy that is meant to be used for our moral progress. It is important not to feed guilt.

When we make mistakes, let’s look back, not to feel bad about it, but to learn the lesson and act better from now on and not make the same mistake again.

In order to do this, we need to watch and pray. Adjust the sintony every moment of the day. Not leaving any space for bad thoughts.

Guilt needs to be replaced by a sense of responsibility. Getting up to practice charity, working to repair the damage that we caused.

How long do we suffer from our wrongdoings?

1004. What decides the duration of the sufferings of the guilty?

“The length of time required for his amelioration. A spirit’s state of suffering or of happiness
being proportioned to the degree of his purification, the duration of his sufferings, as well as
their nature, depends on the time it takes him to become better. In proportion as he
progresses, and his sentiments become purified, his sufferings diminish and change their
nature.”
Allan Kardec, The Book of Spirits, item 1004

It depends on the time it takes us to become better. We can either lay down and crumble under the weight of guilt, or we can get up, work to repair, practice charity, work on our inner moral transformation.

Guilt complex

With a guilt complex, we sometimes think we need to punish ourselves.

Knowing that God is the infinite love, what do you think he prefers?

  • that we punish ourselves?
  • or that we get up and initiate the process of reparation, trusting in the divine love and mercy?

Also, when we punish ourselves, it’s as if we are bargaining: “Look, I’m punishing myself! No need for you to punish me!”. As if your justice was better than God’s…

Parable of the prodigal son

This parable is a marvelous lesson. Did the father ever condemn his son? No. He waited patiently for him to come back and welcomed him with open arms, running to greet him! And threw a big party for him!

How can we not expect infinitely more from God!

Sublime examples of overcoming guilt

Paul: the famous meeting with Damas before the gates of Damascus. Instead of breaking down with guilt, he asked: “Lord, what do you want me to do?”. And from that moment on, he worked tirelessly with total dedication for Jesus and charity.

Peter: after negating Jesus three times, did Jesus blame him for doing so? No, he gave him three opportunities of recovering by asking him three times: “Peter, do you love me?”. Three mistakes and three new chances.

Perfect love

Perfect love does not judge. Perfect love is unconditional. There is absolutely nothing we can do to make God love us any less. God’s love is infinite and perfect.

So, let’s love! Let’s remove the barriers that prevent us from from feeling God’s infinite love that irradiates and fills the whole universe!

Changing

Much pain in our lives comes from us resisting changes. Resisting doing what we know we should do.

Let’s learn from our past, focusing on the goal: God’s project for the ultimate happiness, for everyone of us!

Why?

Why do we stay in the prison of guilt, when the doors always were, and always will be, open?

So next time I feel tempted to feel bad about a past mistake, I’ll think about God’s love and the parable of the prodigal son.

Jesus gives us all the courage to get up, work, repair and improve. All the tools are our hands. The cure is the Gospel.