Guilt is a negative emotion [works of the flesh] which also include agony, grief, and loneliness. This is one of the trickiest emotions because we are being able to feel guilty for situations that we feel are out of our control and may not have been our fault, [not knowing, forgetting or remembering but can do nothing about it], the Lord causing it all [Eph 1:11].
Gal 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
Gal 5:20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
Gal 5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Guilt comes in many different forms, it affects all of us is, was and will be but as the Lord increases and we decrease [John 3:30], we have less guilt, Lord willing, because we are being chastised to become obedient to God’s Word through Christ’s mercies.
Lam 3:31 For the Lord will not cast off for ever:
Lam 3:32 But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies.
Lam 3:33 For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.
Hos 2:19 And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies.
Guilt [emotions, part of the mixed multitudes within] serves a purpose, our souls being poured out, so Christ in us, the hope of Glory, is prospering in His Hand.
Isa 53:10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
Isa 53:11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
Some of us may feel guilty more often than others, while others may feel the emotion more strongly depending on our levels of maturity. Either or, there is no arguing that it is an unsettling feeling [a certain expectation of judgment] that has the potential to stay within us until the chastening grace of the Lord burns it out of us.
Heb 10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
Heb 10:27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
Heb 12:7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
Zec 12:10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
It is very important to remember, that we now define guilt and its subtypes as the world defines it to help us recognize it in our lives and in the lives of others so we can help each another. The focus of the study is not on the world’s definitions and carnal lies but instead is on Christ and His doctrines in order to overcome this emotion. Guilt is not of faith and what is not of faith is sin (Rom 14:23).
1Co 2:5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
So, what is guilt and are there different types of guilt?
What is Guilt?
The emotion of guilt, according to the world, can be formally defined as a cognitive emotion which occurs after one has committed an act that we feel was wrongfully done. However, since guilt is cognitively controlled [in your subconscious], it does not always have to be due to a physical action. It is also activated from our thoughts. To feel this emotion, is, in layman terms, to feel bad and sorrowful about a situation or something that was done or said. We know, as sons of God, that we feel guilty when our consciences towards Christ is not clear, being defiled, falling short of Christ’s Glory.
Heb 10:19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
Heb 10:20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
Heb 10:21 And having an high priest over the house of God;
Heb 10:22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
Tit 1:15 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.
Tit 1:16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
Different Types of Guilt
Like any other emotion, it has many subtypes. In this case, there are three main types of guilt.
Natural Guilt/ Deserved Guilt
Natural guilt is defined as guilt that occurs because of a specific underlying reason, that is known us. Natural guilt relates to our actions in the present time, the here and now. Natural guilt is painful, especially if there is serious damage involved. When, in any situation, we know to do to better and do not do it, a sense of failure is taking place.
Rom 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
Rom 7:15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
Rom 7:16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
Rom 7:17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
Rom 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
Rom 7:19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
Rom 7:20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
Natural guilt, like all the other negative emotions, i.e. works of the flesh, serves a functional purpose. The Lord cause trials so that these emotions are being made manifest in order for us to see ourselves for the beasts that we are, recognizing our beastly behavior and causing us to change course, so being saved if we endure.
Psa 73:22 So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee.
Psa 73:23 Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand.
Psa 73:24 Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.
Free Floating/Toxic Guilt
Toxic guilt is what happens when natural guilt festers. It manifests as a nagging feeling of pervasive but nonspecific badness, it arises from lingering patterns. That is why we have to count the cost quickly and put things right and not let it linger, Lord willing.
Luk 12:58 When thou goest with thine adversary to the magistrate, as thou art in the way, give diligence that thou mayest be delivered from him; lest he hale thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and the officer cast thee into prison.
Luk 12:59 I tell thee, thou shalt not depart thence, till thou hast paid the very last mite.
Free-floating guilt is like a nagging mother. This kind of guilt occurs at any time [hence the term free floating] because it is in our subconscious. In moments, one feels this sudden wrongful feeling due to an underlying situation that is still unsettled within us. Dealing with this type of guilt is difficult due to the fact that the cause of the emotion may be unknown. This type of guilt can be carried within us in two ways. One, although the situation happened some time ago, we still feel terrible about it, therefore the guilt remains. The other way is if we tend to be very anxious, we constantly feel overwhelmed and apologetic because we believe we are responsible whilst all the while the Lord is doing it all. Look who brought all evil upon Job.
Job 42:11 Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold.
Isa 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
How do we experience toxic guilt? First, it can simply be a miserable feeling that spontaneously come into consciousness at certain times, causing us to feel unworthy. Second, it can be triggered from outside circumstances. If we are carrying a toxic guilt backpack, it does not take much to activate it. Toxic guilt has its roots in early childhood, spiritually speaking, being young in the faith. Once we start maturing it becomes harder to continue in sin. Paul makes it clear that where sin abounds, grace much more abound. In other words, the more we sin, the more we are being disciplined.
Rom 5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
Rom 5:21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
Luk 12:47 And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.
Luk 12:48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
Existential guilt is different from the other categories of guilt because of the fact that it has a more political or social correctness. For instance, looking at commercials of dogs being abused and abandoned and not donating may make us feel a sense of guilt and sadness since we are not able to help the poor dogs. Getting involved in the affairs of the world is what we deal with here.
2Ti 2:3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
2Ti 2:4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
2Ti 2:5 And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.
Scriptures teach to find our treasures in Christ and His Christ.
Pro 8:21 That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.
Pro 8:22 The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.
Pro 8:23 I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.
This type of emotion happens when we do not do something we were told to do many years ago [spiritually speaking when we are young in the faith]. For example, there is a Scripture that tells us to give to everyone asking of us [Matt 5:42] and when we do not do that, we have borrowed guilt. Now that we are being matured in Christ, we know that the sum of His Word is Truth [Ps 119:160 YLT] and we discern the situations as Christ is causing us to do. In some instances, we may not give to all those asking of us because no verse is of its own private interpretation and there are other reasons why we may not give to everyone asking of us discerning the situation.
2Pe 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
2Pe 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
This derives from a self-imposed action that remained unfinished, but our sense of responsibility turns into guilting ourselves for the unfinished job. For example, look at this parable and see the self-generated guilt of the one son and the action of the other son, they both miss the mark of the high calling in Christ.
Mat 21:28 But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work today in my vineyard.
Mat 21:29 He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.
Mat 21:30 And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.
Mat 21:31 Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.
Mat 21:32 For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.
It comes from the belief that we should have known how to prevent something that in reality we had no way of knowing. Or same goes, for having the belief that the situation had to be managed a different way etc. This can be the heaviest type of guilt since it not only provides negative feelings but it also a sense of hopelessness. When this happens, we still believe in free will forgetting that the Lord causes everything and we bring nothing to the table.
Pro 16:1 The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.
Pro 16:9 A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.
Pro 16:33 The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.
How does Guilt affect Us?
This negative emotion, like all negative emotions, become detrimental to our physical and spiritual bodies [our souls]. It makes us spiritually sick and puts us into the bondage of that Great Harlot, Mystery Babylon [the state of disobedience]. The heavy yoke of being burdened by guilt compares to feelings of heaviness, with a yoke around our necks, and this is being compared like carrying around extra baggage in the physical. All of humanity suffers guilt.
Jer 28:14 For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; I have put a yoke of iron upon the neck of all these nations, that they may serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and they shall serve him: and I have given him the beasts of the field also.
The Lord will and is saving us from the works of the flesh for there is an end expectation, Lord willing.
Lam 3:26 It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.
Lam 3:27 It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.
Lam 3:28 He sitteth alone and keepeth silence, because he hath borne it upon him.
Lam 3:29 He putteth his mouth in the dust; if so be there may be hope.
Lam 3:30 He giveth his cheek to him that smiteth him: he is filled full with reproach.
Lam 3:31 For the Lord will not cast off for ever:
How to Overcome Guilt
Here are a few things we can do if the Lord permits:
Understanding where guilt is coming from and the Truth of Christ’s doctrines and Words, is what helps us to overcome this negative feeling. The Lord causes trials, which manifest emotions [like guilt] to be judged and burned out of us in our Day of the Lord. The kingdom of the beast within us is destroyed and the faithful remains.
Amo 9:8 Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are upon the sinful kingdom [within us], and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob [the Lord is refining us], saith the LORD.
Examining ourselves to see if we are in the truth.
2Co 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
Repenting of our evil thoughts within. The lies within makes us sick.
Mar 6:12 And they went out, and preached that men should repent.
Mar 6:13 And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.
Forgiving ourselves and others, loving as Christ loves us.
Joh 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
Joh 15:8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
Joh 15:9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
Reflecting on similar situations in order for this feeling not to happen again. We have to accept what has happened and move on Lord willing. Throughout the acceptance process, it is important to remember that we are being perfected and we fall down seven times in this fiery process. This process is a learning experience, the revelation of Christ, within us, the Mystery hidden from the foundation of the world.
Psa 25:14 The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.
Meditation on the Word of God and mindful activities, careful to maintain good works, washes us and makes us proactive. We have this gift [of faith] in earthen vessels.
1Ti 4:14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
1Ti 4:15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
1Ti 4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
Praying, the way we lead our lives put the adversaries to shame within and without.
1Jn 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love
Thankfulness because we are being saved via the process.
Psa 100:3 Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Psa 100:4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
Psa 100:5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
Seeking counsel on this journey of acceptance. The Lord dwells in His people.
Psa 33:11 The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.
Forgetting what is behind. Every day is a new day.
Php 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
Taking thoughts captive.
Isa 52:2 Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion.
2Co 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Striving against evil.
Jas 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Psa 34:13 Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.
We are being made into gods [Ps 82:6], so we have to recognize, it is the Light of God’s love, which is Christ and His Christ, that illuminates our hearts. The works of the flesh are being changed into the fruit of the Spirit and so all are being saved in its time and order. Look within first. There is Hope in Christ and His Christ!
Gal 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
Gal 5:2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.
Gal 5:3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
Gal 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
Gal 5:5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
Gal 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.