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Eric’s Sunday Sermon; Guilt

Updated on September 15, 2019
Ericdierker profile image

A life long pursuit and the results. Doctorates and experience sometimes do not mean much. Just listening is my expertise.

Kind of Cool

Sorry I cannot remember if SF or DC.
Sorry I cannot remember if SF or DC. | Source

For the Love of Guilt

Guilt should be spelled “gilt” so it could formally be a four letter word. It would seem we could say that guilt is an absence of love. Yes guilt is a denial of loving ourselves. Bearing the guilt of our fathers? Really? I think there might even be guilt therapists.

Anyhow let us check out the pros and cons of guilt and how to deal with it and view it. Now the last thing we need is someone feeling guilty about feeling guilt. And of course we should take a look from the legal concept of guilty. Let us just say that guilt is really interesting. Oh and let us take some guilty pleasure. LoL.

Perhaps we could come up with a definition of guilt that most could accept. It is of note that there are different definitions from different places. It is also of note that many don’t even include the notion of guilt as an emotion or state of mental unrest. Almost all start off with the legal concept. Now come on people that is nonsense. The clear leader in usage is about our feeling of guilt. Now the second is not even guilt but guilty like a criminal. Synonyms do little justice to guilt.

I do my darndest yet sometimes fail at using guilt on my children. Funny about that but sometimes they make me feel guilty because they felt guilty because of what I said or did. I tell you now that guilt is one sneaky and omnipresent deal. Even writing this sermon about it gets all slivery like a serpent.

Perhaps we should then but the concepts into some format so we will try to break down into areas. Let’s try to do it this way; psychologically, legally, biblically and then try to figure out a cure.

Most assuredly all these dovetail into each other because, what the heck, it is the same word. Although in this instance I will coin a new term “morphing word”. “hit” is kind of like this. It has so many different usages that it must drive an ESL mad yet they all derive from one notion.


Who's Rules?

I wonder who gets to make up the rules of guilt.
I wonder who gets to make up the rules of guilt. | Source

You Are So Guilty!

Psychology is really cool in this area. Perception is the key. Real or imagined. Yes more often than not the guilt derives from non-reality. Now our mind is a trip. It can play wild games with our heart. Have you ever loved someone and wanted them to love you so you unconsciously create a reality that they love you back. I will think I was fifty before I realize I have imaginary thoughts that affect me hard core. (I am sorry but I think that “effect” and “affect” morph into each other they more often than not mean the same thing yet critics always deny that and all prissy if you use the “wrong”) Sorry I digressed but you can see it was for a reason.

Well we will be gaul darned but guilt is a totally made up emotion. “She made me mad when she spoke like that”. Now that is understandable. “He laid a guilt trip on me”. The slight nuance there is important in psychology. A difference between shame and guilt – ugly twins is interesting here. A guilt trip is intention manipulation of another. 90% of the time we do something that makes one sad or mad but that is not our goal. The other % is reserved for psychos. Although I admit to being one. Get a witness on the stand to get all angry or weepy and you own them go figure, trial lawyers. All that is the psychology of the matter. Pyschologists cure this by using a method I call “self speak”. Our little brain talks us into guilty, and that same brain can march us right out. That is so cool. “I ‘should’ feel guilty.” Into “Eric you have nothing to feel guilty about”. It does not mean an end to feeling or self assessment. It just reframes the issue. There is an old saying about debate of any kind; He who defines the issue wins. So our shrinks teach us much here. I can choose not to be guilty. That excites this old man.

Legal. “Every man is innocent until proven guilty yet no man is innocent”. (OK I admit that one is mine, how shameful ;-) I just love the term “proven guilty”. And check out the test for that here in the U.S.. “Beyond a reasonable doubt”. That is cray cray. Back to psychology. You cannot tell me my doubt is not reasonable, it is to me. The notion that the facts make one guilty ends up being a bunch of hogwash. The legal world should change that term. It should just be “convicted” by his peers. You can find wrong enough to convict me but you cannot make me guilty.

The arguments of self-defense and justification are awesome. I have never done a single thing without being justified in it. I have never hurt a person without it being self-defense, yet I am a guilty man, when I so chose.

Looking around and up the word guilt in legal beagle type definitions I found something strange. In law we say guilty and almost never guilt. And in Civil, lawsuits not determining criminality we say “liable”. But some brainless wonders actually publish that they are the same. But I say the distinction for a reason. I am liable for a wrong done to you. But I have no guilt about it. I just missed the mark. And that is not self-loathing. I pay the price and move on.

Who's Guilty?

"I did not eat your chocolate daddy". Guilt is so funny it will make you belly laugh.
"I did not eat your chocolate daddy". Guilt is so funny it will make you belly laugh. | Source

My Fav Orchestra


Biblical. Now just hold on a minute here. The Christian has a good job of doing her best to avoid sin. Sin would be like back to our legal or committing a crime. Deal with it. Repent you moron. But feel guilty about it and all you need do is truly repent. Repent generally means to turn around and walk the right path. Like Paul’s worrying, guilt helps you not. So you screwed up, you were designed that way. Get up and dust yourself off and do better. Ask for that forgiveness in earnest and receive it. You do not even deserve it but you get it.

Some folks talk about unpardonable sins like denying or cursing God. Get a life and read the bible. Peter was “guilty” of both. He did just fine and dandy. You go ahead and feel guilty, God does not convict anyone, not his court. He wants you to do better not punish you.

Check this out. Some Christian Sects, will not sit on a jury because only God can judge and man’s innocence or guilt. Well I hope they never walk down a Detroit back street when the guy in a hoody jumps out with a shiv and demands their wallet. I suggest they judge real quickly and toss out their wallet and run. Of course unless they are Jackie Chan.

Cure. Of course if you know me the answer is clear. Love. One good synonym for guilt is self-loathing. I used to do it. But admit it that makes no sense if you love yourself. If you loath your spouse get counseling toot sweat. If you loath yourself get it quicker. We are aware of guilt thank God. So we can get rid of it by loving ourselves enough not to write that script of guilt. And believe me, you can rewrite your book at any time. Now go lay on a guilt trip on your TV!


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    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      13 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Dora. "Reasonable" is a funny concept as is "doubt". Put them together and all you get is a big fat question mark.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      13 months ago from The Caribbean

      Eric, your commentary on "reasonable doubt" made me laugh. Many good scenarios in this article, and your conclusion on the matter is guilt is the wisest.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      13 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Good to hear Linda - I vote sound.

      I grapple with your notion. I think if we start out with children those children will, by nurture, become so influenced by others and I think I read that over fifty percent of us are co-dependent to a degree.

      But philosophically I full heartedly agree with you.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      13 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Eric, I'm back, safe and sound (well the former for sure and the latter I'll let you determine). I don't think someone can make you "feel guilty." It's something you make a conscious decision to do to yourself, but as no one can influence you having a good day or a bad day. The choice is yours.

      Isn't the answer always love (no matter what the question is)?

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      13 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hi Bill, I am behind also coach. We will get to it today. Hmm? I wonder if I don't feel guilty about it ;-)

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      13 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      I've some catching up to do, Eric, so I'll start here. I never thought of gilt in so many different ways, but one thing I get - "they make me feel guilty because they felt guilty because of what I said or did." My grandkids do it all the time. Great article, my friend!

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      13 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Lori there fur is so yucky moths live in it. They eat bugs and leaves, disgusting. But for some reason I just love that word.

      (no I have a life but I also have a 9 year old and sloths are cool)

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      13 months ago from Pacific Northwest

      I struggle with guilt at the mistakes I made with my children, and I have to give it back to God.

      I looked up sloths. One of the reasons they are slow is to protect them from predators. Predators usually aim for a moving target. Sloths camouflage themselves also. Another reason they are slow is that their toenails are so long it impedes their ability to get around. With all that said, I don't see a reason for their existence. haha

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      13 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Shaloo I think that you hit the only real redeeming factor of guilt. It nudges us to correct what might be causing it.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      13 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Nithya for you very true comment - for sure it is one of those easier said than done deals.

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 

      13 months ago from India

      Instead of feeling guilty, I try to forgive myself and ensure that I never repeat that mistake. Guilt trip is not going to help but we can make sure that the guilt helps us in making a better version of ourselves.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      13 months ago from Dubai

      A great sermon about guilt, it got me thinking about how difficult it is to forgive oneself. Guilt can make life miserable; it is best to forgive and move on though easier said than done.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      13 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Bill I was trying to think of a positive here but it boils down to anything guilt can do, love can do it better. I think Irvine Berlin wrote something like that.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      13 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I am intimately aware of guilt. I once carried it around like a worn-out lover.Today I carry it like a worn diary to remind me, occasionally,what happens when I stray from love.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      13 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Flourish a good friend of mine spent time in a "re-education camp" at the end of a war. Read that concentration camp. A good man. He made it through. And as I say a good friend now gone. He had no guilt for what he had done in the war. Though it was horrific and heroic. We spoke for hours about no regret and no guilt. We did what we must do.

      He gave me his daughters hand in marriage. Now on many years ago.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      13 months ago from USA

      This made me think of a corporate training session I was enrolled in with many many other employees. The organization was undergoing lots of change that hurt a lot of people. Rather than focusing on their responsibility and the impact on employees, the company chose to do training to “re-educate” people (guilt people) that if they were feeling mad, sad, or scared then it was because they CHOSE to feel that way. And thus they could choose to not feel that way in the face of all that was going on too. It was seriously messed up. Guilt can be a weapon.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      13 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Elijah wouldn't it be cool to live in such a state of Love that guilt would be totally foreign to us. It would be more like we were gods than human.

      I was considering today if we can make guilt our friend like fear and anxiety. Worthy of thought I say.

      Sorry guy but I no more believe in a "law" of Karma than I do a law of love.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      13 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ruby lay off my Jackie Chan - I consider him a comedian with body. hihihi. I am so busting out with gratitude that God does not make us feel guilty. Free will to do so. So you and me choose not to do so. How freeing is that? Lets try to make it guilt free for others this week.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      13 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Lori you always add so much. You are a treasure to life itself. I was feeling a little guilty lazing around in the heat today. Getting cooler so I worked my butt off on things. No better guilt relief than God but a close second is hard work.

      Personally I do baby guilt. Not what you would call Guilt in the big way. It motivates me. The only thing I have to be guilty about is sloth :-)

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      13 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thanks Pamela. We had a great day today. Well it was 102 but who is counting, it only felt 109. I just can't justify air conditioning for 15 days a year and it's travesty on my earth.

      I think we grow out of it. Still not sure on that. Perhaps giving kids a little guilt might be good for them ;-)

    • The0NatureBoy profile image

      Elijah A Alexander Jr 

      13 months ago from Washington DC

      I'v been looking for to understand guilt and guilty for some time, Eric, and wonder if I'm correct so I'll run it by you since you brought up the subject.

      When "guilt" end with "y" is tends to say "it was done" but when one say guilt without it does it mean I'm accused of something I didn't do? When someone say "laid a guilt trip on me" it seems to me someone want you to feel remorse about having done something THEY disapproved of although it may not have been the intent. My understanding the law of "karma" I feel if I did it has or shall be done back to me with me in the same body for me to feel the emotion they felt. That's my take on it on it and when one LOVE indifferently they did it but feel no remorse.

      You challenged me to speak out how I actually feel about those two words, my friend, You brought it out but I still don't know if I'm satisfied. Thanks for sharing it.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      13 months ago from Southern Illinois

      Jackie Chan, lol Guilt makes me sick. I have been there. When we ask God to forgive us, then still worry, we commit a sin. We are sinful because we are humans, although we try to do good. Your sermon is full of truth. God bless you for caring about your followers and friends.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      13 months ago from Pacific Northwest

      Guilt can eat you alive. If someone does something really big wrong, is sorry and repents that's great. But if you continue to beat yourself up you are drinking from a vat of poison. To not let it go is refusing God's gift of grace and pardon. That is not to say guilt from the past tries to rear its ugly head. But we are washed clean by the blood of Jesus. There are times we feel guilt because we are guilty. Repent as you said and move on trying with God's help to do better.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      13 months ago from Sunny Florida

      This is an interesting sermon about guilt, which I have dealt with from time to time. I don't have much guilt anymore as I think I have done the best I can in tough circumstances at times. I suppose I did use guilt on my boys at times trying to get them to behave. I agree that Peter is a good example. Very good sermon, Eric.


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