Tuesday Tuneup 74

Q. What’s going on inside?

A. Sorrow.

Q. Sorrow over what?

A. Past behavior of mine.

Q. Isn’t it past?

A. Evidently not.

Q. How so?

A. I wouldn’t be so cocky if I weren’t in such denial.

Q. What’s that supposed to mean?

A. I have been denying that my misfortunes down in California had a whole lot to do with me.

Q. But doesn’t stuff just happen that’s beyond your control?

A. Sure it does.  People get deadly diseases.  They get hit by cars.  None of that is their own doing.

Q. But didn’t you have some kind of mental health breakdown in 2004?

A. I harp on that — and yes I did.  But still, lots of stuff that happened, especially in terms of valued friends rejecting me, was entirely my doing.

Q. How so?

A. I found some emails I sent to some of my friends in 2015 when I was homeless.  They were pretty vitriolic, downright hateful, accusational.  I was accusing everybody of being uncompassionate.  There were expletives involved.  So it’s no wonder they all fled from me.  Nobody wants to deal with that.

Q. But weren’t the circumstances that led to those angry emails really beyond your control?

A. The circumstances were.  But a lot of us were experiencing those same circumstances.  How many of us sent angry emails to our friends and family members?

Q. I don’t know – how many of you did?

A. I don’t know either.  But they couldn’t have been as bad as the ones I sent.

Q. Why not?

A. Probably because I type about 120 wpm and so my emails were longer as well as angrier.  My anger was more detailed.

Q. But you don’t send those kinds of emails to people now, do you?

A. I’m not homeless.  I have no reason to.  

Q. Can’t you just be thankful for that and move on?

A. Probably, eventually. This doesn’t seem like the kind of guilt that will destroy me.

Q. Is there any kind of guilt that doesn’t destroy people?

A. Yes, there is.   There’s the kind of guilt you get when you realize that you’ve done something wrong.  It makes you want to never do it again.  

Q. So your sorrow is actually a good thing?

A. Yes it is.  It brings me closer to my God, rather than further away.   In the Bible, in 2 Corinthians 5:17, this is called “godly sorrow.”  It’s the kind of sorrow that leads to a change of heart — and it is not to be regretted.  But the other kind of sorrow, that contains the other kind of guilt, is called the “sorrow of this world.”  It leads to despair, and ultimately, to death.  It’s best I mourn the death of my former self, and proceed with the Self that’s New.  

The Questioner is silent.  

Growing Up In The Word : A Contrite Heart

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4 thoughts on “Tuesday Tuneup 74

  1. Hello A.P, has this been written from your own experience?

    I believe if one genuinely repents past actions that weren’t kind and thoughtful towards others, asks for forgiveness from God, and makes sure this is accompanied by changed behaviour, the guilt feeling slowly fades away. No one is perfect. Everybody sins. We just sin differently. But God is merciful.

    So let go of past mistakes. Learn. Grow.

    Take care.


    • It’s written from my own experience, yes Little Mermaid. And while I agree with you, I think you might have missed my point. St. Paul says in the same passages that “godly sorrow” is a guilt that lasts “only for a season.” I’m certainly not saying that one should remain in guilt over past wrongdoing forever. But if someone becomes AWARE of sin and does NOT feel guilty, all it means is that their heart is hardened. The godly sorrow that leads to repentance is not to be regretted. It won’t last forever.

      In other words, if a person doesn’t feel guilty after REALIZING they’ve done something wrong, they’ll never get to the point where they DO repent and ask His forgiveness. David in Psalm 51 is a perfect example of this. Nathan had informed him that HE was the man in the story told, the man worthy of death in the eyes of God. When David realized this, he got on his knees and said: “Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me.” In the renewal of that right spirit, there is no further guilt.


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