the surprising connection between guilt and grief

If something is surprising, then that can be startling. Attention can be suddenly attracted to focus on some new development.



If the new development is quickly recognized as familiar and safe, then it would not be frightening. It might seem unremarkable or perhaps interesting, or, if something is evaluated as a possible threat, then it could be called frightening.



Guilty Viewing Pleasures: Fear

Guilty Viewing Pleasures: Fear (Photo credit: ikrichter)



If I am so frightened that I am scared to show the fear, then that can be called paralyzing. I can be paranoid of revealing my fear. Rather than flee or fight or otherwise make some new action, I can freeze. I can just stop.



In that anxious state, I can call that feeling guilty, which still just means afraid of showing fear. If I am not afraid of some consequence, then I do not feel guilty. The imagined consequence could be eternal damnation or just pain or loss.



guilt (Photo credit: neonihil)


The feeling of guilt is the same as regret or sorrow: “I’m very sorry! This really should not be how it is. I should have done more or done better.” Sorrow is just another form of the fear of fear itself- the avoidance of some imagined consequence that repels us. We may be concerned about a future that we resist, which is also sorrow or grief: “here is what I really do not want to have happen, what we need to avoid. I really need to stay focused on not focusing on that.”



Samantha talks with her bridesmaids

Samantha talks with her bridesmaids (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



That is also frightened and worrying. A specific possible future is focused on and then we give some energy to an attempt to avoid that future, to prevent it, and also to preserve and promote what we prefer instead. We grieve because of our guilty fear of exposing any fear: “I wish it was not like this, but it is!”



In that activity of grieving, we may focus on some target of animosity and blame. Who prevents what we favor? Who fails to support us how we imagine that we would prefer? Who is the problem? Are we jealous of the results that someone else has? Are we vindictive and antagonistic and contemptuous and resentful?



What if we withdraw our own condemnation of our fear? What if we relax from the desperate apologizing?  What if we open to experiencing fear (repulsion)? What if we do not repress repulsion, but just notice it?







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2 Responses to “the surprising connection between guilt and grief”

  1. lljostes Says:

    “perfect love casts out all fear” In Christ we have perfect love and full pardon of our guilt. What relief!!

    • jrfibonacci Says:

      Thank you for your reply. For those who have the courage to explore these subjects with an open mind, there is a great reward, but there can also be a challenging of many imprecise ideals. That is why courage can be relevant.

      So, when there is no experience of ongoing regret, that is truly a great relief. That is complete freedom from all regret. For those who have not experienced that, they can learn of this and then experience hope for that eventual complete freedom from regret.

      However, when there is just hope that our ongoing sense of guilt and grief will eventually be less important to us than experiencing total forgiveness and repentance, that is merely purgatory. Relative to hell, that is only a small relief. Until there is total repentance from the condemning of the past, that is only close to the kingdom of heaven, not within it.

      Beware of stopping at mere hope and calling it faith. Faith is absolutely certain. There is no sense of relying on tradition or external approval.

      Jesus did not rely on tradition. He frequently quoted Isaiah only because the audience to whom he was speaking was respectful of Isaiah’s teaching even though they did not understand those teachings.

      Isaiah taught the same lesson of forgiveness, repentance, and liberation from guilt. One who knows what repentance is from personal experience does not rely on quotations, but can use them as relevant.

      God was not made omnipotent at a certain date in history. God has always had power over regret and still does.

      So, the fullness of the blessings are available now, just as they were even in the days of Isaiah and Abraham and Moses and so on. Redemption was not invented only a few thousands years ago “when God was given power over regret.” That is a silly idea, even if it is rather popular. The teachings about redemption have been repeated across history to clarify the simplicity of the teaching for this reason: because over time there can be a loss of the prior authenticity and precision among many groups.

      So, hope is valuable. However, the one who also repents then experiences faith in addition to hope, for faith is the “fruit” of experiencing the perfect love of Christ.

      The argumentativeness and even arrogance of many with mere hope is clear. They sincerely argue with each other- sometimes very passionately and desperately- and may feel animosity, all because of a fear of regret. They are not free of regret. They are still trying to avoid it. They are still dominated by it.

      As Isaiah said (and Jesus frequently quoted), they repeat their hopeful words with their lips but do not know the fullness of the lesson in their hearts. “Repent- by admitting that you have been so frightened that you have condemned others and then be as humble as a little child and release that condemnation- and thus you will come to liberation. There is no other way to liberation. The way is straight and narrow. Beware of being distracted by idolatrous traditions that worship the details of their tradition and neglect liberation.”

      By the way, I paraphrased chapter 7 of Mark several times above (among other New Testament scriptures), in case you are interested in studying some of the translations of these teachings that may be more familiar to you. If you are sincerely interested in an open-minded dialogue, then you are welcome to reply. May you know for yourself the complete liberation of the great courage, the great humility, the great repentance, the great relief, and the great peace.

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