Christian Counseling Must Utilize The True End of Guilt Which Is Contrition
The sting of guilt can drive one to many roads. Christian Counselors want to ensure that guilt drives one to remorse in a healthy spiritual way. Too many times, guilt can drive one to the extremes of depression or suicide. One merely needs to remember the sin of Judas and how guilt instead of bringing him back to Christ, misled him to despair. Christian Counseling must always be alert adverse reactions to guilt.
Guilt is a good thing, at least initially. Guilt is a natural reaction within a certain and well formed conscience. Unlike doubtful or even ill formed consciences which guide the sinner away from guilt, a healthy conscience understands the nature of an evil action. This type of conscience will constantly whisper into the inner soul of the sinner, reminding him of his offense. Unable to escape the all present voice of truth, the sinner eventually faces his guilt with remorse and contrition. This of course is the healthy and intended way by Our Lord to handle sin. Guilt leads to contrition.
However, as noted above, sometimes guilt can lead to suicide or despair. This is not the intention of guilt but a distortion of it by Satan. The prince of lies will utilize a mechanism that is meant to bring one closer to God and sabotage it. The sinner then instead of seeking repentance will find despair or grow so weary from the constant guilt, that he will run away and flee this emotion. The sinner will then find solace in false doctrines of indifferentism or attempt to justify one’s sin.
The inner conflict of guilt will drive some to conclude that such “actions” are incompatible with modern society or that such actions are not really that sinful. Such false reactions to guilt will in turn damaage the well serving conscience. As time continues, the conscience itself will become distorted as the habitual sinful act continues. No longer will the conscience diligently guard the soul from vice but will become lax. Too many times we see modern psychology consider such inner conflict to be pathological–the moral conscience torn between an immoral act. This is merely the battle that wages within the soul to conform to Christ, or the world!
Christian Counselors must also guard against the reaction of despair or the sin of Judas. Some will not fall into the trap of indifferentism or escapism but Satan will guide them down the path of despair or unworthiness. The person will become so tormented by the act committed that he or she will attempt to run from God in shame. While not everyone will commit suicide, many will feel unworthy to pray or face God. As one hides from the grace of God, they become spiritually lax. Think how ironic it truly is that a soul that is sick to avoid its medication? Instead of finding a cure, the soul instead becomes even more gravely ill and eventually could face spiritual death.
Hence, Christian Counseling must foster the use of guilt to help others find true remorse and contrition and to help the penitent avoid the traps of the devil who will misuse guilt to gain souls for himself.
If you would like to learn how to become certified in Christian Counseling, then please review the program. The process in learning how to become certified in Christian Counseling is a simple one that involves taking the core courses before certification.
Mark Moran, MA