Understanding Guilt pt. 2

SUBJECTIVE GUILT

This is the uncomfortable feeling of regret, remorse, shame, and self-condemnation that often comes when we have done or thought something that we feel is wrong, or failed to do something that should have been done. Often there is discouragement, anxiety, fear of punishment or rejection, self-condemnation, and a sense of isolation, all tied together as part of the guilt feeling.

They can stimulate us to change our behavior and seek forgiveness from God or from other human beings. But guilt feelings also can be destructive, inhibitory influences that make life miserable.

TYPES OF SUBJECTIVE GUILT FEELINGS

Appropriate Guilt Feelings: This is present when we have broken a law, disobey biblical teachings, or violated the dictates of our conscience and feel remorse in proportion to the seriousness of the act.

Inappropriate Guilt Feelings: These are out of proportion to the seriousness of the act.

All these show that guilt is pervasive and complex experience. It is important to always distinguish between objective and subjective guilt.

BIBLICAL TEACHING ABOUT GUILT

The Bible describes guilt in subjective terms. It is always refers to theological guilt. A person is guilty when he or she has broken God’s law. Biblical guilt and sin are often discussed together.

Biblical Examples

DAVID: Psalm 32

DAVID: Psalm 51

PAUL: Romans 7:18-25

HOW BELIEVERS SHOULD DEAL WITH SUBJECTIVE GUILT FEELING

It is true that the believer has no reason to have guilt feelings because Christ has paid for and forgiven our sins. Even so, we continue with mental self-punishment, dwelling on the guilt we feel over our sins or other actions.

We must not intentionally arouse guilt feeling in others in order to force them to change behaviours, prevent them from being proud, protect them from future sin, stimulate Christian growth or stimulate financial contribution. Unfortunately many teachers, parents, coaches and preachers do these.

Written by Dr. Godwin Ude

Understanding Guilt pt. 1

Guilt can be an emotionally painful experience, and it comes up repeatedly in counseling. People who are depressed, lonely, grieving, members of violent families, sexual immoral or abused person, alcoholic, terminally ill, or facing almost any problems often are plagued with guilt. Guilt has been described as the intersection of religion and psychology.

TYPES OF GUILT

1) OBJECTIVE GUILT

Objective guilt occurs when a law has been broken and the lawbreaker is guilty even though he/she may not feel guilty.

2) SUBJECTIVE GUILT

Subjective guilt refers to inner feelings of remorse and self-condemnation that comes because of our actions

OBJECTIVE GUILT

This can be divided into

Legal
Theological
Personal
Social guilt
LEGAL GUILT: This is the violation of society’s laws. For example, a person who steals from a store is legally guilty of theft, even if he or she is never caught and regardless of whether or not the person feels any remorse.

THEOLOGICAL GUILT: This involves a failure to obey the laws of God. The Bible describes divine standards for human behaviors. Often times we violate this standards.

Many psychiatrists and psychologists do not admit the existence of theological guilt. To do so would be to admit that there are absolute moral standards. If absolute standards exist, there must be a standard-setter, and that is God. For many, it is easier to believe that right and wrong are relative-dependent on one’s own experiences, training, and subjective values. This has great practical implication in counseling.

PERSONAL GUILT: Here the individual violates his or her own personal standards or resists the urgings of conscience. No laws have been broken, and neither has the guilty person disobeyed God. This is not illegal, immoral, or unbiblical but the person feels guilty nevertheless.

SOCIAL GUILT: This comes when we break an unwritten but socially accepted rule. If a person is rude, talk loudly in a quiet library, pushes into the front of the queue, no law has been broken and the offender may or may not feel guilty, nevertheless the person is guilty of violating social expectations of other people.

Written by Dr. Godwin Ude

Anxiety: Causes and effect pt. 2

PANICK ATTACKS and POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER: These are more serious anxiety. Often this is the anxiety that brings people to counselors.

PANICK attack involves sudden, often unexpected, rushes of intense fear accompanied by rapid heartbeat, trembling, and shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain, or feelings of losing control. These attacks peak intensity within a few minutes and fade quickly after that. Many times they become associated with specific places or situations, such as being in a crowd, going to a dentist, riding in a car, or feeling trapped in a room. Because these attacks can be so scary and unpredictable, victims avoid the situations or places where the anxiety occurred in the past, lest they occur again.

POST-TRAUMATIC STREE DISORDER (PSTD) arises following intense stress, such as observing or experiencing events that involved death or great danger. These could include military conflict, rape, and involvement in a serious accident, kidnapping, a violent crime, prisoner abuse, or natural disasters, such as tornado or earthquake. Any of these can leave a lifelong legacy of anxiety.

For years after the trauma, some people have nightmares, irrational fears, depression, and loss of interest in activities that once were pleasant. For these people anxiety has become a way of life.

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT ANXIETY?
The Bible views anxiety in two ways: as a healthy concern and as fret or worry.

ANXIETY IN THE FORM OF REALISTIC CONCERN: This is neither condemned nor forbidden. Paul wrote that he was anxious (that is worried) about the possibility of being beaten, cold, hungry or in danger, but he did experience anxiety (that is concern) about the welfare of the churches. This sincere care for others put a daily burden on the apostle and made Timothy ‘genuinely anxious’ (concerned and interested as well. (2Corinthians 11:27-28; Philippians 2: 20)

ANXIETY AS FRET AND WORRY: This appears to be what Jesus had in mind in the Sermon on the Mount. He taught that we should not worry about life’s basic needs, such as food and clothing. We have a Heavenly Father who knows that what we need and will provide. (Matthew 6:25-34) see also (1 Peter 5:7; Philippians 4:6-7).
Anxiety as a fret or worry comes when we turn from God, shift the burdens of life on to ourselves, and show by our attitudes and actions that we alone are taking responsibility for handling problems. Instead of acknowledging God’s sovereignty and power, or determining to live for him and make his kingdom our primary concern, many of us slip into sinful self-reliance and preoccupation with our life pressures.
While it is OK to be responsible and handle our daily tasks, it is wrong, and unhealthy to be immobilized by excessive worry.

Impatience often accompanies anxiety, and anxious people want help in handling their pressures quickly. It can be very hard to wait for God’s perfect time schedule.

Written by Dr. Godwin Ude.

Anxiety: Causes and effect pt. 1

Anxiety, stress, fear, phobia, panic, and tension are words that have different technical meanings but often are used interchangeably to describe a common condition that may have reached epidemic proportions.
It appears in all age groups, including the elderly, children, and teenagers.

DEFINITION: Anxiety is an inner feeling of apprehension, uneasiness, worry, and/or dread that is accompanied by a heightened physical arousal.
In times of anxiety, the body appears to be on alert, ready to flee or fight.
The heart beats faster, blood pressure and muscle tensions increase, neurological and chemical changes occur within, and the person may feel faint, jumpy, and unable to relax or sleep.
Anxiety can arise in response to some specific danger often referred to as “fear” rather than anxiety, or it may come in reaction to an imaginary or anxious person senses that something terrible is going to happen, but he or she does not know what it is or why.

TYPES OF ANXIETY
1. NORMAL
Normal anxiety comes to all of us at times, usually when there is some threat or situational danger. Most often, this anxiety is proportional to the danger: the greater the threat, the greater the anxiety, although sometimes, we cannot know how serious a threat may be.
This is anxiety that can be recognized, managed, and reduced, especially when circumstances change and danger is reduced.
2. NEUROTIC
Neurotic anxiety involves intense exaggerated feelings of helplessness and dread even when the danger is mild or nonexistent. Many counselors believe this anxiety cannot be faced directly or dealt with rationally because it may arise from inner conflicts that are not conscious.
3. MODERATE
Moderate anxiety can be healthy and serve a useful purpose. Often it is motivating, helps people avoid dangerous situations, and leads to increased efficiency.

4. INTENSE
Intense anxiety is more stressful. It can shorten one’s attention span, make concentration difficult, cause forgetting, hinder performance, interfere with problem solving, l=block effective communication, arouse panic, and sometimes cause unpleasant physical symptoms such as paralysis, rapid heartbeat, or intense headaches.

5. STATE
State anxiety comes quickly, may or may not be of high intensity, and has a short duration. This is an acute, relatively brief apprehensive reaction that comes to all of us from time to time. Usually, it is a response to some real or imagined threat, like the inner surge of adrenaline you feel before making a speech or taking an important examination.
Sometimes, the anxiety is accompanied be excitement, in part because anxiety and excitement release the same hormones and turn on the same parts of the nervous system.

6. TRAIT
Trait anxiety is the persistent, ever present, ingrained emotional tension seen in people who appear to worry all the time. Often this causes physical illness because the body cannot function effectively when it remains in a perpetual state of tension and arousal.

Written by Dr. Godwin Ude

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