What is False Guilt?

False guilt is based on self-condemning feelings that you have not lived up to your own expectations or those of someone else. [Brent Curtis, Guilt, Institute for Biblical Counseling Discussion Guide, ed. Tom Varney (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1992), 14.]

False guilt arises when you blame yourself, even though you have committed no wrong, or when you continue to blame yourself after you have confessed and turned from you sin.

False guilt keeps you in bondage to three destructive weapons: shame, fear and anger. [See Curtis, Guilt, 17-29]

Confession does not resolve false guilt Revelation 12:10 says that Satan is the “accuser of our brothers.” He loves to burden believers with false guilt and condemnation. Some of his favorite strategies are: bringing up the past, reminding you of your failures and making you feel unforgiven and unaccepted by God.

How can I overcome the guilt and shame I feel as a result of my husband’s blaming me for the abusive things he did to me? Did I really deserve his abuse… was it really my fault?

Abusive people are notorious for blaming their actions on those whom they abuse. Blame shifting is a means of controlling others and breaking down any possibility of resistance. No one deserves abuse. Nobody makes a person sin. An example of this can be explained through a husband and wife situation. A husband is responsible for his actions. The wife is not to blame him for what he chooses to do. The shame belongs to him alone.

Shame

Guilt and shame are not the same. [See John R. Splinter, The Complete Divorce Recovery Handbook, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992), 98-99.]

Shame is a painful emotion of disgrace caused by a strong sense of guilt.

You experience shame when your guilt moves from knowing you have done something bad to feeling that you are bad…

Shame focuses not on what you’ve done but on being ashamed of who you are.

Feeling that you are basically defective causes the deepest sense of unworthiness and a constant fear of abandonment and rejection. [Curtis, Guilt, 18-19] Devastating emotional scars from shame often last a lifetime.

“If I am guilty–woe to me! Even if I am innocent, I cannot lift my head, for I am

full of shame and drowned in my affliction.” Job 10:15

Side Effects of Shame

Shame creates an inner desire to maintain rigid control over your emotions and behavior.

Shame creates inner loneliness that fosters unhealthy dependencies.

Shame steals from you the joy of your salvation

Shame keeps you from seeking solitude.

“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes

wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2

 

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