The question posed with this word is “what does anger have to do with guilt?” Anger is the natural way of fighting guilty feelings. [See Curtis, Guilt, 24-26] It contacts your emotional antenna. It sends messages of shame. “When you feel shame that you have done something wrong, the feared threat of rejection surfaces, and anger becomes the closest weapon for aiming at:
The confronting person who exposes your fault– “She criticizes me and makes me look foolish in front of my friends.”
The significant person who sees your inadequacies and may reject you–“Dad loves my brother more than he loves me because my brother does everything better than I do.”
The hurting person (you) who longs for acceptance–“I hate myself for being so inferior and not living up to the standards of others.”
Acting Out Anger
False guilt has the power to undermine relationships. [Les Parrot, III, Love’s Unseen Enemy: How to Overcome Guilt to Build Healthy Relationships (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), 33] The role of anger in derailing relationships is less obvious. Anger can be a threatening and dangerous emotion. It is often tried to camouflage it by being in control. There is often the need to be in control because of hidden anger. This is where false guilt functions as the most manipulative and devious enemy.
Taking control by becoming rebellious–“If you don’t like the way I am, it’s just too bad.”
Taking control by attacking–“You said I wasn’t honest, but you are always criticizing me!”
Taking control by shifting blame–,”I couldn’t finish writing my paper because someone needed my help.”
Taking control by suppressing true feelings–,”I never get angry with anyone. People can’t help what they do.”
Taking control by confessing to everything–“I’m sorry. It is all my fault. Will you forgive me?” (The motive is trying to relieve your guilt rather than desiring to change your behavior).
“Man’s anger does not bring about the
righteous life that God desires.”
How should I respond to false guilt?
When the viewing screen of your mind starts playing back your repented sins, realize that this taunting comes from Satan, the accuser of the brethern, to discourage you. Ask yourself, “What am I hearing?” (Accusation.) What am I feeling? (Guilt) What are the facts? (I am fully forgiven.) Use Scripture as your standard to determine true and false guilt. Since you have received Jesus Christ as your personal savior, and since the Savior died to take away your sins, choose to focus on this truth. Take Romans 8:1 as a prayer. Do it in the following manner:
“Thank You, Father, that You don’t condemn me and don’t want me to condemn me and don’t want me to condemn myself. These feelings of false guilt are not valid because I have accepted Christ’s sacrifice and have turned from my sins.”
“Therefore, there is now no
condemnation for those who
are in Christ Jesus.”