Know anyone who doesn't feel bad about something they've said or done? Guilt tortures the best of us. Unfortunately, the discomfort is not limited to mental agony alone. Intense regret can bring physical torment, as well.
Sometimes, the pain is self-inflicted.
Studies show that people occasionally attempt to free themselves from guilt through pain. And they are not always aware that they're harming themselves.
Since the human mind is where guilt begins, to get at the source of the problem, the medicine must be mental. In other words, in order to heal a body affected by guilt, a mind must change.
In 2005, I delivered a lecture titled Spiritual Solutions to Crime and Violence in Dearborn, Michigan. Before the lecture, I was speaking with the woman who was to introduce the talk. She asked if I remembered her. I told her, "No."
She explained that she'd been at another of my lectures in Trenton, Michigan, three years earlier. She'd been in a wheelchair at the front of the auditorium. After she related this, I remembered her.
She described why she'd been in the wheelchair.
Believing that a traffic light had turned green, she'd accelerated her car through an intersection causing a collision with another vehicle. A young woman in the other car was killed. She, herself, was badly hurt. No one expected her to live, either.
She did pull through, however. And she told me that she believed it was the spiritual treatment she'd received that enabled her to leave the hospital, albeit in the wheelchair. She was grateful for the progress; yet, she was still experiencing mental and physical pain as she was wheeled into the Trenton lecture.
She'd always tried to be as conscientious and loving as possible. Therefore, the thought that she was responsible for a young woman's death was crushing her.
My lecture in Trenton was titled Regaining Our Joy. In this lecture, I quoted from a book that describes how a spiritually changed thought helps us physically.
The author, Mary Baker Eddy, states in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, "We are all sculptors, working at various forms, moulding and chiseling thought. What is the model before mortal mind? Is it imperfection, joy, sorrow, sin, suffering? Have you accepted the mortal model? Are you reproducing it? Then you are haunted in your work by vicious sculptors and hideous forms. …The result is that you are liable to follow those lower patterns, limit your life-work, and adopt into your experience the angular outline and deformity of matter models."
The statement continues, "To remedy this, we must …form perfect models in thought and look at them continually, or we shall never carve them out in grand and noble lives."
During the lecture, I asked everyone in the audience to stand up. I had them shake their heads and stomp their feet. I wanted the audience to consider how they, with divine help, could express mental force, spiritual dominion. Possibly, they could shake off fear, guilt, or whatever plagued them.
With her son's help, my introducer made it to her feet. She shook her head and gingerly stomped her feet.
After the lecture, she went home and examined her thought. She saw there an aggressive suggestion that claimed she was ignorant. Ignorant for assuming the light had turned green. This suggestion had been haunting her. She told me that instead of "continuing with the pity party," she began to affirm that she was not stupid. She took her stand. She began to think of herself and the young woman who passed away as she thought God would be lovingly considering them. She was convinced that God knew each of them as being spiritually innocent, divinely alive.
During the next few days the pain disappeared. She got up out of the wheelchair. It was no longer needed. God's love was the medicine that changed her mind and healed her physically.
The introduction this woman gave to the audience at Dearborn was special. She spoke with profound grace and joy. The spirit behind her words set the tone for the day. I believe it helped the audience recognize that spiritual solutions could help their city.
If guilt tortures you or your loved ones, something should be done. If possible, utilize what can free heart and soul, both mind and body.
Keith Wommack is a Syndicated Columnist, Christian Science practitioner and teacher, husband, and step-dad. He has been described as a spiritual spur (since every horse needs a little nudge now and then). Keith's columns originate at: KeithWommack.com