No such thing as a guilt-free lunch

A preview for Dr. Oz’s show said that the most healthy psychological decision you can make this year is to get rid of guilt. He sounded like a quasi-evangelist-psychic when calling people down to help relieve them of guilt. Then he would smile and say, “I feel guilty about that sometimes, too!” (I’m assuming the ‘guilt’ had to do with awkward social habits). Then – maintaining the ‘guilt’ theme – he teased a segment where a woman would be showcasing ‘guilt-free dinner options for the whole family.’

Is I’m-socially-awkward guilt the same as I-shouldn’t-have-eaten-fast-food guilt? Can we really ‘deal’ with guilt?

And are we even trying anymore?

Nobody has guilt that runs deeper than day-time pretty-boy’s platitudes? Nobody in the audience realizes they are largely responsible for their children’s insecurity? Has nobody in that audience cheated on their spouse? Let’s all get up and giggle with the person who feels responsible for their parents’ divorce.

No human can deal with your guilt. Why is it that when you tell someone sorry, and they say, “It’s alright,” you still feel bad? And they say, “No seriously, it’s not a big deal.” But it is a big deal. They say stop feeling guilty. You are still guilty.

Well, the first problem is you don’t believe them. You know yourself to well to believe that someone can really absorb a blow. Part of you knows that this will come up when they need something no matter how much reassurance they give you. “Remember that time you cheated on me?”

And the second problem is that guilt reminds us of our identity. Guilt has a loud voice that screams “You are a failure. You are disgusting.” This is precisely the same voice that Jesus silenced on the cross, when he was deemed a failure and called disgusting. Jesus took our identity, and promised us his identity. That is what it means to absorb a blow. And the blood of Christ is our promise of actual forgiveness. And God’s promises – unlike human promises – always come through.

Maybe in some elusive, pandering way Dr. Oz will deal with your guilt. But probably not. And when you realize your wounds are deeper than the guilt of a carbohydrate binge, Christ’s blood covers you. His forgiveness plumbs the depth of your guilt. You are free.

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