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Lesson 19: Guilt




The dictionary definition of guilt is wrongdoing or wickedness making us deserving of punishment.  The definition suggests doing something wrong or bad, or it could mean to you not doing something you think you should have.  In either case, the vast majority of us are NOT guilty of our child’s death.  We did nothing to “kill” our baby.  Even if you feel you have contributed in some way to their death, you can receive peace by seeking God’s forgiveness.

“Instead of bringing our guilt to a God who is waiting to comfort and forgive us, we continue to measure ourselves by ourselves and compare ourselves among ourselves.” When We Don’t Measure Up p.9





Guilt has a physical, emotional and spiritual effect on you. Guilt can be as overwhelming as grief itself.  The effects of guilt can include:

  1. poor health
  2. anger
  3. depression
  4. complete consumption
  5. isolation
  6. a weakening of our character
  7. a weakening of our ability to resolve positively
  8. feeling heavily burdened – like a “lead cape”
  9. hopelessness

10. turmoil of the heart

11. a desire to punish

12. living under tremendous pressure

13. exhaustion

“It can drain us spiritually, emotionally, and physically, and leave us enslaved to the opinions of other.” When We Don’t Measure Up p.5






Dealing With Guilt On Our Own


We, as humans, use two strategies to deal with our feelings of guilt: an internal strategy and an external strategy.


Internal strategy can be summed up in one word – self-contempt.

Simply put, we can hate ourselves.

External strategy can be explained as – WE attempt to humanly fix what

is wrong. We usually cannot fix it on our own, and when we realize we can’t, we feel guiltier.


“Self-contempt or self-imposed guilt convinces us that we are to blame for what’s happened to us and…so we set out to fix what is wrong.” When We Don’t Measure Up p.13



The Real Problem


“We are staking our well-being on a god (us) other than the God of the Bible.” When We Don’t Measure Up p. 20

We have lost our trust in God feeling that He has let us down. We think, “I don’t trust You, so I will fix this. I can do a better job.”  We become both self-absorbed and self-reliant.


Overcoming Guilt


We need to do three things to overcome our guilt:


  1. Accept the truth

The truth is…we didn’t do anything to kill our baby – AND we didn’t have control over the situation. Talk about it until you can let go of control.


  1. Trust God

Turn to God and ask for help to “fix” what is wrong. God doesn’t attack or abandon us. God forgives us and helps us heal. God’s mercy can soften our anger and quiet our guilt. God’s love helps us see the truth.


  1. Learn to Love

As we focus on God’s forgiveness, it will allow us to love – first, ourselves and then, others.


Change takes time. It means we will become less and less controlled by the guilt, anger, etc and more driven by love.  The more we are driven by love, the easier it is to get back to living and enjoying life.














Working Through Guilt Worksheet


MY GUILT                MY RESPONSE           GOD’S RESPONSE          MY CORRECT                                                                                                                       RESPONSE




Not going to            It’s my fault my       You did everything          I did everything

hospital sooner       my baby died.          you knew to do at             I knew to do. I  

                                                                        the time.                             did not kill my                                                                                                                     baby.



[Now you use the chart to help you work through your guilt.]



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