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Guilt is among the evilest of emotions.

It drives a wedge between people, it leads to bad policy decisions, it drives people away from what they know they ought to do, it sucks the joy out of life.

*I’m not talking about the legal definition of guilt that is associated with crimes. I’m talking about the thin film of guilt that creeps up into our culture through politics, advertising, the church and the media.

Whereas guilt should be a siren, we treat it with shame. We run from that which makes us feel guilty (the beggar on the street, for instance), rather than analyze the situation.

Guilt kills friendships. When a friend faces a calamity, and others feel guilty about their own good fortune, they don’t know what to say. As time passes, guilt mounts and silence intensifies, leaving the misfortunate friend wondering why his friends deserted him in his time of need. The fortunate friends weren’t heartless, they were responding to guilt.

Guilt is deferred repentance. It is inactive. It is pushing a should-do to the back of one’s mind. It is a undesired gift from a manipulative individual. Guilt tells lies. Guilt tells us we don’t deserve our blessings. Guilt lurks in darkness.

Rather than feel guilty, we should give.  When you know that you are giving the world your best, when you’ve set your intentions upon doing good, when your giving comes from abundance, you will feel total and utter joy.

Fight guilt with gratitude and giving. Don’t run away.