Monday, 3 September 2007

Guilt Concealed By Fear

Guilt Concealed By Fear
Ravi Zacharias

What do we do when we have committed a wrong that we are ashamed of? What can we do with those wrongful deeds that we can’t seem to erase from our consciences?

One way that many people deal with guilt is to cover it up. This can seem almost instinctive at times, as if something inside us says, “Hide it. Forget about it. No one can know.” But this puts us in a very precarious position, for not only are we dealing with guilt, but now we are dealing with the fear of being “found out.” When we add fear to our feelings of guilt we are adding apprehension to the remorse we are struggling to conceal. Just as a blackmailer is never satisfied, so the one who lives in fear with guilt ends up blackmailing his or her own heart to pay the mind. But the heart is never consoled, for the mind is never sufficiently paid.

Guilt that is concealed seldom stops with the one who harbors that hurt. Sooner or later that pain of fear and guilt is spread to others, particularly to those closest to us. “Victimless” crimes are an illusion, for deceit is a monster that needs constant feeding. It would be foolish for us to think that we can deal with guilt by somehow covering it up. The moment that we cover our guilt we escalate the tension in our lives by adding the dimension of fear. We may then become people who seem okay on the outside, but inside we are struggling to maintain the facade.

Many used this same ploy with Jesus in his day. They would throw one question after another in order to hide the real struggle beneath them all. He says to those who have tried to cover over their guilt, “Woe to you...for you clean the outside of your cup, but inside the cup is full of turmoil...First clean the inside of the cup so that the outside may become clean as well.” Here Jesus refers to the heart as a cup. What you pour forth will show the condition of your heart, even if the “outside” looks clean.

Carried to a different level, this same tendency underlies all our national preoccupation with one social or economic crisis after another. No one seems willing to admit that at the heart of our malady is a mangled spirituality.

Let us go to God with our “cup full of turmoil,” so that we may not live in fear, but in hope.

© 2007 Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. All Rights Reserved.