The Ugly Face of Grief
Guilt. Even writing about this is hard. Maybe because I’m secretly worried that some one does think I’m guilty. That something I did (or didn’t do) could have prevented this.
It’s the questions I’ve been beating myself up with for quite some time. What if I had called the doctor right away when I noticed that symptom? What if I hadn’t gone out with him the night before? What if I had checked him sooner?
And the questions keep piling up. And the guilt.
Guilt is the ugly face of grief. When left on its own, guilt will run wild through a mind like an uncontrolled monster that devastates and destroys everything it can sink its claws in to.
Rather than encouraging growth and hope for the future, it invites us to wallow in the past, in what should have been or what could have happened.
When we’re wearing the glasses of guilt, we’re blinded to the hope of the future. Instead, the lens of guilt focuses only backwards. On times and situations that are completely unable to be changed.
Guilt believes that everything is in its control. That everything is your fault, and you should have just known. That maybe if you had done this differently or not done that, this wouldn’t have happened.
And maybe some of that is true. Perhaps there really is something I could have done differently.
But, truly, if the guilt is “deserved,” can any one of us cast the first stone? Have any of us perfectly parented our children?
When it comes down to it, we are all here because of grace.
Too often, it’s easy to think that our successes are based on something we did. It’s nice to look at our children’s faces, the work of our hands, or anything else we find pride in, and think that we were the source of it all. The big house, the esteemed position, the lengthy resume.
But all my pride, all my guilt, must fall away in the face of grace.
I’ve never been perfect. And I never will be.
But thanks be to Jesus who died for me, in all my imperfections and failings. He knew that I was going to disappoint Him and never live up to His standard. And He loves me anyways.
And He’s asking us to come to Him. With every mistake, every heartbreak, every failing, and lay it in His nail-scarred hands.
He died because we simply cannot save ourselves. We can never be “good” enough to get to heaven on our own.
And it’s in those hands that we must leave our guilt. Our imperfections. Even our best intentions.
And trust in Him alone for our salvation. And live life, embraced by His grace.
“For by grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves. It is a gift from God.”