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Sunday, January 23, 2011
Guilt is a tricky thing. On one hand, that little nagging from the conscious can be helpful to point us in the right direction. But it can also run rampant and become crippling. It can get in the way of receiving God's (and others') grace, redemption and forgiveness.
The problem with guilt is that it causes us to focus on receiving absolution and acceptance, rather than motivating us to change our beliefs and challenge the status quo. It's often easier to feel guilty than forgiven. It's also often easier to feel guilty than to change.
White guilt profoundly affects our relationships across race. It is much easier to pull away. Guilt makes the situation all about US. How bad WE feel, how WE are different from the 'true' racists. We become obsessed with proving that WE are the 'good' kind of white people and how much WE know better.
The Color of Freedom'). In concept, these movies could have important messages, but if you look closer, they are all telling the same basic white-savior-of-the-savage story: a white male leading character "manages to get himself accepted into a closed society of people of color and eventually becomes its most awesome member" (and usually gets some pretty good exoticized sex for his trouble too).
Guilt can hinder relationships between the privileged and the marginalized. We fixate on the divides between us. Relationship becomes one sided--all about the 'we' helping 'them.' This is false charity, not the solidarity that is really needed.
But God has more for us in our relationships than our guilt. God's redemption is offered to all so that we may live as 'redeemed privileged people.' We must redirect our guilt into conviction that will motivate us to action. Maybe small actions, one step at a time, but action nonetheless. We move forward rather than letting our shame paralyze us.
guilt that Satan whispers in our ears that separates us from God. Why do we feel it? How does it affect our relationships? How does it change our actions? What can we do about it? And how can we move forward as redeemed children of Christ into a more wholesome relationship with ALL of God's children?
In the end, we have to work to get over our natural desires to remove ourselves from uncomfortable situations. If we step out on faith and embrace the opportunity that discomfort provides, a deeper community emerges on the other side.