Several years ago, Dr. Paul Brand wrote a brilliant book, Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, with Philip Yancey about treating Lepers. In it he made a point that helped me understand why True Guilt and its delivering system of Conviction are so important to spiritual, relational, emotional, and physical health.
The reason so many lepers lose their fingers, toes and hands is due to losing the feelings in those extremities. Pain is the warning that they are in danger of being burned or cut. With no warning the lepers stick their hands in a fire or other dangerous place and severe damage occurs.
I have a friend that has no feeling in his legs or feet. One day he put on a shoe that had a fairly large object in it. He wore the shoe all day without realizing it was tearing his foot down!
Sinful behavior with no True Moral Guilt to arise as a painful reminder of danger always leads to great damage to the soul.
I entered graduate school in Counseling I saw a determined effort by Secular Humanists, many reared in Christian homes to remove all guilt feelings from their Clients. I saw the dangers of removing "False Guilt" that comes from
over controlling individuals, churches and societies but removing True Moral Guilt will devastate both.
One of our friends had an EAP at work and she went to a Counselor to help her with depression. The Counselor lectured her on doing too much for her ageing parents and said that she "Should curse them face to face and never speak again"!
She came to me for advice and told me what had happened. I asked if she agreed with the Counselor and she obviously did not. Such advice would have brought True Moral Guilt as well as social guilt upon my friend, but it was the kind of advice schools were passing on to their students.
Guilt is a warning to us that something is wrong and needs to be changed. I may need Confess, Repent and Receive Forgiveness from God. Or, I may need to say, "That is a social convention on which I disagree so I will ignore it. Thajk God I am free!"
Either way, I get to be free.