Feeling Guilty?

Image: Feeling Guilty?

How to deal with that feeling you get when you know you've done something wrong

What do you do when you feel guilty? When you’ve done something really wrong, and if people found out what you’d done, they’d either hate you or laugh at you? How do you deal with feelings that you’ll never live up to other people’s standards? How do you deal with guilt?

Are you like the man who became Spiderman, Peter Parker: do you do good things to try and outweigh your guilt? Peter Parker was a nerd at school, unpopular with the ladies, not many friends. One day he was bitten by a radioactive spider, and the venom had a crazy effect on him: he took on spider powers! He could climb walls, shoot webs from his hands, jump high and do crazy flips and things like that.

According to the original comic book series, Peter Parker became a famous TV star with his own show – and one day at work, a thief broke into the tv studio. Everyone expected Peter to stop the thief – but instead, Peter refused. The thief got away – but not before something very bad happened. Peter’s Uncle, Ben gets killed. By that thief that Peter could have stopped.

Peter is torn apart by guilt. He could have prevented Uncle Ben’s death. He learns his lesson: with great power comes great responsibility.

He becomes Spiderman, and his guilt drives him on, to fighting crime and beating up bad guys. He’s trying to outdo his guilt with good.

Is that how you deal with guilt?

Hebrews 10 tells us that God sent Jesus to us, to deal with our guilt. Guilt is proof that we have failed God, but Jesus is proof that God is committed to us, and wants to save us.

How does Jesus deal with our guilt? He became our sacrifice. Before Jesus came, Jewish Priests would sacrifice animals – innocent animals to show that God deals with sin by death. Those animals were a foreshadow of Jesus – all he would be and do. God sent Jesus – an innocent, perfect man; God in the flesh – and when he was killed, he suffered God’s punishment on our behalf.

And his death deals with our guilt, finally and permanently.

How do you respond to that? You trust him. You love him. You devote your life to him. You follow him.

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Comments (3)

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  • user


    I said something really mean to this girl who was adopted. I really really regret saying that to her. It was during acting class and I got carried away with trying to make people laugh. I ended up really hurting her in front of everyone the guilt instantly consumed me. I felt really bad and apologized non stop the rest of the period. She did forgive really quickly but I still feel incredibly guilty. I just wanted to say so and get if off my heart. I am still having a hard time dealing with it. So I came to fervr for help, I read this passage and it made me feel a little better but, I still don’t want to face 5th period on Tuesday (block scheduling) I honestly am ashamed. :( Could you please help me?

    • user


      Hi Tamie,

      Sometimes guilt like that can be helpful to begin with - it lets us know we’ve done something wrong, and need to fix it up.

      So it’s right that you asked your class-mate for forgiveness, and it’s also right to ask God for forgiveness. 

      Maybe you feel like you should say something to the rest of the class too? It could be helpful to acknowledge to them that you feel bad about what happened. It could be a great witness to them about the power of forgiveness.

      However, once forgiveness has been received, you need to move on from those feelings of guilt. It’s time to stop looking backwards (which will only make you feel more pain, and won’t help anyone), and start looking forward.

      That kind of sick feeling might not go away immediately. When the feeling comes back, remind yourself you are forgiven, and focus on how you will act in the future.

      If you are really having trouble, and feel this is all leading to prolonged anxiety or depression, speak to a school counsellor, church pastor, or youth leader, before it gets out of hand.

      • user


        Thank you, this advice was really helpful. I think I’ll talk to whole class the next time I have drama. Once again thanks for the great advice.