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Healthy Guilt

Let us suppose that after seven years of marriage a couple has their first serious spat. Tempers flare, hostile words are exchanged, and in a fit of anger the husband slaps his wife, storms out the door, and retreats to the corner saloon. He orders a whiskey and beer chaser and begins to reflect: "I love that woman. She is the warm center of my world. Without her, my life loses meaning, direction, and purpose. And I just blew it. I hurt the one person who means more to me than anyone else. Hell, what am I doing sitting here? Every minute wasted on this barstool could be spent loving her."


He leaves his drink untouched, dashes down the street, up the stairs, and with a heart crushed with sorrow falls into his wife's arms.


Healthy guilt is other – centered, arouses compunction and the desire for reconciliation, and calls us into the fullness of humanity by staring in the face defiantly and without embarrassment the gods of pride, arrogance, self-righteousness, and self-pity. "Learn from me", the master says, "for I am gentle and humble in heart" (Matt 11:29)


- Brennan Manning (A Glimpse Of Jesus)