When it comes to analyzing our society, it seems that our culture struggles with the notion of guilt. In a 2017 article in the UK’s Guardian, Devorah Baum starts off the article by saying, “I feel guilty about everything. Already today I’ve felt guilty about having said the wrong thing to a friend. Then I felt guilty about avoiding that friend because of the wrong thing I’d said. Plus, I haven’t called my mother yet today; guilty. And I really should have organised something special for my husband’s birthday: guilty. I have the wrong kind of food to my child: guilty. I’ve been cutting corners at work lately: guilty. I skipped breakfast: guilty. I snacked instead: double guilty. I’m taking up all this space in a world with no enough space in it: guilty, guilty, guilty.”
Later in the article, she says something that I found interesting: “What is the potency of guilt? With its inflationary logic, guilt looks, if anything, to have accumulated over time. Although we tend to blame religion of condemning man to life as a sinner, the guilt that may have attached to specific vices–vices for which religious communities could prescribe appropriate penance–now seems, in a more secular era, to surface in relation to just about anything: food, sex, money, work, unemployment, leisure, health, fitness, politics, family, friends, colleagues, strangers, entertainment, travel, the environment, you name it.”
As Baum goes through the various types of guilt, and even believes that society blames religion for this notion of self-effacing guilt, she notes that the secular world does the same thing, assigning guilt to parents, to certain races, to political parties–just venture into the world of social media. If you say what you really feel about something, the trolls will come out and demean you for having such ideas that are too right, too centric, too left. Guilt is a significant part of who we are, and I would suggest that all guilt–especially guilt that comes from understanding God’s Word–is necessary and helpful!
This Psalm takes us on a journey–a journey of going from the heavy hand of God due to our sin to the hopefulness of our rescue to the way we are called to help others in their understanding of this guilt and how Christ assuages that guilt.