Guilt is a reality, and it is not to say the Christian should be without guilt. On the other hand, it is to be said the Christian should know the difference between healthy and unhealthy guilt, because there is a difference. The trouble is, many of us will find ourselves in the unhealthy guilt that really degrades and denies the grace of Christ in our lives as it is intended.
UNHEALTHY GUILT wallows. It has a disdain for God's gift of real grace. An unhealthy guilt is entirely preoccupied with the self. It is SELF-destructive. It is SELF-demeaning. It is SELF-defeating. Because of this, unhealthy guilt can lead to a depression and despair. Unhealthy guilt is not concerned with a compassionate God. It uses harsh and abusive language of rejection and condemnation. Unhealthy guilt easily and quickly become larger than life itself.
HEALTHY GUILT is not naive or cheap, but it does acknowledge the wrong. Healthy guilt does recognize the depravity and the mistakes. It recognizes these things and feels a true remorse. But as I mentioned a few days ago, healthy guilt does not reside in the past; it only refers to the past. Healthy guilt is able to move forward after the remorse, free to embrace the offered gift of forgiveness. Healthy guilt turns its focus toward the realization of forgiveness and redemption instead of the forgotten past.