TITLE: THE WARNING LETTER
Be warned: there is a dangerous criminal on the loose, one that has harmed many of us already, yet managed to get away each time. She is a cunning person that knows exactly how to attack everyone that crosses her path. Her name, reader, is Guilt, and she is nobody to be trifled with.
Guilt is no lady. She doesn’t say ‘excuse me’ or ‘please’, nor does she knock on doors. She barges in and immediately yanks the reins from your hands. Before you know it, she has you believing the worst things about yourself, all part of her diabolical plan to destroy you. I say that with certainty because I was one of her victims. Sometimes I worry that I still am, but those are just baseless fears; shadows on the wall. Our history is, like her history with many, not a pretty one. I cannot blot it out like I would want, but I can use it to help others. So here goes.
I lived in a secluded part of town. My house was small brick construction that was nothing to sing about. The curtains were constantly drawn, and everything was secured by grills. The tiny compound was surrounded by a high stone wall that was topped off with glass shards. There were seven lock mechanisms on the door of the house lined from the top to the bottom. That is not taking into account the alarm system.
It was not that I was trying to keep people out but rather I was trying to keep something in. That something was safely hidden in an underground room away from the wandering eye. I will get to that later.
Life in that house was not as great as I would have liked. I pretended that everything was fine, but I knew it wasn’t. After all, I hadn’t let in a single creature in years. Then she came into the picture.
I don’t know how she did it, but she passed all my defenses as if they were nothing. This might sound crazy, but I think she walks through walls. She came into my house and without so much of an introduction, popped a stick of gum into her mouth and grinned.
“This is going to be good,” she said before grabbing my hand.
“How did you find me?” I asked.
She rolled her eyes, noisily chewing the gum. “The walls drew me here. People with walls like yours are usually hiding something. I did some research with the help of Gossip and Fear. What I found was enough to convince me that you fall right under my line of work.”
She yanked open the door to the underground room as if it were made of sticks and shoved me down the stairs. She chose to slide down the rail with a childish ‘wheeee!’ after which she landed on me with a thud. I was scared for I knew that she was going to let out what I had tried so hard to hide for the past decade.
Guilt scanned the room in distaste before fixing her eyes on the only thing that was in it; a closet. She clapped in glee.
“It’s a huge one! You must have lots of stuff in there! I’m going to like it here very much.”
Despite my protests, she strode to the closet and swung the doors wide open. Multiple skeletons fell out and landed on me, sending me to the floor. As I hysterically tried to untangle myself from the bony mess, Guilt took her time studying them.
“Well this won’t do. I like things in chronological order.” She sighed and pulled me to my feet. “Come with me. We are going on one of my customized trips.”
Before I knew it, we were out of the house and at the end of Memory Lane.
“Yes, this is much better,” she said. “We are going to go through every guilt you have. Relax. This is good for you. Everybody needs to be reminded exactly who they are from time to time.”
I couldn’t help but walk with her down the dreary lane. If you take away her forcefulness, you will find a certain magnetism to her. You can’t stop yourself from following her. At least I couldn’t. Each memory we walked past added to my despair. Soon Fear was at our heels for where Guilt was, Fear was never far behind.
It was no silent trip as Guilt made it her business to narrate every single thing that I was not proud of, making sure to include how it made others feel. Fear played his part well, hoarsely whispering into my ears.
“What if I go back to it again? What if people find out the truth? What will they think? What will He think? Does God still love me? Does He even like me?”
By the time we got to the other end, I was in a state of helplessness. I knew that Guilt was right. It was my fault. I chose to do the things that I did, and say the things that I said. That was who I was and I didn’t deserve forgiveness or any other form of kindness. She told me that I was alone and that there was no way a holy God could give me a second chance. Satisfied that she had done her job, Guilt laughed and jumped onto my back.
“There’s nothing like a good guilt trip,” she said, still chewing annoyingly into my ear. “Now take me home. I’m moving in.”
Heart heavy and spirits crushed, I slowly walked back home with Guilt on my back, and Fear on my arm. Over the next few months, Guilt and Fear were all I could see. When I woke up, Guilt greeted me with a reminder of all my failures. When I went to bed, Fear bade me goodnight with a list of everything that could go wrong the next day. It was horrible. Pretty soon, Depression moved in too, and I soon began to feel suffocated.
I could go on and on about my terrible time in Guilt’s clutches, but I have said enough, I think, to paint a picture. The important thing is how I managed to escape. The answer is simple. I didn’t escape. I was rescued. I never knew how much hope a knock on the door could give until I heard that particular one. Usually I run away from the door. This time I couldn’t wait to get to it.
Guilt held me back, also realizing that there was something different about that knock – particularly because that was the first knock she had heard on my door since she got there. All her friends just barged their way in. She sent Fear to answer and scare the unwanted visitor away. He transformed into his scariest form, scaring even himself, and stomped over to the door. When he swung it open, however, he immediately screamed in absolute terror before backing away and diving out of the window.
By now, Guilt was really nervous and ordered me to send whoever it was away, threatening me with a life of complete bondage to her. That almost made me laugh. I was already in bondage to her. What could be worse? I called out, “Come in!” before she could clasp her hand over my mouth.
In He walked, bringing in the freshness of a new day with Him. Guilt screamed and fled as well, crumbling into ash as she went. Surprised and relieved, I turned to Him and wondered if I should run away myself, still subjected to the awful thoughts from the villains. He held out His hand and invited me on a trip. I had had enough of trips, but I knew that a trip with Him was going to be a good one. So I followed Him back to Memory Lane. This time, it was cleaned up, bright and sunny. Only one memory was there, and it immediately rendered all the bad thoughts in my mind useless. It was a huge cross. Understanding everything, I turned to Him with a smile and bowed, thanking Him all the while.
As you can see, reader, Guilt dealt me a blow, but Jesus knocked her out. That is the only way I can put it. That is my story, and it is a true story. I hope it helps you. Beware the evil liar, and cling to the most important memory of all.
A guilt-free writer.