Glasgow Botanic Gardens. Kibble Palace. Edwin Roscoe Mullins – Cain or My Punishment is Greater than I can Bear (Genesis 4:13), about 1899. (from Guilt (emotion) – Wikipedia)

John Branyan has an odd, but delightful sense of humor. Therefore, from time-to-time I check out his blog. His latest post well illustratrates his excellent sarcasm.

Have you ever happened upon a child crying in the grocery store? It breaks your heart, doesn’t it? Compassion demands that you try to help.

“What’s wrong?” you ask gently.

“I’m lost,” the child sobs.

“No you’re not,” you reply with a smile.

The child, looks up at you through tear filled eyes and wails, “Yes I am!”

“No you are not,” you say gently, but firmly. “You are a beautiful little girl! You are powerful and worthy of respect!”

She sniffles and replies, “But I can’t find my mommy!”

“Your Mommy loves you very much,” you exclaim. “Don’t let anyone tell you that she doesn’t!”

The girl begins to cry again.

You hold up a hand and say, “I’m going to tell you a secret. I’ve been lost too. Really! I’m not better than you! Everybody gets lost sometimes!”

The girl wails loudly, “I just want my Mommy!”

Continued here, How to Be Unhelpful Without Feeling Guilty – John Branyan

Guilt is a horrible thing. When we feel guilty, we tear apart the pride we want to feel in ourselves. We feel shame we inflict upon our self. Sometimes we inflict that guilt rightly. Sometimes we feel guilty just for surviving when someone else dies. Because we are emotional creatures, our guilt is not always rational. Neither is our pride.

What is the point of Branyan’s sarcasm? When we behave as Pagans do, we can go to irrational lengths avoid guilt and elevate our pride in our self. Jesus discribed the problem this way.

Luke 6:39 New American Standard Bible

39 Now He also spoke a parable to them: “A person who is blind cannot guide another who is blind, can he? Will they not both fall into a pit?

Why sarcasm against love? Isn’t love wonderful? Isn’t Branyan ridiculing a choice we make? Why would we behave like Pagans? What makes a Pagan blind? Why would a Pagan want to be blind?

A Holy God is scary. Hence, we crave the security of idols of OUR OWN MAKING.

Anything we want can be our idol. Even love can be an idol. We can pay lipservice to love, make love work for us by loving legalistically (What Is Legalism? Definition and Examples ( When we make love our idol, we don’t have to suffer the pain that comes from truly loving another person.

The Apostle Paul wrote about idols many years ago, Romans 1:18-32 NASB – Unbelief and Its Consequences – Bible Gateway. Jesus, when He condemned the Pharisees, spoke a similiar problem, Matthew 23 NASB – Hypocrisy Exposed – Then Jesus spoke to – Bible Gateway, for many of the Pharisees, pridefully striving to save themselves by legalistically obeying the Law instead of turning in faith to God, had made Old Testament Law their idol.


  1. Doug,

    Wise discerning comment you made.

    “There has been no greater guilt imposed upon man than that imposed by organized religion in the name of God… simply to get compliance.

    Since there apparently is a major breakdown in compliance of human laws “by the guilty parties: to control the current lawlessness, we are reading and hearing in the news every, whether it is crime, drugs, illegal immigration, theft, rape etc. etd. ,,,,,
    Perhaps we should have our ineffective laws be more compliant with religious teachings because, as you said,

    “There has been no greater guilt imposed upon man than that imposed by organized religion in the name of God… simply to get compliance.

    Great wise and simply …discerning comment, I concur.

    Regards and goodwill blogging

    1. @Scatterwisdom

      When we feel guilt, we feel ashamed. To avoid shame, we try to avoid sin. Unfortunately, we have a difficult time of avoiding sin. Therefore, without Christ we generally adopt one or both of two different tactics:
      1. Shamelessness. We try to convince ourselves and others that there is nothing wrong with our sin, and we seek to silence or destroy anyone who disagrees. This is today’s approach to what we use to call vice crimes.
      2. We increase the fear of getting caught. Capital punishment use to be common for numerous crimes. People say this punishment is not effective, but that is a rather silly argument. If nothing else, executing the guilty means the executed party won’t commit that sin again.

      With Christ we have a better approach to avoid sin. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we have less desire to sin. In our republic, especially in its early days, the presense of government was hardly what anyone would have called overpowering. Yet there was relatively little crime. Most people had no desire to break the law. Most people understood:
      1. The laws existed for their own benefit. There was nothing to gain by breaking them.
      2. They did not want to grieve the Holy Spirit by doing something they knew was wrong.

  2. There has been no greater guilt imposed upon man than that imposed by organized religion in the name of God… simply to get compliance. But hey.. that’s just me.

    1. @Doug

      Christianity really is not a religion. We generally call it one because our language defines any belief system about God as a religion, but what we call religions differ so greatly the term “religion” does not help much.

      If you read the Bible carefully, most likely you will eventually reach the conclusion that Christianity is about forming a relationship with God, not a priest or even a pastor. The object is to form a relationship wherein the only mediator between each of us and God is Jesus, who is one of the three persons who makes up the Trinity, that is, God.

      Now think about your complaint.

      There has been no greater guilt imposed upon man than that imposed by organized religion in the name of God… simply to get compliance. But hey.. that’s just me.

      No one refers to their relationships with their family and friends as organized religions.

      Does a good father or mother use guilt or love to get compliance from their children? Perhaps, but love works better. Children obey their parents best when they love and trust them. When children disobey, they feel guilty and ashamed because they know that they should have obeyed. They know they have abused the love and the trust of their parents. Their parents, however, are generally more concerned because when children disobey they almost always harm themselves in some way.

      When organized religions use guilt to get compliance, the clerics seek compliance with their own wishes, not those of God. When the leaders of an organized religion become more concerned about their own power and wealth than they are the relationship of their flock with God, God has no use for them. Such leaders also use fear and the threat of punishment. Does God use fear and the threat of punishment? Yes, but that is most to get our attention. Fear is only the beginning of wisdom. When we love God, the fear diminishes.

      In an appropriately run Christian church, the object is to teach God’s Word so we can all spread the Gospel, not to empower the clergy. The object is to help people form a personal relationship with God, not to make people dependent upon the clergy.

      Anyway, our Father in heaven is just trying to free us from sin. When we disobey God, we do things that are ultimately self destructive. If a sin does not hurt anyone, then why is it a sin?

      There really is not that much difference in what motivates us when we have children. We want our children to obey us because they don’t yet know enough to avoid hurting themselves. Often, even we are supposedly all grown up, we still don’t know how to avoid hurting ourselves. I suppose that is why we will have an eternity to learn.

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