It turns out that guilt can be viewed as a healthy emotion.
According to Evelyn Hill who was an earlier century contemplative Christian, a healthy outcome of guilt occurs when we have a concrete understanding that our behaviour has hurt others or ourselves, we recognize that damaged was done and can admit our responsibility for it and then be impelled to action. To make amends and to reestablish the bond that has been broken does not come from an unhealthy sense of guilt. Healthy guilt opens the way to increased self-awareness, including personal and spiritual growth.
An unhealthy outcome of guilt, on the her hand, is vague and distracts us from taking corrective action. It keeps us stuck, turns us in our ourselves and often ends up in damaging “self-talk.” Shame closely follows which makes us want to hide and say, “I am a failure.”
When you experience guilt, you can test whether the feeling of guilt has served you in a healthily way. Sit in silence, and prayerfully ask the question, what has triggered the voice of guilt and what outcome has it lead you to? Has my outcome led me closer to God or farther from God? If they are causing you to go farther from God, you ought to reject them. Pray to God and ask for him to help you turn the feeling of fault guilt into a positive outcome. If they are causing you to come closer to God, as Evelyn Hill has outlined for us, thank God for this increased awareness about yourself.
By examining guilt in this reflective way will help you become more aware of yourself and become better prepared to handle feelings of guilt as they arise.