Jacob said, ‘Please tell me your name.’ But [the being he’d wrestled with all night] replied, ‘Why do you ask my name?’ » (Genesis 32:29).
Have you ever wrestled with an unknown force? Think about it. Have you ever stayed awake most of a night because something you did troubled you so much you couldn’t sleep?
If that has ever happened to you, I’ve got good news. You weren’t wrestling with Satan—you were wrestling with God! And all He wanted to do was help you turn that guilt into constructive action.
Let’s say you’re at school and a girl says something unkind to you. Before you know it, you’ve picked up a milk carton and dumped its contents all over her new leather jacket. Then, realizing that the punishment was way more severe than the crime, you say, «Oh, I’m sorry. You made me mad, so I soiled your jacket. I feel like a real heel. You might want to get that dry-cleaned.»
That’s bad guilt.
Or, you jump up, grab some napkins, and hand them to your wet friend. «Oh, I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have done that. Here, let’s get as much off as we can, and then I’ll have my mom or dad take us to the dry cleaner after school. I’ll pay for whatever has to be done. Please forgive me. Please.»
That’s good guilt.
Good guilt creates action. It forces you to face the problem and motivates you to make things right, no matter what it takes.