Feeling Guilty Equaling Sin

As someone who has struggled and for the most part gotten over scrupulosity, I just wanted to point something out that I noticed on this forum.

Sometimes people come here asking whether X, Y, or Z is a sin because they feel bad about it. One response I hear is any variation of “if you feel guilty, you don’t even need to ask, you know in your heart you did something wrong”.

This can sometimes be true, BUT NOT FOR SCRUPULOUS PEOPLE! They suffer from a condition where they feel guilt or anxiety for all sorts of things. A scrupulous person may see sin where there is none and feel guilt when none should be felt. Even non scrupulous people suffer from this from time to time. It can be a physiological condition as well as psychological. Telling someone they’ve sinned when they may not have can be just as harmful as telling someone there is no sin where there is.

The most common advice I see, and probably the same I would give in many situations where there isn’t a clear answer, is to see a confessor just to err on the side of safety. That way they can get hopefully accurate advice and have their sins forgiven if there is sin. This avoids telling someone they’ve sinned when they didn’t or telling them they didn’t sin when they did.

However, even a priest can give bad advice during confession if they don’t know the faith as well as they should. The thing that brought me to this site was the ask an apologetic section which was a means of helping my scrupulosity by seeking OBJECTIVE and accurate information. This is what scrupulous people, and ALL people need. Objective, non-emotional based information as to whether something is right or wrong.

“Feelings” can be accurate guides, but they can also steer people wrong in more ways than one.

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