And I read this post regarding guilt. It got me thinking. What is guilt? According to dictionary.com it is:
"The fact of being responsible for the commission of an offense. See
Synonyms at blame.
Law. Culpability for a crime or lesser breach of regulations that carries a
Remorseful awareness of having done something wrong. Self-reproach for
supposed inadequacy or wrongdoing. Guilty conduct; sin."
I do not feel guilty because I live in a wealthy country. I do feel blessed, fortunate, just plain lucky. Whatever - you choose the word. Because of these blessings and fortune, I do feel compelled to help those who are less fortunate. But I do not feel guilty.
I believe that guilt is an emotion brought about by the result of some wrong doing. Because I live in a wealthy country and enjoy many of the blessing that entails, have I somehow done something wrong? I would say no. I work hard. I try to do good every day in the little piece of the world that I inhabit. I recycle. I pray for my friend's little nephew, diagnosed with cancer. I say please and thank you. I donate to the local hospice that provides comfort to the sick and dying. I donate to the local food pantry. I give my friend a hug when she is feeling low. I am a good person. I can be a better person. We all can. But I do not feel guilty.
Hunger and hurt and death and destruction are all around us. Guilt will not change that. Yes, we can always strive to do better - to recognize the hurt and pain in this world - to find ways to diminish hate and hunger. To focus on ways to make life better for those we can touch. But feeling guilty is not necessary, nor is it productive. I believe it is wasted energy.
If an event such as Live8 opens our eyes and moves us to action, then all the better. It has succeeded in its mission. But I for one, will not feel guilty because I live in a wealthy and bountiful nation. I will feel grateful and blessed.