Guilt met me outside and seized my shirt violently,
Commanding me, “Look at all the problems you cause”
He barked at Forgiveness as she left for the night
Then shook me fiercely and screamed out all my worst flaws

I knew Guilt was right, that my hands were far from clean;
I listened intently to his charges each day
There was no sense denying what we both knew was true

Slowly, I grew more interested in what he had to say

We came to be strange friends, though full of distrust
He was hateful, but he served as authority
At times his silence eerily let days go by,
But when I watched him smile, I knew he wouldn’t leave

It took me time to see what he had really done,
An infection worse than pointing fingers at me:
I was forcing Guilt’s presence on those all around,
Speaking “you should” and spreading my captivity

For Guilt’s hold had altered more than my self esteem:
It was a lens through which I compared wrong and right
He thought something good, I found justification
If he thought it bad, I thanked him for shedding light

I went on a lonely walk through the snow one day
Recalling my wrongdoing as I took each stride
When I encountered a man plagued with Self Hatred,
I felt his pain as he agonizingly cried

His eyes met mine before he turned away in shame
And I felt in my gut, Grace, burning through the grim
Unsure how to help, I walked away and wondered,
“Could anyone see me the way that I see him?”