An Example of Guilt vs Remorse


Photo credit: ABC News/Mark Lennihan/AP Photo

Today is Wednesday, July 24, 2013.

Yesterday I mentioned the difference between guilt and remorse.  I hadn’t thought much about the difference until I looked it up.  Guilt is what we feel when we accept responsibility for violating a moral standard that we believe in.  In other words, we know right from wrong, but for some reason we did the wrong thing anyway.

The word “guilt” is often used interchangeably with  remorse.  Guilt comes from the mind, while remorse originates in the heart.  Both are an awareness that we have done something wrong, but remorse sets into motion a true change within us, a change of heart.  It signals an intention to heal and/or to make restitution for injury or damage.

After publishing my post, I came across a news story that served to cement this distinction in my mind.  Anthony Weiner was a representative from the state of  New York to the U.S. Congress, who left in disgrace in 2011, when the news surfaced that he had been sending sexually suggestive pictures of himself to a woman on Twitter.  At the time, Weiner admitted having done this.

Fast forward to the present: Weiner is now a mayoral candidate for New York Cicty.  This is an office he has sought at least twice before.  Once again, someone is accusing him of “sexting” with some woman after having left Congress in disgrace, and Weiner seems to be admitting that it’s true.

It was interesting to read exactly what he had to say for himself.

“I said that other texts and photos were likely to come out, and today they have,” Weiner said in the statement. “As I have said in the past, these things that I did were wrong and hurtful to my wife and caused us to go through challenges in our marriage that extended past my resignation from Congress.

“While some things that have been posted today are true and some are not, there is no question that what I did was wrong,” he continued. “This behavior is behind me. I’ve apologized to Huma and am grateful that she has worked through these issues with me and for her forgiveness.”

Did you catch that?  Instead of saying, “I have worked through these issues,” he says, “She has worked through these issues.”  To me, there is a big difference.  Sure, Weiner is admitting guilt.  He can’t really do otherwise and remain a viable political candidate.  But if it’s true that this latest suggestive message was sent after he left Congress, it appears that he is simply giving lip service to propriety, and not truly apologizing from the heart, which would show true remorse.  He hasn’t made any effort to change his ways.

That, folks, is the difference between guilt and remorse.  Thanks for the example, Anthony.  Shmuck.  😦


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