"Guilt is to our spirit what pain is to our body—a warning of danger and a protection from additional damage." - D.A. Bednar
Most of the time - Pain is useful. What happens when people can't feel pain?
Example: What happens when diabetics lose feeling in their feet? Why do they break bones, and lose toes, and have amputations? Aren't they wearing shoes, and washing their feet, and caring for them just like the rest of us do?
Yes, and no. They're doing all those things - but they can't feel pain. The rest of us hardly even notice the tiny pain signals our body sends us when we've been standing on one part of our foot too long. We just shift. We transfer our weight to the other leg, we lean back, we do SOMETHING without even knowing why. But when you can't feel pain - you don't do those little things. You stay standing the same way, on the same spot, because there is no reason to change. That is when you damage cells and break blood vessels and get pressure sores and stress fractures and all the things that lead to amputated feet.
Lesson: WE NEED PAIN.
Can pain become useless and overbearing and stifling? Yes. We can experience pain that debilitates us when what would heal us is movement. We can even feel phantom pain for an injury that doesn't exist anymore.
The same is true with guilt. Most of the time - guilt is good. It is a warning. It helps us make the little adjustments every day that keep us from getting injured. When we get a big injury - guilt guides us down the path to healing and recovery.
Guilt is good, just like pain. No one likes it. No one enjoys it. But those who want to grow and progress understand why it is there, and that without it - we would be even worse off.