This difficult obsession can take many different forms. Common to all is an exaggerated fear of displeasing God by making something more important than Him. It’s a dread of violating the first commandment, if you will, by worshiping an idol. Take the case of a college student named Sylvia, a bubbly sophomore who is actively […]

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I’ve worked with half a dozen people over the last few years with the obsessional fear that they are too fat. One such person is Jen, a very pleasant young homemaker who is not considered overweight by anyone but herself. She is actually 5’ 5,’’ weights 130lbs, and in terrific shape, because she works out […]

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God purifies the faith of all Christians; and for OCD sufferers this process involves, more than anything else, enduring tormenting fears and uncertainties (see the last two blogs). On a clinical level, this purification represents a specific treatment for OCD. It’s helpful to see how it works. Such a therapeutic understanding helps us to understand […]

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“God has imposed the cross on all Christians to cleanse and to purge them well,” writes Martin Luther. One of God’s most painful crosses—one that Luther suffered himself—is the agonizing fear and uncertainty of what we now call OCD. We must understand that this disorder is for our good. Through it we are purified and […]

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Why do we have OCD? Well, we know that obsessive-compulsive disorder is a biological brain disorder, a dysregulation of the fear system. That’s helpful. It puts the matter in a proper perspective. Yet, it is not particularly satisfying. It does nothing to take away the sting of the disorder. Fortunately, as Christians we are given […]

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Jamie, a freshman in college, was referred to me by the student health service. She had developed a state of agitation: sleeping poorly, highly anxious, often tearful, and sometimes very withdrawn. She wouldn’t tell anyone the nature of her problem, except that she was having “terrible thoughts.” They had started after a party in her […]

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I worked recently with a student in his early 20’s who had suffered from mild OCD symptoms since his mid-teenage years. His obsessions, all involving contamination, had been tolerable; and his compulsions, such as washing his hands and showering excessively, took at most a half an hour a day. He had never actually realized he […]

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Christians sometimes have a problem employing exposure and response prevention for OCD: How do I do it without sinning? We know that ERP is a very effective form of therapy. The problem is that it sometimes seems to involve activities that are in opposition to biblical precepts. Marissa, a graduate student in English, came to […]

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C.S. Lewis, perhaps the greatest Christian apologist of the 20th century, possessed an unrivaled talent for presenting Christian truths in fresh and imaginative ways. I was working with a student recently who carried an excerpt from one of Lewis’s books everywhere he went. He said it was the best thing he had ever read for […]

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Faith, a heartfelt trust in God and his mercy towards us, is the most important thing in a Christian’s life. A good argument can be made, in fact, that it is the only important thing, because faith is what pleases God more than anything else. Furthermore, it is faith that gives us salvation, creates all […]

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