OCD and Christianity

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14 Response Comments

  • George  04/16/2024 at

    Has anyone had OCD around being a bad parent? I’m so hyper aware of my frustrations and actions towards my children and whether they make me a bad parent. I find myself confessing all the times I’ve not been a good parent to people to test their reaction. Struggling to get myself out of this one. What if I simply am a bad parent!

    • admin  04/17/2024 at

      This falls in the category of what some people call “real life obsessions.” Another words, they are realistic concerns that have become, in the case of OCD, greatly exaggerated to the point of becoming unrealistic. These can be difficult. The big problem is that because of compulsive acts the fears become so greatly enlarged that they become really, really believable. Often, in these cases, it is necessary to take the judgment of someone you trust on whether or not there is really a problem. That’s tough to do, but it’s simply must be done at times because the belief has just become, so strong that it can no longer be dealt with rationally by the OCD suffer. Another approach to this, is to tell yourself during the week I’m going to assume that this is an obsessional fear and not pay attention to it. I’m going to simply try to, do what I think a good parent without OCD would do. And then, spend some real time on a weekend, perhaps an hour or two, trying to read up and clarify on what being a good parent really looks like, and try to evaluate yourself as realistically as you can. This would be a quick answer to how I generally approach these sorts of obsessions when I work with somebody. But let’s hear what some other people think if they have any experience with these real-life obsessions and what they would recommend. How about it, somebody else?

  • John  04/05/2024 at

    i have dealt with OCd all my life and have reached the point where it is pretty manageable. But I’ve been hit by a curve ball in that 40+ years ago I moved away and didn’t deal with a possible child issue, and I have confessed this sin to Christ and truly do feel forgiven. I feel this is accurate because often I will forget and move on. Other times I will start obsessing that I should go back and search out the truth. I have no desire to do that, I’ve spoken with a couple very respectable strong Christian friends. One is a part time pastor. Both say I’m forgiven and I need to move on. One says I have absolutely no right to go back and stir up a pot that I walked away from and where I was never invited by the mother involved. In fact I was kept out of that loop until a government person wanted money after all decisions were made…. None of which I was ever made aware of. I have made myself very findable on social media if they ever wanted me to be involved. I have prayed extensively about this and left it in gods hands with the mindset that if anyone ever chooses to come and find me and or involve me I would not turn away but if God does not bring that to pass then I will trust that he worked it out for good and someone took responsibility and my position forty years downstream is to be thankful to God and Christ for my forgiveness and try to love god and people right where I am and do His will from a thankful heart. I am ok with this yet I find myself periodically ruminating to an excessive degree that I should go find these people and then??? I don’t desire a relationship with any of them. It is pride and selfish desire to relieve my guilt and the rumination feels very very much like the ruminations I have had too many times in the past on other scrupulosity, harming, etc etc intrusive thoughts. I think I am right to put this in Gods hands and look forward not backwards. And I’m willing if God so ordains and someone knocks on my door. From a human perspective the fact that they never told me what was happening strongly suggests they didn’t want me involved…. Or that it may not even have been mine and I was just part of a government look for any and all partners that match the timeline.

    Any thoughts?

    • admin  04/06/2024 at

      Hi John, You say, ” It is pride and selfish desire to relieve my guilt and the rumination feels very very much like the ruminations I have had too many times in the past on other scrupulosity, harming, etc etc intrusive thoughts. I think I am right to put this in Gods hands and look forward not backwards.” That sounds exactly right. Basically, it sounds like you are looking for more reassurance here on something that you already know the truth about. I don’t blame you…people just don’t understand how strong and how believable obsessional fears become when they strike. However, you have asked enough people. You must trust the people you have consulted when your own confidence in your own decision becomes overtaken by obsessional fear. Very important that you try to stop the ruminations, take the risk of trusting the people you have consulted, and through that trial you will learn to trust in the Lord more. This is certainly the purpose of it all. You might also start seeing an OCD therapist again, as you may well need to proceed with some ERP exercises on this. What do you think?

  • Lynne  03/16/2024 at

    I have been grappling with this verse of Scripture in relation to OCD and cannot get my head around it. “Perfect love casts out all fear”.
    Can anyone help? Many thanks.

    • admin  03/17/2024 at

      That’s a great question. I have always sort of breezed over that passage, assuming that perfect love was closely related to perfect trust. Obviously, if we would have perfect trust in God, then we would not have fear. But this is a good question, because now I can see that there are other more confounding ways to look at this verse. For instance, the greater, we loved someone, one might argue, the more we would fear losing that person. So, let’s take a look at what Martin Luther said about this. The most succinct quote I can find is from his lectures on the first epistle of Saint John.

      “True Christians have love, but they have this from their confidence. For I do not flee from what I love. Therefore if I love God, I do not flee from Him but go to Him as to a Father. Accordingly, just as in war these feelings are mixed, so trembling fights with love, unbelief with faith. Indeed, sometimes it seems that unbelief is victorious. But God supports this weakness, as He did in Christ, who was completely victorious even in the midst of trial. “My God, My God!” He cries (Matt. 27:46). How great this confidence was! “Not as I will, but as Thou wilt,” He says in Matt. 26:39. Therefore He puts His confidence in the will of God…. Perfect love, on the other hand, casts out fear. For perfect or pure love springs from the confidence that constantly takes hold of God.”

      My thought is that we ought to go with this interpretation, even though we might think of others, or OCD might throw up others into our face. The way we want to interpret this verse is that perfect love follows from the confidence that constantly takes hold of God. So, let’s work for that confidence, which is the same as trust. Our cases of OCD offer us with direct opportunities to increase in confidence, to “prove” our trust, and to learn to trust more in God. What do you all think?

  • admin  03/15/2024 at

    Joy, I am so glad you have newfound hope. Please let us know if you run into to some difficulties, which the enemy always seems to find a way to provide. We can offer our two bits of advice!

  • Joy r  03/14/2024 at

    I am so happy that I stumbled on to this website. I have struggled with trying to be a confident believer in Christ and fighting battles with my doubt due to my thought disorder. I have hope now that I know that I am not alone and there are others like me in the world of believers.
    Salvation is a gift that God gives us and we need to be comfortable with the fact that His grace is sufficient enough to carry us through the doubt.

  • Mark  01/29/2024 at

    I heard of this vision a long time ago I’ll share with you guys – I hope it encourages you as it does me.

    This person saw someone (who was a believer) in the ring boxing with Satan and Jesus was the ref. I’m sure you know this but in boxing if you knock your opponent out for 10 seconds and they don’t get up or recover the fight is over.
    The bell rang and the fight began. This person was doing really well against Satan, but then all of a sudden Satan got some shots in. Before the opponent realised it, Satan had wobbled them and landed a huge hit causing them to crash to the canvas.
    Jesus (the ref in the vision) began the count. 1, 2, 3, 4 – there was no movement or life in the person. Jesus continued the count 5, 6, 7, 8 – by now Satan was running around thinking I’ve won this fight it’s over. Jesus continued 9, 10.
    Satan ran to the turnbuckle and celebrated laughing. I won. I won. I won.
    Jesus looked at him and said 11, 12, 13.
    Satan confused and angrily shouted wooooaaahhhhhh wait! I knocked him down for the ten count I won, why are you still counting!!!?!?!?!

    Jesus looked at him and said, Noooo you don’t understand or get it do you? I NEVER COUNT ANY OF MY CHILDREN OUT!

    The prophet encouraged us saying no matter how hard you get hit, no matter how long you’ve been down for know this Jesus will continue the count as long as it takes. He never gives up on anyone and never counts His children out.

    I share that to encourage us all and myself. The count will go on as long as it needs to. We just have to make sure we keep getting up and back in the fight! OCD may hit us, we may give in to compulsions, but Jesus will never count us out!

  • April  01/08/2024 at

    Hello, Doctor. I’m currently in counseling for intrusive thoughts. My counselor recently recommended your book, Can Christianity Cure Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder which i haven’t read yet. I watched your YouTube video which summaries your book. I have a few questions. First, how do you know the brain chemistry is changed? How does one measure it? I’m one of those who is skeptical about clinical depression and OCD as a medical problem. I believe people can be depressed or have OCD, but I’m not onboard with treating with medicine. My second question deals with the technique. One example you used was if someone was afraid of germs they should get their hands dirty and not wash for awhile. How does that work if the thought is bodily harm to others? The mother who thinks about stabbing her children. I don’t think you would suggest that she actually stabs her children, but how would you help her for when those thoughts pop in her mind?

    • admin  01/09/2024 at

      Hi April, the data supporting OCD as a biological disorder is overwhelming. Some of the methods for measuring the changes in brain chemistry are covered in my first book, and in detail in many many other books and articles. So is the data for the effectiveness of SSRI medication’s in the treatment for OCD. I think you’re doing a real disservice to yourself not to use medication’s. From a Christian standpoint, meds are a gift from God for our benefit in the case of OCD. I truly believe that. Your second question is a good one, that is how to treat OCD when the obsessions involve bodily harm. Almost always, we use “imaginal exposure exercises” in these cases. These sorts of exercises are described in most OCD therapy box and some detail. Hope that’s helpful. All the best, Dr.O

  • Mark  12/15/2023 at

    Hi everyone,

    Hope you’re all well 🙂

    I struggle with religious OCD and over the years my OCD has danced around many themes and doctrines. I’ve had religious questions which plagued me and no matter how much research I did it didn’t help but got worse. I currently struggle hugely with the glory of God teaching and my OCD will tell me a real Christian would rejoice in this therefore you’re not a real Christian.

    A theologian friend of mine who hasn’t got OCD or understand it very well gave me some advice sometime which has so helped me I thought I’d share it and see other peoples thoughts.

    He said the key to theology is to able to walk to the edge of the abyss, look over the edge (in other words to explore some of these doctrines in depth when needed), BUT ALWAYS COME BACK TO THE CENTRE. The centre being the simple doctrine that God is good and love.
    Any teaching he said you can’t filter through that foundation it’s either not your time to understand it or you need to trust God and put it on the shelf for now. Either one day you’ll understand it through that filter or maybe you won’t but you can trust God either way and choose to believe that doctrine first.

    That advice has been so helpful to me love to hear other peoples thoughts and experience…..

    • admin  12/18/2023 at

      Great comment, Mark. We must remember that we cannot come to knowledge of God by ourselves. It takes grace, and God knows when we are ready to receive it. I myself have been much helped by the wise counsel, “Christianity is not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be lived.” Needless to say, OCDers think too much.

      In a similar vein, Luther makes this interesting comment in his Commentary on the first 22 Psalms, “the word “holy”… signifies separate and secret; and, in a word, that which can be touched neither by sense nor by the powers of the natural mind. But this is hard to be received by, and unbearable to, human nature ; unless the Spirit of the Lord move upon these waters, and brood over the darkness of this abyss until the light shine.”

      Any other thoughts about good advice in this area?

      • Mark  12/20/2023 at

        100% love that. I been reflecting recently on how it is the Lord who gives spiritual insight. In my OCD battles over doctrines I can read however much I want but I’ll never grasp a subject under fear, OCD or unless the Lord opens my mind to understand it. I truly believe for some of us God is far more interested in us learning to trust Him without answers than giving answers. Maybe then the subjects will become more clear to us or we can live with the uncertainty in trust.

        Flesh and blood did not reveal this to you but my Father in Heaven Peter.
        Proverbs 2:6 – For the Lord gives wisdom and out of His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
        So many Scriptures and passages to illustrate this like the road to Emmeus. The list goes on.

        For me this article really helped and I recommend everyone to read this with similar battles. I feel this is breakthrough the late great Evangelist Billy Graham had is the privileged opportunity God affords to us sufferers.


        May God give us all the grace to learn to trust Him through this battle.


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