OCD and Christianity

Consider the OCDer who wouldn’t commit a sin for the world. Every day, she spends hours and hours attempting to make sure that she doesn’t. An unbidden thought enters her mind: She is “gay.” In her mind’s eye, she sees herself touching another woman. Terrified, at that moment she thinks that the most important thing in the world is to get rid of that thought. She struggles to push it out of her mind. She prays that it will go away. She tries to override it with thoughts of attractive men. Then she prays for forgiveness. She says over and over “I’m not gay, I’m not gay.”It might seem that this woman is an especially good Christian, in view of the fact that she is so  concerned about sinning.

But she’s not. She is actually a most selfish Christian. That’s the way it is with all of us OCDers.  We don’t put any trust at all in God when obsessions hit. We are (face it) control freaks. We won’t let go. We won’t leave to God the things that no one else even worries about. This is offensive to Him. We are seriously displeasing to God (even though God he easily forgives us), for the reason that we lack in faith.

An OCDer goes for a walk in the woods and hears a twig snap. Startled, he snaps his head around. Nothing is there; yet he still worries. Visions of terrible occurrences assail him. He thinks  that the most important thing in the world is for him to do something about this situation. He moves behind a rock. He takes out his cell phone and pre-dials 911, ready to put through the call in an instant. Silently he peeps out, ever alert and vigilant, scanning for danger over and over, in order to reassure himself none is present. What is going on here? This guy trusts neither God to take care of him, nor his own eyes telling him that nothing is there. How self-consumed can you get?

It is said that God permits us to sin more or less grievously in proportion to our pride. My OCD  friend, your OCD is there for a specific purpose–that you become aware of how self-centered you are. You are too blind to recognize it in any other way, God allows this sort of crisis to develop. Then, your eyes finally open, he shows you the answer.

It is to have faith. OCDers are called with a special urgency to put trust in God above all concerns. For OCDers, that task is the most important thing. Take one look, label it as an obsessional fear, and then trust in God’s power and mercy. Give to him the fear and all its implications. God will not allow us to be tested beyond our strength (1Cor 10:13).

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