Scrupulosity: OCD centered around religious themes.
The story of my life.
The obsession: for many years, my head would repeat blasphemous things over and over, sometimes triggered by certain sounds and sometimes by non-specific phrases about hell, demons, souls, the devil.
The compulsion: I began to repeat one particular phrase– “Father God, I love You”– over and over in my head as a way to stem the other thoughts.
It became very difficult to handle everything that was going on: these blasphemous thoughts would crowd me– I mean, really crowd me (the image I have is of these thoughts bumping and grinding on me like dirty brutes at a dance club), and I’d be warding them off by repeating this repetitive prayer over and over (and over and over and over). And on the outside, it didn’t look like anything.
Those who were closest to me (dear friends and roommates and family members) knew that I was going through hell, but they couldn’t see the battle that was taking place. They only knew of it when I told them or on nights when I broke down sobbing in fear of eternal damnation.
It is hard to describe exactly what it feels like to feel as though you’re wearing a sentence of hell on your shoulders. Here’s a shot:
Condemnation (or supposed condemnation) is like being in a tank of water with only inches of air at the top. You have to lean your head back to put your lips to the air, and the whole while you must keep treading water. There is no opportunity for distraction. It consumes every moment of your life.
Anyone reading this understand me?
If so, please read this sermon. I think it might help. My heart aches for you, but there is hope. Lovers of Jesus Christ don’t belong in hell. Let’s talk.
Hello, I’ve been struggling with this fear for about a year now. I’ve hand memories come into my head and a OCD like attack of tormenting blasphemy.
A year ago I came to Christ , well I accepted the truth. The attacks or convictions go like this. There are 3 memories of things I said. I’m not even sure I said them but that’s what my mind is saying.
First one is I’m watching tv and someone was talking in tongues and I said that person was possessed.
Second one is I’m driving down the road and it was around Halloween and these kids were dressed as devils at a church, I said there devil worshipers .
The third one is. That I called god a evil spirit. I tried to remember why I’d say such a thing and I don’t even know why, I didn’t know who god was and after knowing him I couldn’t say them things, I think I was saying them things cause of how evil this world is. But it’s not him it’s the ruler of this age who is bad.
Now I don’t believe these things. And like I said I don’t even remember if I said these things. I never liked religion or knew much about God or Jesus. But one day I started looking for the truth about life and came to the bible after looking at many other religions and science theory’s. anyone willing to talk to me? I’ve prayed a lot over this and tried to explain myself to the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob.
Any help would be awesome. Prayers would be nice also, I’ve confessed and repented with tears and fear like no other to these things even though I don’t remember if I did them or not. Should I have done that? Please help.
I’m going to email you, Charles. Trust me, this is OCD.
It sounds very similar to my situation. We’ll chat and see if we can find obsessions/compulsions.
Hi Jackie. Not sure how it happened but more and more into blasphemy. For the last 6 years I was a strict Catholic. I was and am suffering from depression. Have a very sick wife and felt my prayers were wasted
John, I am so sorry to hear of your atruggles. You believe it is OCD-related?
I feel like I’ve blasphemed the Holy Spirit, also. I was diagnosed with OCD several years ago, but this is a new theme for me, and it is so distressing. I’m also about 34 weeks pregnant, so I know the hormones are making it worse.
I’m ashamed to even type what I thought. I was in a bad mood the other night, feeling like I was about to deal with a night of insomnia, and I was very tired. I remembered some friends of mine joking about pregnancy-induced insomnia being God’s way of preparing you for being awake with the baby all night, and I thought to myself, “Yeah, that must be a part of God’s evil plan.” I was so in shock about that thought. It embarrassed me to tell my husband. I know that God is not evil! He is holy! How dare I even think of Him in such a terrible, sinful way? I asked for forgiveness, but then I remembered the scripture about blaspheming the Holy Spirit.
I feel so unforgivable and condemned. Before, my OCD was mainly about assurance of salvation and mental checking to see if I really believed or not. This is so much worse because I feel so hopeless. I feel so sad that the only person who can forgive me and give me hope is the one who said that no forgiveness is available!
I’m so tired of this.
If you love Jesus, you don’t belong in hell! Have you ever sought out treatment for your OCD? There is help– and HOPE!
hey my name is kingsley I am also dealing with this ocd. insulted words they are good towards god and I don;t mean those words to him I would not say these things to him any ideas?
Kingsley, the best treatment for OCD is exposure and response prevention therapy, which I write about a lot on my blog. There are resources for you at http://www.jackieleasommers.com/ocd!
Your blog has been an answer to prayer for me. It is helpful to know that people have been through what Im going through and got better. I have struggled with OCD off and on since I was a child and four months ago while reading about the unpardonable sin i imagined what the pharisees were thinking of Jesus and since, Ive been feeling guilty and scared. It feels like I’m being tormented. Thank you for your blog.
Oh Brittany, thank you so much for your kind words. I’m sorry to hear about your battles with OCD, but yes, you’re exactly right, there is treatment available. Exposure and response prevention therapy is very powerful, and it was the tool God used to offer me freedom. There are lots of resources regarding ERP/CBT on my blog, so look around, and ask any questions that come to mind!
Thank You! 🙂
I just found your blog and I’m loving it already! I was diagnosed with OCD 2 years ago after a near nervous breakdown. I still struggle with assurance of salvation, but with treatment and lots of TLC from my church family, I’m doing much better. Can’t wait to read more of your thoughts!
Awww thanks, Andrea! Welcome!!
Thank you so much for your insights. I am fighting this battle of continuous blasphemous thoughts at the moment. It’s cyclical and seems to reoccur every few years or so. But first let me start at the beginning:
As a child, although never diagnosed, I had OCD. I had rituals and “balance” issues where if I touched something with my left hand it must be touched by the right. I continually checked light switches, locks on doors and plugs on appliances. I had adopted a breathing technique as well where I would take in ten quick breaths while making sure something was locked or unplugged. it the breathing didn’t “feel right” then I would have to start over. This went on as early as I can remember through the age o 12. I was cured of my rituals through the power of the Holy Spirit when, one night, I was violently crying in aguish over how much anxiety ruled my life. I was beginning to understand that I was different from everyone else in a non-healthy way. Then, in a moment of pure power, the Holy Spirit covered me with this inexplicable peace. My tears stopped. My anxiety was gone. And from that day forward my ritual ceased. This was my miracle, and I will never forget it.
As I’ve gotten older my mind, I think, still suffers. Though I no longer have crippling rituals, I still obsess over things. Namely blasphemy.
I also had a period in my youth where there was some on-going sexual sin. My guilt from rebelling against God’s plan for purity manifested itself in a strange way. I was convinced that I had HIV. Even though my partner at the time and I were virgins and we used protection…my guilt was so great. It ruled my thoughts and ruined my social life. My family became worried. It was awful. I ended up having to be tested several times over the course of a few years to satiate my guilt and stop my fear.
I’ve been through the blasphemy phase once before now. I didn’t really know what the unpardonable sin was at the time. I just had always heard it was going to the grave without confessing that Christ is your savior. During this time Satan made me doubt my salvation. I felt alone. dammed. scared. and depressed. To this day I don’t really remember ever getting over it. Just kind of happened. I developed a little prayer as you did: “I would never blaspheme you, Lord. You know my heart. Forgive me of my sins…” I said this over and over in my mind. it became an automatic thought in itself…I would be thinking this prayer without meaning to. I sought pastoral counsel during this time, but nothing really helped. the thoughts persisted.
Fast-forward to now.
I have become more grounded, I feel, in my faith as an adult. It was actually a week or so ago, at Christmas, I was talking to my father (my best friend and wonderful example of Christ.) and told him that even with all of the hardships in the world and the evil and rebellion there is against God in politics, pop culture, and the majority of people that I could never doubt the existence of Christ and his role in my life. that night the attacks again started. I began having thoughts not of the heart of God, seemingly born of me and my mind. thoughts congruent with attributing Christ’s works to the devil (unpardonable sin). Its been incessant for days now. Its not ruining my life at the moment. I feel different this time around. I feel as If I’m not alone. That God is with me. I know well enough now that the Lord knows my heart and knows my desire for Him, His Word, His Truth. But I cannot stop these thoughts. The anxiety is back, my thoughts seem, at times, uncontrollable. I will never turn my back on Christ. I know its not His will for me to live like this. I honestly feel He is using this to sharpen me, spiritually. So much of my faith has been based on how I feel. If I pray and don’t “feel” God, then is he with me? these are the questions I would have. I know that this trial is removing my ability to trust in feeling and to learn to trust God’s word that I am His saved child in the midst of contrary emotions being placed upon me by the enemy. I have to take God at His word and Have faith that His Word is enough. I am just wondering what advice you might have for me to quell this anxiety or diminish these thoughts. Even thought I am stronger than before I am still in tears over this affliction in the quiet hours of the morning when I am alone and awake. I want the joy of my salvation returned to me and these thoughts be sent back to hell where they belong.
Thank You in Advance,
Dear Jacob, I can relate so strongly to what you’ve been experiencing. My best advice is to embrace uncertainty through exposure and response prevention therapy. You can read a lot about what this therapy looks like if you click on the OCD tab at the top of my website. ERP set me free from these blasphemous thoughts.
It’s scary, because you have to let them come at first. I chose to sidestep this, and you can read about it here: https://jackieleasommers.com/2012/09/05/tipping-point-my-entry/
It’s the very best method for treating OCD. God used ERP as a tool to give me back my life and the joy of my salvation. I hope you’ll investigate and learn more about ERP.
thank you so much for your reply. One thing I keep thinking to myself is that somehow this anxiety can be seen as a gift/blessing. To commit the unpardonable sin is much more than just words. It’s an attitude of the heart that pours hatred into the person of Christ through whom the Holy Spirit worked and works still in modern day believers. To commit the unpardonable sin is to be confronted with the truth of who Christ is and utterly, hatefully reject Him as evil. This is what the Pharisees did. They hated Christ so much and wanted him dead that they resigned his work of defeating evil into evil itself.
I, in no way, have a heart bent toward hatred for my Lord. No matter how bombarded I am with thoughts to the contrary I will always proclaim the name of Christ and stand on his promises. This to shall pass. But in the meantime I’m looking at my anxiety as a blessing to quell my fears because a heart that is truly hateful has no need for anxiety about eternal destination. My anxiety means I’m saved.
In His Love,
I will always push obsessive-compulsives to ERP instead of having them attempt to “come to an understanding” of their “issue”– whatever it is. In my life, the issue just hopped from one spiritual issue to another, so I had to go after the OCD itself, not the spiritual issues. If that makes sense!
You may notice that I’m not responding directly to your thoughts … that’s because usually OCs (including myself) seek reassurance as a compulsion, and I won’t aid OCD! 🙂
I am almost speechless…..
this exact issue…scruplocity (Ocd and religion) has paralyzed me for too many years of my life. I would love…just LOVE to be able to talk to, just relate to someone who understands OCD AND faith in Jesus and can give outside help 🙂
I’d be happy to chat! Email me … my contact info is under the ABOUT tab!
I am speechless……Finding this blog is like a miracle. I suffer from these EXACT same issues…I have been struggling with Scruplocity or OCD and Religion my entire life, and recently it has been paralyzing. I would LOVE, to be able to talk with those who relate and understand where I am coming from, and also just give help from an outside view. Jackie Lea Sommers I would love to talk with you if it is ever possible 🙂
🙂 Happy to be the answer to prayer! Email me: email@example.com. 🙂
Hello, please email me jackieleasommers! I have OCD and I have TERRIBLE and I MEAN TERRIBLE thoughts about the Holy Spirit! sometimes it’s when I pray and sometimes in church and sometimes I accidently say them! Please email! I’m scared God won’t forgive! These thoughts won’t leave!!!!!! I am saved btw
Emailing you now, Hunter!
I have been struggling with racing blaphemous thoughts since 2004 when I lost my mom and gave up my virginity. It has been pure hell!!! I have had horrible thoughts well as others and feel like they are mine and have convinced myself that I think like the devil. I could so need your help. I want to see a professional but so emarrassed what he will think of me. Also afraid what if the medicine doesn’t work and this is the real me 😦 I even have problems with pictures of Jesus and crosses. I imagine myself flipping him off or spitting at them. I feel so dead in my sins and feel like I escape this hell ; ( Please any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Again, this is OCD and needs to be treated! Once you treat the OCD, the obsessions and compulsions go away!!
Hello I have been suffering with racing nonstop blaphemous thought since 2004 when I lost my mom and lost my virginity. Then that’s when this nightmare of hell began! I feel like I can’t escape and feel so dead in my sins.I believe Jesus died on the cross for me and raised from the dead. I even tested myself on it and said the opposite and I felt evil saying it and didn’t feel right. I would really appreciate any help you could give me. I want to seek professional help but feel too embarrassed of what he/she may think of me. Please help!!!
Hi dear Marlene,
Oh, do I ever know w hat you’re going through! It’s AWFUL, just sheer torture, I know. I went through that for 20 years before I underwent ERP therapy which changed my ENTIRE LIFE. I hope you will do two things: 1) read the letter at http://www.jackieleasommers.com/OCD and 2) read ALL the posts about ERP/CBT at http://www.jackieleasommers.com/OCD. You might also want to read the posts about Christianity.
The important thing for you to start realizing is that you need to treat the OCD, not the obsessions. The sooner you realize that you don’t need to work through all those issues … but that you need to just go right after the OCD … the better. Imagine if cancer was what made you think bad thoughts. Would you still try to figure out the thoughts or try to just get rid of the cancer?
Read ALL those posts I mentioned, then let me know if you have questions, okay? I especially hope you will read the post about my Post-ERP Spiritual Growth. As I said before, everything is different– and better– in my life since 2008 when I did ERP.
And no need to worry about what a professional would think– if you work with an ERP/OCD specialist, they are going to be used to this kind of thing … it’s a very common OCD theme!
Hello, I know this post is old, but I just came across it and was wondering if you’re still available to talk about this more through email?
Hello! I know this post is older, but I came across this post while doing my normal OCD Google session, and I was wondering if you’re possibly able to email more about this?
Hello Courtney! I’ve actually pulled back from emailing about OCD because I found how unhealthy it was for me (and often, for them too– if they keep asking questions, it just perpetuates compulsions). I hope you’ll read my letter at http://www.jackieleasommers.com/OCD-help and all the posts about ERP/CBT (the #1 treatment for OCD) at http://www.jackieleasommers.com/OCD. Thanks for understanding! I DO know what you’re going through– believe me, I do! I hope you’ll read these two posts, which address your concerns head-on:
Bless you! The sooner you can start ERP, the better!
Could you please email me jackieleasommers I have OCD and I have cursed the Holy Spirit (F-word), I have no idea where it came from, but was reading Matthew 12 about the unpardonanle sin when I said it. No matter what I do it seems to get worse, I would appreciate your thoughts. I am in anguish and torment. I have accepted Christ as my Savior.
Hi Rob, believe me, I understand that torment! Discussing theology will not help. You have to treat the OCD with exposure therapy, which you can learn about at http://www.jackieleasommers.com/OCD. Believe me, I GET IT. I spent YEARS in anguish. But I found relief and joy after ERP therapy ONLY.
Please read these posts:
I need some real help here and would appreciate all the advice I can get. 🙂
I am a Christian and have been since August 2014, and was earlier as a child. I have a problem with OCD and depression, and since I found out about the unpardonable sin in the bible (Matthew 12, Mark 3, Luke 12) my mind latched onto it and at that point I began studying extensively on Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit. The things that those awful pharisees said about him came into my mind, and whether it was intrusive or belief I don’t know, but everyday since August that year I have been living in terror and fear of condemnation.
Everyone who knows me says I have a good heart and put others before myself, including my wife which is great. At the end of the day, all I care about is my relationship with God the father, and Jesus the son. During my early days throughout this terror I used to obsessively read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John with the hope I feeling rest-assured that I trusted Jesus beyond a shadow of a doubt. Unfortunately, back then everytime I would read the book of ‘John’ I would get all these blasphemous thoughts against Jesus similar to what the pharisees said about him. I felt as if there was no hope, and did I try to block the thoughts? Hell yes…
I had thoughts like “He is possessed by….” ” He healed with….” especially when my faith was low in Christ. Even still then, I tried my best to rebuke those thoughts immediately and replace them with good thoughts about God. It didn’t always work, and was left feeling dead.
I began seeing a psychologist in finding ways to cure this OCD with ERP – Exposure Prevention Therapy. It was frightening to have to voice about the very thoughts that constituted the unpardonable sin, but eventually I tried then broke down into tears asking Jesus for forgiveness.
I did come to a conclusion that only God can heal, whereas Satan Destroys, lies and condemns. So whenever I had doubts about Jesus, I would just remember that.
Even today, I would wake up in the morning feeling sick and worried to my stomach, anxious and condemned and feeling hopeless. I knew that despite what thoughts or doubts came to me, I would pray and follow Jesus unto death, even if I have committed the unpardonable. It happens more often when I first wake up, haven’t eaten in hours, or when I am feeling tired.
I love Jesus Christ and have got all the reassurance that he is the son of God but these intrusive thoughts/doubts still come. As soon as I think about our lord and savior these uncontrollable awful words pop in my head “lucifer” “lucifer’s power” “devil” “demonic” etc. I have even had mental breakdowns and have damaged property in my home out of anger and utter hopelessness. Even when I think along the lines of how Jesus healed – I have to say HOLY SPIRIT in heaven out loud or think it to avoid the wrong word from coming in immediately, and without any control. I am always down and upset, I believe now 100% that Jesus is our God after so much scripture and pastoral information. I really need some help as this condemnation has been going on for a year and a half. Am I safe? Am I condemned?
All I know is that I believe in Jesus as our lord unto death haven’t spoken out like the pharisees did in Matthew 12 and Mark 3, who KNEW Jesus was of God but publicly rejected him due to jealousy and prideful-ness, which is not of me.
Hi friend. I was in the same spot and understand the terror. What gave me back my life and joy was ERP therapy. You can read more about my experience with this and how it has affected my spiritual life for the better at http://www.jackieleasommers.com/OCD.
Do you reckon that what I described above is OCD or willful rejection? When this ordeal started whenever I read a line spoken by Jesus in the book of John I would get very bad blasphemous thoughts, thinking who is he to say that he is the Resurrection etc etc. But now I finally understand who he is. I just can’t wipe the unpardonable thoughts out of my mind and everytime I go online for help I just find myself thinking more that I’ve committed it because what I’ve described above is well you know… I love Jesus and I follow him unto death, but would/will he forgive me now?
Thanks for your advice Jackie
This sounds identical to my OCD. there is help and hope and freedom through ERP.
It has been a very depressing, tormenting and hopeless experience for the last year and a half. I am a good person with great intentions and I definitely love Jesus. It was only when this problem began that I started having blasphemous thoughts and thought Christ could have been of the devil, because of all those confusing scriptures in John, and then believing the pharisees vs believing in jesus, who was/were right. Then I kept coming back to one thing, the devil doesn’t heal, only God does. Jesus is the lamb of God who came into the world to save us from every single sin we have and are committing. Then I go online and search all I can about OCD and the Unpardonable Sin and I feel more condemned because I cannot find a single person who is going through what I am, as severe as it is.
Mine was as severe and lasted twenty years. Checkmate. 🙂 you can get better, but the key is ERP, not giving into compulsions. May I give you a homework assignment? Read all the posts about ERP and all the posts about Christianity at http://www.jackieleasommers.com/OCD. it will give you something to occupy your thoughts and you’ll learn a TON about how to get your life back and enjoy your faith again.
BELIEVE ME. I understand. I wish I didn’t, but I do. I was trapped in that torturous cycle for two decades. And I am still telling you there is hope. Go read those posts.. friend. All of them.
I am literally afraid of going to church and being judged and deemed as unpardonable because of this mental cycle which they would never understand. I just want this problem to be over once and for all, and to be free. When thoughts come in like Jesus is the enemy or jesus is lucifer, I would just rather be like “I rebuke you in Jesus name” and go about my day. Thanks, in advance for your help Jackie. It feels so disheartening to see people say the unforgivable sin is when you see an undeniable miracle of God in Jesus and say it’s of a certain someone else… but a person like me with OCD/anxiety still gets those doubts and intrusive thoughts anyway, and I just wound up being confused about why the pharisees rejected jesus… etc etc. Just a huge analysis that would never end.
I doubt you can think of anything I haven’t already thought of. 🙂 Breathe and read my posts. I’ve been there and I’m not there now, haven’t been since 2008.
Ok 🙂 What posts in particular? I should also let you know that I have mild Asperger’s. I was picked on in school in literally every year, had a couple of girlfriends who dumped me after only a month of dating because I over analyse, worry and over think all the time (when in fact I am just cautious and deeply concerned). My wife keeps telling me that I am not like those pharisees who knew in their hearts that jesus was god and deliberately went against the law.
All the posts. You’ll find time.
Go to http://www.jackieleasommers.com/OCD. everything about ERP and everything about Christianity
I’ve had a good read, what were your experiences with the unpardonable sin?
I live in anxiety whole year. It started when I was thinking about Holy Spirit and somehow come to my mind that Holy Spirit is stupid. When I´ve realised what I was thinking about I said to myself with fear that it ´s not true, Holy Spirit is not stupid and He is God. I felt sorry about that and apologised, but than I start thinking that I probably crossed the line and blasphemed Holy Spirit. At that time I was home because of depression and than it became worst. Nothing could help. I ve repead over and over, that the one who comes to Jesus will not be cast out. But what about people which blasphemed Holy Spirit? Jesus said that they never has forgivness.
And than has happend something else. I was thinking about some manifestations at church, I ve started to doubt it and finally I said to myself that it cant be from God, that it is not his work and it is nowhere in the Bible. And after that again I started fear that I maybe said something against Holy Spirit´s work. And now I dont know what to do. I´m praying to God everyday that I cant live in such insecurity whether he has forgave me or not. It´s so hard when you dont know most important thing in your life and you dont know where to turn. My pastor said, that it is ok when I havent said it out loud … but I think that words are just expressions of our thoughts and its mostly the same. Please someone could help?
Thank you for this sight and your compassion for those of us who have suffered with this terrible problem. I know how tormenting Scrupulosity can be, as I suffered with it for many years. I used to think that I was the only one. What sets me free is knowing that God truly is merciful and loving and He is not out to catch us in some sin and then toss us into hell forever. I believe that the Church has some misunderstood and incorrect doctrines that cause a tremendous amount of fear. Some web sites and well meaning Christians make Scrupulosity much worse by suggesting that some people have no hope, even if they sincerely repent or they may say that a person “probably” has not committed the “unforgiveable” sin. There is a Christian song by Steve Green that has a line in the chorus that goes “The deepest sin cant rise above Calvary’s love”.
That is so beautiful, Cathy. I need to look up that Steve Green song!
Hi Jackie I hope you can read this I’m 15 year old I’ve become soo worried ill go to hell I stumbled upon a verse in the Bible about the unforgivable sin aka blasphemy against the holy spirit my heart started to beat so fast then suddenly I started to remember old memories and incident the first was when I was young, I don’t remember specifically which age I was but I was less then 9 or 10 years old for sure I remember I was young I was reading some religious book and I was”god is the devil he crucified Jesus…… ” idk that much about Christianity I was young so idk if this was blasphemy to the holy spirit I’m terrified ill spend eternity in hell also I had thought about Jesus dressing up as the devil and like God flirting with nuns suddenly all this memories are flashing back I was younger then 10 back then now I’m scared it was actually blasphemy
Hello dear sweet Maya, based on what is occurring in the context of that verse, I don’t think you’ve done anything unforgivable. I hope that you can find some comfort in hearing that!
I struggle with condemnation and the bible. I have ocd and other disorders, also I’m deaf/hard of hearing which makes everything worse because I have hard time making out what people are talking about in any situation I’m in whether work or home or social gatherings whereever I go, so I stay home and withdrawn, my communication skills are poor and not knowledgable how how hearing people talk and communicate and have relationships. I have obession with condemnation too all the time.
Will, that is so, so hard. I recommend checking out a book like Freedom from OCD by Dr. Jonathan Greyson and learning (and eventually implementing) exposure therapy into your life! God used it to set me free!