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Blasphemous Thoughts: The Ultimate Guide 

 July 8, 2020

By  Jaimie Eckert

Blasphemous thoughts can intrude upon the most devoted believer -- but for some, they become chronic, sticky, and absolutely terrifying. In this guide, we'll cover everything you ever wanted to know about these intrusive thoughts, such as:


  • What are blasphemous thoughts (meaning)?
  • Are blasphemous thoughts sin?
  • Will God forgive blasphemous thoughts?
  • Does God forgive intrusive thoughts?
  • Can you commit blasphemy in your mind?
  • Is there a way on how to get rid of blasphemous thoughts?
  • And many more... 

You are a devoted follower of God. You've pledged yourself to His service and have poured out your heart in surrender, love, and commitment. God is your life. But on days when awful, profane thoughts pop into your mind unbidden, you can't help but question your entire religious experience. You keep having blasphemous thoughts.

What are examples of blasphemous thoughts?

  • Intrusive thoughts about God
  • Thoughts that make you doubt your beliefs...
  • Thoughts that urge you to curse God, deny Christ, or pray to Satan...
  • Thoughts about ugly, sacrilegious deeds you dare not express...
  • Even nasty blasphemous thoughts against the Holy Spirit and God that seem to beat in the rhythm of everyday sounds.

Why do I have these thoughts as a true believer? 

You don't want these thoughts, and you don't like them. When they force themselves into your mind, you panic. You push back frantically, trying your best to stay true to what you really believe and love. The more you struggle, the worse these thoughts become, until you exhaust yourself with anxiety and fear. You swear you didn't mean to think those thoughts -- but how do you really know?

Unwanted thoughts about God or religion happen to every spiritually inclined person. 

But for some people, they can come with so much repetition and intensity that you might feel like you're going crazy. Typically, these are people who have scrupulosity, also known as religious OCD.

"OCD" is often used as an adjective for people who like to keep things clean and tidy. However, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a real mental health issue that affects about 2% of the world's population.

Sometimes the subject matter of OCD is germs. Sometimes it is orderliness. But other times it relates to religion, morality, sexuality, or the potential of causing harm to others. For those with religious obsessions and compulsions, sacrilegious and profane thoughts are surprisingly common.

Before you continue reading, it will be important to have your blasphemous thoughts results in mind as you read this guide. 

Take the quiz below to determine if your profane thoughts are caused by religious OCD or not. It will be important to know your results for the remaining sections of this article, so go ahead and take it now (you won't need to leave this page and your results will be shown right here). 

If your results indicated that your blasphemous thoughts are likely caused by moral OCD, this article is for you. You'll find here a complete and redemptive guide to dealing with the profane thoughts of scrupulosity.

Before you move on, be sure to like my Facebook page, follow me on Twitter, and subscribe to my Youtube channel for secrets and insights about OCD and blasphemous thought.

Why Do I Have Bad Religious Thoughts?

Not all "bad" religious thoughts are the same. Sometimes a scary doubt or negative thought can actually be positive. Other times, they can be completely worthless, unimportant mental noise. Let's take a look at three kinds of uncomfortable religious thoughts you may be experiencing in greater detail:

1

Convictions that don't fit with your faith community

2

A new experience and level of being "real" with God

3

The intrusive thoughts of religious OCD (scrupulosity)

Type 1: Convictions that Don’t Fit With Your Faith Community

Human beings are designed to live in community. We crave a sense of belonging. Connections give us a feeling of safety, so we are very hesitant to do anything against the norm that may endanger our social belongingness.

That’s one reason why it’s so tough to change religious beliefs.

Most spiritually inclined people are deeply enmeshed in a religious community. Some may even be employed by a particular ministry or church organization. Getting doubts about your beliefs and practices can carry a lot of far-reaching implications!

Not surprisingly, challenges to your long-held beliefs can be hard to handle, particularly if you are enmeshed in a faith community that expects you to be unswervingly loyal to these beliefs.

But guess what? Most of us on planet earth don’t have all our ducks in a row. In fact, I would go so far as to say that there isn’t a single religious system or denomination that has 100% of God’s truth.

We just don’t. None of us do.

This doesn’t mean truth is relative or that I would endorse postmodern philosophical foundations. But let’s have a bit of methodological humility and admit that although some denominations are more biblical than others, no one can claim to know everything.

“Now we know in part,” says the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:12, but we don’t know in totality. God probably chuckles as He watches us argue over doctrinal points. We know 0.00002% of all there is to know in the universe and yet we spew dogma as if we know everything.

Apostle Paul 1 Corinthians 13:12

For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

Don’t get me wrong — studying and learning is good. I’m working on my fourth degree. I’m all for philosophizing and churning out apologetic answers.

But we ought to be humble and admit that there is a lot we don’t know. There are things we might be wrong about. There are things our entire faith community might be missing, just like the Jews missed out on the Messiah when He came.

Getting an onslaught of spiritual doubts that go against the grain of your faith community might be very disturbing to you. It might feel like you’re betraying God, your beliefs, and the people you love.

But maybe those doubts have some truth to them. If they are backed by evidence from Scripture, and they keep coming back around, it might be God convicting your heart.

How Do I Know If This Is My Type of Blasphemous Thought?

This type of scary religious thought -- conviction about something new -- may apply to you if:

  • Your so-called "blasphemous thoughts" are questions or doubts about your faith community's doctrines
  • Your thoughts are criticisms of the way your faith community operates or treats people
  • Your thoughts are related to logic or "making sense" 

The scary thoughts of conviction probably don't apply to you if:

  • Your blasphemous thoughts are bizarre, repetitive, and illogical
  • Your thoughts are not a direct question or criticism of any part of the spiritual experience but feel more like "attacks" against God

What Should I Do If This Describes Me?

If you think your uncomfortable doubt is a legitimate conviction, don't run from it.

Be willing to submit yourself to the Word of God, even if it's teaching you something new or at odds with your faith community.

I have a very international social group, and many of my friends grew up in non-Christian families. Many of them experienced social difficulties and even persecution when they began doubting their beliefs. In the beginning, they felt like these thoughts were strange and unwanted, but as they investigated further, they discovered truth and beauty.

Guess what? This experience isn't just for non-Christian religions or cults. 

God is leading all of us through a constant process of refinement. There is always more to learn, more to grow. Just because you're Christian doesn't mean you've got it all right yet! Doubt can be a powerful tool in God's hand to convict you of greater truth.

Type 2: Being “Real” with God

Having a seemingly awful thought towards God may also be a sign of deepening authenticity.

In my younger years, I used to have a Pollyanna-type relationship with God. Everything was perfect, I was thankful for everything that came my way (or at least I tried to convince myself of this), and I only brought my positive emotions to God.

Having a seemingly awful thought towards God may also be a sign of deepening authenticity.

Even when I felt confused, stressed, and angry, I blamed myself. I stuffed it down and thought it would be “unholy” to express in prayer.

But after going through a series of severe difficulties, I finally cracked. Why was God allowing this to happen to me? Why didn’t He intervene?

I fell to my knees and poured out my bitterness in prayer. As it says in Psalm 142:2, “I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare before Him my trouble.” I complained — and not with Pollyanna’s positive outlook.

Over the next weeks, as I passed through more challenging times, I continued voicing negative thoughts about God. They were raw. Real. Authentic.

Most people, if they would have heard the kinds of complaints I made against God, would have thought I was on the brink of atheism. But I wasn’t. I was finally breaking out of the super-Christian façade. And God, I believe, was ok with that.

Having negative or blasphemous thoughts against God does not always mean there is something wrong with you.

Having negative or blasphemous thoughts against God does not always mean there is something wrong with you. It may be a sign that you are breaking apart an old habit of toxic positivity and becoming more “real” in your relationship with God.

How Do I Know If This Is My Type of Blasphemous Thought?

This type of blasphemous thought may apply to you if:

  • You have a history of being an overly-positive super-Christian
  • You typically hold back or stuff down your emotions, particularly in your relationship with God
  • You find yourself going through very difficult times and are struggling to maintain your emotional façade

But these scary thoughts against God probably don’t apply to you if:

  • You already have a balanced relationship with God that includes the ability to voice your feelings
  • Your thoughts against God are illogical and unrelated to any past traumas or present challenges in your life

If you find yourself having scary, unwanted blasphemous thoughts against God that are not caused by spiritual conviction and are not caused by a new relationship of authenticity with God, there’s one more possible cause. Let’s investigate our third and last option.

Type 3: The Intrusive Thoughts of Religious OCD

An “intrusive thought” is a name for something that happens when you have certain mental health disorders. Most often, intrusive thoughts happen to people who have obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Intrusive thoughts are words, mental images, ideas, or any other kind of thought that pops into your mind unbidden and unwanted. It causes severe distress, since you typically don’t know where it came from and why you’re thinking about something that strikes so violently against your core beliefs and loyalties. To make it worse, these thoughts won’t go away. They are:

  • Repetitive
  • Persistent
  • Unwanted
  • Distressing
  • Alien
  • Distracting
  • Anxiety-Inducing

Intrusive thoughts have nothing to do with your spiritual reality.

Since most people who have OCD typically struggle with one or two main areas of obsession, intrusive thoughts can center on many different themes. If you have OCD, you may get intrusive thoughts in one or more of the following areas:

  • Contamination (obsession about spreading germs or contracting a disease)
  • Harm (afraid you may lose control and hurt someone)
  • Sexuality (obsession about possibly being a homosexual, a pedophile, or a sexual predator)
  • Philosophy (obsessions about whether you truly exist or not, or whether your life has meaning)
  • Morality (fear that you have made ethical mistakes)
  • Spirituality (obsessions about being damned, urges to curse God or commit sacrilegious acts)

Do you have scrupulosity? Take the test HERE!

These kinds of blasphemous thoughts are different from the first two. The first two signal a growing, maturing Christian experience. But intrusive thoughts have nothing to do with your spiritual reality. Instead, they are signs of a mental health condition.

If you have these kinds of blasphemous thoughts, you should know that it isn’t part of a normal religious experience, and it isn’t your fault for having this. And thankfully, it’s something you can fix.

What Is Scrupulosity? And Why Do I Get These Bad Religious Thoughts?

“Scrupulosity” is another name for Religious OCD. It’s what happens when obsessive-compulsive disorder hijacks your spirituality. It comes from the word “scruples” — a strong moral or ethical reservation.

Scrupulosity has three main parts:

  1. Obsessions
  2. Compulsions
  3. Intrusive Thoughts

Very often — or, let me say, extremely often — these intrusive thoughts are unwilling, unwanted blasphemous thoughts against God.

To read more about the obsessions and compulsions of scrupulosity, read my Ultimate Guide to Scrupulosity here!

Scrupulosity is when obsessive-compulsive disorder hijacks your spirituality.

What kind of blasphemous thoughts are we talking about? Here are a few of the most common ones:

  • Abusive words towards God
  • Disavowing, rejecting, or denying Christ
  • Projection of “self” as God or thoughts of receiving worship
  • Hatred or negative emotions towards God
  • Sacrilegious mental images
  • Inappropriate sexual thoughts about God or other religious figures
  • Intrusive thoughts about worshipping Satan or being possessed by a demon

Does this sound like what you’re experiencing? Well, read on.

I’ll help you break down the most important facts you need to know to stop these blasphemous thoughts in their tracks.

What Are Intrusive Thoughts?

Many of the clients I work with are very bothered by their blasphemous thoughts because they aren’t convinced that these thoughts are not from them. They struggle to differentiate between their thoughts and the alien productions of OCD.

Let me share one secret that will make this process easier.

There are two ways to categorize thoughts:

  1. Ego-Syntonic
  2. Ego-Dystonic

An ego-syntonic thought is anything you think that is in accordance with your ego. It is a thought that feels harmonious with your core values and beliefs. It is a thought that affirms the “real you.”

Now, not every ego-syntonic thought is objectively correct. For example, Nazi soldiers believed that the Arian race was superior to Jews and that ethnic cleansing would bring about a race of Übermenschen. When they brutally murdered the Jews during the holocaust, many were acting in accordance with their values and beliefs.

Thus, their thoughts and intents to kill Jews was ego-syntonic. It was not ethically right, but it was internally harmonious for their egos.

Intrusive thoughts are alien, foreign, and disgustingly undesired.

On the other hand, an ego-dystonic thought is any thought which seems to conflict with the ego. It seems alien, as though coming from outside the “true self.” It is unwanted, unplanned, uninitiated.

Ego-dystonic thoughts, also, may be objectively correct or incorrect — but they are perceived as being at odds with the self.

Is It Me, or My OCD? 4 Characteristics of Intrusive Thoughts

Intrusive thoughts (including the blasphemous kind) have four main characteristics. I like to summarize these four characteristics with the acronym RUMP. Intrusive thoughts are:

  1. Repetitive
  2. Unwanted
  3. Meaningful
  4. Powerful

Let’s look at each of these characteristics and how it is important to finding our escape from blasphemous thoughts.

Intrusive Thoughts are Repetitive

The first characteristic of intrusive thoughts is repetitiveness (the “R” in RUMP).

Have you ever gotten a thought that just won’t go away, no matter what you do? It just keeps coming back and consuming your attention. It makes you feel like you have to solve it or do something to make it go away.

You may struggle with a blasphemous thought for several hours, days, or even years. John Bunyan, author of the famous Pilgrim’s Progress, struggled with blasphemous thoughts urging him to deny Christ. He spent up to several hours of each day struggling against these thoughts. It was a challenge that went on for years before he found relief.

The repetitive nature of intrusive thoughts mean they’ll keep coming back again and again. And if you get bored of one, it’ll morph into a different form to make sure it maintains your attention.

The repetitive nature of intrusive thoughts means they'll keep coming back again and again.

Intrusive Thoughts are Unwanted

Again, intrusive thoughts are ego-dystonic. They are unwanted and seem to come from beyond the conscious ego. They are alien, foreign, and disgustingly undesired.

This marks a key difference between the “apostate” and the person with OCD. If someone honestly wishes to change his religious status, leave his religion, curse God, or use abusive language towards a deity, he will do so without reservation.

But for the person who gets these thoughts while simultaneously having a deep sense of loyalty towards God, it is clearly unwanted. This constitutes the “U” in our acronym RUMP. Intrusive thoughts are Repetitive, Unwanted, and now we will see that they appear to have Meaning.

are your blasphemous thoughts in harmony with your ego

Intrusive Thoughts are Meaningful

No intrusive thought would cause fear unless it seemed to have some kind of inherent meaning.

Most people with OCD do believe that their intrusive thoughts are meaningful — either that they will come true or already have.

  • Having an abusive thought against God MEANS you believe that thought
  • Thinking something sacrilegious MEANS you are apostate or damned
  • Getting random thoughts that you might be praying to yourself MEANS you are prideful and believe you are God

Since intrusive thoughts are ego-dystonic, they don’t have the same inherent meaning that purposeful thoughts do. They are not chosen thoughts, therefore they are not meaningful. But they are perceived to be meaningful, which makes them ever-so-uncomfortable.

Intrusive Thoughts are Powerful

We have seen how intrusive thoughts are Repetitive, Unwanted, and Meaningful — now we will see that they are also viewed as being very Powerful (RUMP).

These intrusive, blasphemous thoughts are believed to have power to actually cause something to happen. For the person with religious OCD, this typically relates to a person’s spiritual life and destiny.

The perceived power (and notice I do not say “real” power) of intrusive thoughts relates to something called “thought-action fusion.” This is a term used with mental health issues to refer to the magical, almost superstitious connection that some people make between thoughts and reality.

But the bottom line? Thoughts have VERY little relationship to the real world. If they did, I would just sit down and think up a million dollars for myself.

But that doesn’t work. Everybody has crazy fantasies, mean intentions, and ugly thoughts from time to time. But most people never act on these thoughts, so they are never actualized in real life. In fact, you cant even be held accountable for your thoughts in a court of law — only for actions!

So another important point about intrusive thoughts is that they are believed to have power (even though they do not).

Intrusive thoughts are believed to have power (even though they do not)

This summarizes the four main characteristics of intrusive thoughts: they are Repetitive, Unwanted, Meaningful, and Powerful (RUMP). This can help you differentiate between your own thoughts and the intrusive thoughts of OCD.

Those Naughty Intrusive Thoughts — Here’s What Else They Can Cause!

Unfortunately, intrusive blasphemous thoughts aren’t alone when they ring the doorbell. They bring the whole gang: obsessions and compulsions, too!

Having these scary, unwanted, perceived-to-be-meaningful thoughts can be so distressing that people go to great lengths to fix them. This well-intentioned “fixing” takes two main forms.

First of all, the scrupulous person will begin with obsession. Why did I have that blasphemous thought? Was it really me? What will this mean for my eternal salvation? Should I ask forgiveness, or is it too late?

The blasphemous thought brings an incredible load of false guilt and feelings of impending doom. Like the prophet Isaiah cried out, “Woe is me! For I am undone,” the scrupulous person feels that they are at the very end of their lifeline. Everything feels out of order, uncertain, terrifying.

This is where compulsions enter the picture — the second attempt to “fix” blasphemous thoughts.

A compulsion is any action that is done in order to alleviate the feelings of anxiety that come with the blasphemous thoughts.

A compulsion is any action that is done in order to alleviate the feelings of anxiety that come with the blasphemous thoughts

These compulsions are meant to cancel, resist, fix, solve, or atone for the negative religious thoughts. For example:

  • Praying a prayer of repentance
  • Repeating verses a certain number of times
  • Ruminating on the event to try to figure out if your blasphemous thought was genuine
  • Seeking reassurance from a religious leader that you are not damned and have not committed the unpardonable sin
  • Giving in charity, making personal sacrifices, or making pacts with God

These kinds of compulsive behaviors do not spring from a heart of genuine worship. They are panicked, reactive responses to ego-dystonic religious thoughts.

Which means two things: first of all, these compulsions aren’t necessary. Second of all, they aren’t effective. Not only do they lack the true spirit that is necessary for genuine worship, but they are also ineffective at fixing your obsessive-compulsive anxiety. For that reason, compulsions are generally viewed negatively during the recovery process.

You Aren’t Blaspheming; It’s Your Intrusive Thoughts

Everybody has weird, inappropriate thoughts from time to time. Most people let the thought go in one side of the brain and right back out the other.

But for people with OCD, these unwanted thoughts are sticky. They hang out and overstay their welcome until we are whipped into a frenzy of anxiety.

The important thing to realize is that these blasphemous thoughts, fundamentally, are intrusive and ego-dystonic.

They are not your own.

Therefore, we may treat them like enemy intruders and we may treat ourselves with acceptance and mercy.

We may treat intrusive thoughts like enemy intruders and we may treat ourselves with acceptance and mercy

What Does the Bible Say About Blasphemous Thoughts?

Perhaps you’ve gone to Google and typed in “Bible verses about blasphemy” and have been terribly discouraged by what you find.

Yes, the Bible does talk about blasphemy. But the discussion needs to take place with an understanding of of mental health, which is often not the primary focus of Bible passages.

There are two paths we can take when we ask, “what does the Bible say about blasphemous thoughts?”

The first route is to analyze passages that talk about blasphemy as ego-syntonic, chosen, willful behavior.

The second route is to analyze passage that speak to the reality of blasphemous thoughts that are ego-dystonic, alien, and unwanted.

What we find in both categories is surprising! If you’ve based your understanding of blasphemous thoughts on only one or two verses, you might be astonished to see the complexity and layers of nuance in the complete picture.

Bible Verses About Purposeful Blasphemy

Many people have the idea that “blasphemy” is the act of using a curse word against God or resisting the Holy Spirit to some kind of vague “point of no return.”

This is a constricted, incomplete picture of what blasphemy means! And because it’s such a narrow-minded definition, it seems deceptively easy to fall into by accident.

Most people have a very narrow understanding of what the Bible actually says about blasphemy

However, when it comes to willful, purposeful blasphemy, there are a number of factors involved.

  1. Spiritual Treason: making yourself god
  2. Royal Disrespect: ignoring, challenging, or showing disdain for the distinction between Creator and creature
  3. Idolatry and Disobedience: turning away from God

As you can see, there are multiple aspects to blasphemy. Think of “blasphemy” as another word for a coup d’état — when guerrilla soldiers come in to forcibly remove the government. Blasphemy is any human attempt to replace God — and this can manifest itself in pride, egocentrism, idolatry, cursing God, ignoring God, being disobedient, and claiming to have divine powers.

Certainly, the idea that “blasphemy” is merely cursing God or offending the Holy Spirit is a very narrow definition.

“Blasphemy” as Spiritual Treason

God is our Creator, our King, and our Lord. He’s the boss — even over those who don’t believe in Him.

Treason occurs when you try to challenge His role as boss and become the boss yourself. Lots of Bible verses refer to this.

And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, “Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

Mark 2:6-7

Only the King can make legal rulings to dole out justice or forgive sins. A common peasant would be out of line if he attempted to make a royal declaration. This is what the scribes assumed when they heard Jesus claiming to forgive sins. Only God can do that, they thought — so Jesus must be committing blasphemy. For them, blasphemy was a form of treason, of claiming to do something that only God could do.

blasphemy was a form of treason, of claiming to do something that only God could do

A prime example of blasphemy’s “treason” is seen in the prophetic forewarnings of Revelation’s terrifying beast power — also called the “Son of Perdition” in 2 Thessalonians. This power would exalt himself as God and blaspheme His name to the point of getting everyone who is not saved to worship himself.

Blasphemy, in this usage, literally means to put yourself in God’s place.

Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4

And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven.

It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

Revelation 13:5-8

Jesus was constantly having fiascos related to blasphemy.

The things He said and did as the Son of God were appropriate — but if any other human being would have done them, it would have counted as blasphemy — treason against God. An attempt to wrest God’s throne from Him.

The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.”

John 10:33

The religious leaders were upset because Jesus, whom they thought was a mere man, had seemingly crossed a line by declaring Himself one with God. Later, when standing before the court, Jesus made a similar statement which, for any other person, would have been severely blasphemous.

But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, “I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!” Jesus said to him, “It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, “He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy!

Matthew 26:63-65

“Blasphemy” as Royal Disrespect

US President Harry Truman used to begin each day with a staff meeting at 8:30. One day during this meeting, the mail clerk brought him a lavender envelope sealed with an ornate wax seal and bound with elegant ribbons. It was a letter from King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia.

The letter opened with the salutation, “Your Magnificence.”

President Truman chuckled and told his staff, “I like that. I don’t know what you guys call me when I’m not here, but it’s okay if you refer to me from now on as ‘His Magnificence.’”

Some time later, President Truman worked with the UN to support the importation of 100,000 Jews into Palestine. He then received a second letter from Ibn Saud. But this time, the letter began with the simple words, “Dear Mr. President.”

Apparently, the king’s lavish respect for President Truman had its limitations!

But it leads us to a question: what is respect?

It is the appropriate response given to a person that duly recognizes his or her status and role.

As created human beings, we owe respect to God as our Creator, Lord, and King

As created human beings, we owe respect to God as our Creator, Lord, and King. He is the One who created us, saved us, and rules us. Though He is close and personal to each one of us, there is still an immense gap of ontological distance. God is God, and we are His servants.

Not His equals. Not His pals.

A healthy ability to distinguish between His role as king and our role as subjects will protect us from blasphemy. Today, aspects of God’s closeness have almost been overemphasized to the point of erasing the Creator-creature distinction. God is portrayed as a buddy-buddy “nice guy in the sky” and humans are said to have a “spark of divinity” within them.

This is a form of blasphemy!

The Bible has several verses that speak about blasphemy as royal disrespect. For example:

Whom have you reproached and blasphemed?
Against whom have you raised your voice,
And lifted up your eyes on high?
Against the Holy One of Israel.

2 Kings 19:22

This was a rebuke to Sennacherib, the king who openly challenged Yahweh’s ability to save Israel from their enemies.

Here’s another somewhat lengthy example of how blasphemy can be any form of disrespect, of lowering God’s estimate and worth, or failing to show the proper respect.

Now the son of an Israelite woman, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the children of Israel; and this Israelite woman’s son and a man of Israel fought each other in the camp. And the Israelite woman’s son blasphemed the name of the Lord and cursed; and so they brought him to Moses. (His mother’s name was Shelomith the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan.) Then they put him in custody, that the mind of the Lord might be shown to them.

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Take outside the camp him who has cursed; then let all who heard him lay their hands on his head, and let all the congregation stone him.

“Then you shall speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘Whoever curses his God shall bear his sin. And whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall certainly stone him, the stranger as well as him who is born in the land. When he blasphemes the name of the Lord, he shall be put to death.

Leviticus 24:10-16

Speaking vile words or curses against God is a form of blasphemy. But again, remember that we are speaking of purposeful and willful blasphemy. Later we will speak about ego-dystonic or unwanted thoughts against God. For now we are speaking only of the verses that condemn this behavior in those who are engaging in it purposefully.

Speaking vile words or curses against God is a form of blasphemy

“Blasphemy” as Idolatry and Disobedience

Blasphemy can be a type of spiritual treason, where you place yourself on the throne and declare yourself God.

Or it can be a form of arrogant disrespect to your Creator, either in the form of cursing, taunting, or vile speaking.

But when both of these failures are combined, the result is idolatrous disobedience.

When you are fully sold to the idea that you are the god of your own life and you no longer have respect for God’s authority, you sink into an experience of blatant disregard and sin.

“Therefore, son of man, speak to the house of Israel, and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “In this too your fathers have blasphemed Me, by being unfaithful to Me. When I brought them into the land concerning which I had raised My hand in an oath to give them, and they saw all the high hills and all the thick trees, there they offered their sacrifices and provoked Me with their offerings. There they also sent up their sweet aroma and poured out their drink offerings.

Ezekiel 20:27-28

And again,

You who say, “Do not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law? For “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,” as it is written.

Romans 2:22-24

It’s not hard to understand how continual disrespect and replacement of God in your life can lead to disobedience. But remember, all these verses are describing purposeful, willful choices to blaspheme (or, in the accusations against Jesus, they describe what blasphemy would look like if a normal person said some of the things that Jesus said).

continual disrespect and replacement of God in your life can lead to disobedience

What about the verses on blaspheming the Holy Spirit? Where do they fit into the discussion? Interestingly, they are also part of this category of willful, purposeful action — so let’s briefly take a look at them now.

Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit

Jesus made a very strong statement about blaspheming the Holy Spirit. It was important enough to be recorded in all three synoptic gospels — Matthew, Mark, and Luke. And in two of these gospels — Matthew and Mark — the statement is set within a story, and the author remarks, “Jesus said this because…”

Wouldn’t you be interested to know what the “because” statement was? Me, too!

Context is so, so important.

People love to pick out verses here and there to build a case without any attention to the context. And nowhere is that more true than these scary verses about grieving the Holy Spirit (in context, they are not so scary).

Why did Jesus make these strong statements? To whom was He talking? What were they doing, thinking, or saying that provoked such a response? Does this verse even APPLY to us?

The passages that give the background story are in Matthew 12:22-32 and Mark 3:20-30. Here’s the passage from Mark:

Then the multitude came together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. But when His own people heard about this, they went out to lay hold of Him, for they said, “He is out of His mind.”

And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebub,” and, “By the ruler of the demons He casts out demons.”

So He called them to Himself and said to them in parables: “How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself, and is divided, he cannot stand, but has an end. No one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. And then he will plunder his house.

“Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation”— because they said, “He has an unclean spirit.”

Mark 3:20-30

Here are a few observations from the context:

  1. “His own people,” that is, those who knew Jesus, His life, and the works He had done claimed He was “out of His mind.”
  2. They attempted to explain away His supernatural miracles by claiming He was empowered by a devil or unclean spirit.
  3. Their claims were unfounded on logic and were instead instigated by an unwillingness to accept Christ. Jesus was easily able to deflect their illogical arguments in His parable of binding the strong man. But this was fundamentally not a matter of logic — it was a matter of unbelief.

Think about other stories of unbelief. It is interesting that Jesus did not give this tough response to the man who asked for healing for his son. Remember, the doubting guy who said, “Lord, I believe — help my unbelief!” He was trying to believe, and Jesus didn’t bash him over the head with a threat of the unpardonable sin. He reserved this warning for those who were already hardened in unbelief.

People who are worried about having committed the unpardonable sin haven't - simply because they're worried about it.

Jesus warned them about blaspheming the Holy Spirit “because they said, ‘He has an unclean spirit.’”

Imagine how far these guys had gone. They were far more privileged than you and I in their ability to witness miracles and hear the words of Jesus. But they didn’t want to believe, and they willfully searched for excuses.

They labeled. They bullied. They manipulated.

But by all means, they had to stop their ears to the voice of the Holy Spirit!

This is when Jesus pulled out the big guns. He leveled at them the severest warning that He ever utters in Scripture. Be careful. If you continue on this path, you pass a point of no return.

Where we get confused is when we attempt to apply this warning to those who believe or are trying their best to believe. This passage simply wasn’t meant for them.

People who are worried about having committed the unpardonable sin haven't - simply because they're worried about it.

One of my Bible professors in college told a story once of a man who was very scrupulously devoted to applying every passage in Scripture to himself.

He read a verse about gluttony, so he began skipping one meal per day.

Then he read a verse about fasting, so he began skipping two meals per day.

After that, he read about self-control, and he cut down to eating only a scanty amount of food each day — a piece of fruit, a few nuts…

He became skin and bones from trying to apply everything in Scripture to himself. My professor encouraged us to use common sense when analyzing who must apply which verses to their own lives.

Not every verse in the Bible applies to you.

And if the verses about blaspheming the Holy Spirit applied to you, you would need to match a variety of qualifiers: having a blatant unwillingness to believe, seeing firsthand miracles and yet explaining them away, etc.

You would be hard-pressed to fit the same qualifiers as the people Jesus was speaking to. It is commonly said that people who are worried about having committed the unpardonable sin haven’t — simply because they’re worried about it. Despite the simplicity of this logic, it really is true.

People who are worried about having committed the unpardonable sin haven't - simply because they're worried about it.

Bible Verses About Intrusive Blasphemous Thoughts

So let’s imagine, then, that you aren’t being purposeful or willful in committing blasphemy. You’re trying hard to believe and follow God, but you get these intrusive, OCD-type blasphemous thoughts. What does the Bible say to someone like you?

There are a few verses we can use to understand this phenomenon and help you reduce your fears.

Psalm 94:11 – Thoughts Have No Power

Psalm 94-11

The Lord knows the thoughts of man,
That they are futile.

Psalm 94:11

If you have scrupulosity, you probably have had “thought-action fusion” to some extent.

Thought-action fusion happens when you believe that your thoughts have power to cause or prevent bad things from happening.

For example, you may believe that thinking about the color yellow will make something bad happen. Or you may believe that a sudden intrusive thought about turning your car into oncoming traffic means you are actually going to do it.

Thought-action fusion is very common for OCD sufferers. But when it comes to blasphemous thoughts, it can get even more tricky.

There isn’t anything in the Bible that tells us not to think about the color yellow. But there are passages that tell us not to blaspheme.

So, automatically, the fear of blasphemous thoughts seems so much more sensible than the fear of yellow. There is a kind of pseudo-logic that seems to add validity to these concerns about blasphemous thoughts.

But thought-action fusion pushes the boundaries.

It tells you that merely thinking such thoughts means you actually believe them. It tells you that if you have an intrusive, unwanted blasphemous thought, that you are actually a blasphemer.

Psalm 94:11 tells us that God knows our thoughts are futile. They have no power. They can neither cause evil nor prevent it. And thoughts certainly aren’t good predictors for our true spiritual condition.

Thoughts aren't good predictors for our true spiritual condition

If thoughts have true power, why wouldn’t murderers just think their enemies to death instead of going through the immense risk of planning and executing a crime?

If thoughts have true power, why can’t I just stay home and think a million dollars for myself rather than working?

If thoughts have true power, why can’t the cancer patient think her way to health rather than going through agonizing and expensive treatments?

Oh — what’s that? You say YOUR thoughts are more powerful than other people? That your OCD fears are strong enough to actually change reality?

Well, please do get in touch. I’d like you think a positive future for me with your powerful mind. <img draggable=” />

Blasphemous thoughts are scary because they seem powerful enough to change our status from “saved,” “beloved,” “chosen by God” to the very opposite. Blasphemous thoughts, unwanted though they may be, seem to carry a power strong enough to snatch us out of God’s hand — even though Jesus declared there is nothing powerful enough to do that.

A big part of overcoming scrupulosity involves a recognition of what Psalm 94:11 says. Our thoughts are futile. They are just blinking neurons that have, at best, a weak correlation with reality.

And God knows that.

Our thoughts are futile. They are just blinking neurons that have, at best, a weak correlation with reality

Hebrews 4:12 – God Can Judge Our Thoughts Better Than We Can

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12

Sometimes it can be very difficult to understand our own intentions.

Did we really mean to think that blasphemous thought?

Was it me, or was it my OCD?

Going back to the concept of ego-syntonic versus ego-dystonic thoughts, one of the biggest stressors for someone suffering from blasphemous thoughts is trying to figure out whether we really intended to think that thought or not.

God understands our thoughts and intentions better than we do

Thankfully, the Bible says that God, through His Word, is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. This means that He can understand our intentions way better than we can. Again, this idea is echoed in Psalm 139:

O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.

Psalm 139:1-3

God doesn’t even have to try hard to understand our thoughts. He understands them “afar off.” He comprehends our behavior and the reason behind all the things that we do.

God isn’t caught in a web of trying to figure this stuff out. We are, but He isn’t.

That’s incredibly encouraging for people who suffer from scrupulosity’s blasphemous thoughts. God’s got this, even when we feel like we don’t.

How Should I Respond to Unwanted Blasphemous Thoughts?

The technical term for unwanted, distressing thoughts that just pop into your mind is called “intrusive thoughts.” If you google this term, you’ll find millions of websites on the topic. Unwanted blasphemous thoughts also fit into this category. In pursuing a way forward, it’s helpful to look at some of the general research about intrusive thoughts.

Generally, there are three main disorders that can cause intrusive thoughts:

  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Post-Partum Depression

Within the broader context of psychotherapy, intrusive thoughts are typically treated with Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy (ERP). This is a type of treatment that involves getting you to face your biggest fear head-on, either through real or imagined exposure.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dQlEl85ols

For example, if you have intrusive thoughts about losing control and stabbing someone with a knife, you may be asked to touch a knife or hold a knife to your therapist’s back.

This obviously will trigger your anxiety to a supremely desperate pitch. But with guided practice, repeated exposure to your fears will eventually result in a reduction of anxiety.

What does this look like for something intangible like blasphemous thoughts? Typically, ERP involves exposing yourself to these thoughts and choosing not to resist, avoid, or fight back.

Exposure Therapy for Religious Themes

For instance (I’m going to use a silly example so that I don’t trigger any readers): let’s say that Suzy is a devoted follower of the god Chemosh. She regularly gets blasphemous thoughts that urge her to say, “Chemosh is a worthless stone idol!” and, “I deny you, Chemosh!”

Suzy’s therapist may choose to guide her through ERP in one of two ways: either a DIRECT or an INDIRECT exposure, followed by an intentional refusal to respond to the anxiety.

The most intense form of ERP would be a direct sort of exposure, where Suzy is asked to say these blasphemous thoughts about Chemosh out loud and not respond to the anxiety that arises. After doing this over and over again, she no longer feels very bad when she declares that Chemosh is nothing more than a stone idol.

However, Suzy feels very uncomfortable with this kind of ERP because she feels that each time she goes to treatment, is is mortally offending her god. She knows it is helping her get better and have more emotional stability, but at what cost to her eternal future in Chemosh-land?

More than once, Suzy quits treatment and falls back into old patterns of fighting and resisting the blasphemous thoughts, which always spiral her into deeper anxiety. But the risk to her eternal welfare seems too great.

We may undercut the power of intrusive thoughts by indirectly exposing ourselves to a less black-and-white worldview

However, another option, rather than verbalizing Suzy’s blasphemous thoughts directly, is to undercut their power by indirectly exposing her to a less black-and-white worldview. This helps break the certainty addiction that most people with scrupulosity have. For example:

“Suzy, you have a recurring blasphemous thought that Chemosh is only a stone idol, is that right?”

“Yes, that’s right. It’s a horrible thought. I know it isn’t true. Chemosh is real.”

“Do you know that Chemosh is real, or do you believe it?”

“I know it! I read about Chemosh in the golden oracles of Moab.”

“But wouldn’t you agree that this is belief rather than knowledge? That every single religious person in the world bases their spiritual experience on faith in unseen realities?”

“Well, yes — I suppose so.”

“When you have that thought telling you that Chemosh is just a stone idol, what would happen if you respond by saying ‘maybe he is?’”

“I could never do that! It would be a denial of my faith!”

“Oh, hold on — hear me out. We aren’t saying that Chemosh isn’t real. We aren’t saying that he IS real. What we are saying is that we are humans and our knowledge is partial and prone to errors. There are many things about Chemosh that we don’t understand. If we claim to know everything, that would be very arrogant. How would you feel about saying, ‘I’m pretty sure that Chemosh is real, but there’s always a possibility that I’m wrong and he actually is a stone idol?’”

“That still feels terrifying.”

“I know. But does a statement like that fit in your worldview? Can you say it with a good conscience?”

“Well, I guess it would be arrogant to say that I am 100% sure…but maybe I could say that I’m pretty sure Chemosh is more than a stone idol.”

“And how does that make you feel to say that, Suzy?”

“Oh — terribly anxious!”

“But what you’re really saying is that there’s no way you can be 100% sure about anything in the metaphysical world. You accept all these things by faith but not by sight. Is that what you’re saying?”

“Yes…but! If I doubt Chemosh, I feel like I will lose eternity in Chemosh-land! I mean, I can see how what you’re saying is true, but it still gives me a lot of anxiety!”

“And what does that anxiety make you want to do?”

“I feel the need to blow air out of my mouth to expel the bad thought, and verbalize that ‘Chemosh is Lord.’”

“So these are your compulsions, right? They are actions that you feel will cancel out the bad thought?”

“Yes!”

“So let’s see if we can go for five minutes without you blowing any air out and without verbalizing that Chemosh is Lord…and next time we will try to go for ten minutes…”

People with scrupulosity tend to see the world in severely black and white terms. Sometimes it is enough to introduce the various shades of nuance in the Bible and to lean into the mysterious, unknown, faith-based aspects of spirituality. This can do much to break OCD’s insistence on absolutes. This is what allows the religious exposure to go forward without violating your conscience.

Exposure therapy involves breaking OCD's insistence on absolutes

Verbalizing your blasphemous thought can feel like a dangerous denial of your faith. But you’re making progress if you’re able to listen to that thought urging you to deny God and say, “well, I’m pretty sure that I’m on a good track to be a faithful believer till the day I die, but there’s no way of knowing 100% that I won’t deny God at some point in the future. I recognize the thought is there in my head, but I’m not going to engage with it, no matter how scary it is. It’s pointless to engage, because there simply isn’t any way to solve it to the level of absoluteness that my brain wants.”

That’s progress. When you step out of your need for absolutes and refuse to engage, you break OCD’s back. And that’s what exposure therapy helps you to do.

Exposure Therapy in the Bible

The Bible is not a book about mental health treatments. It doesn’t talk about something so modern and specific as exposure therapy. However, there are helpful principles that let us know we are on the right track.

One of my favorite stories about non-response is in the passion story. Remember when Jesus was taken before King Herod? The king was very interested in seeing Jesus because he was eager to have a miracle performed. He wanted some entertainment.

But he didn’t want truth.

No — truth had already come to Herod through the voice of John the Baptist. He had already been pricked in his heart and had refused to respond. When his adulterous affair with Herodias ended with the gruesome death of John, his guilty conscience could barely be contained.

At one point, when he heard of the miracles of Jesus, King Herod believed for a moment that it might be John the Baptist risen from the dead (Matthew 14:1-3)!

When Jesus appeared before Herod, he was appearing before a monarch who would in no way be benefited from dialogue. So Jesus did not speak. At all.

Now when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceedingly glad; for he had desired for a long time to see Him, because he had heard many things about Him, and he hoped to see some miracle done by Him. Then he questioned Him with many words, but He answered him nothing. And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused Him. Then Herod, with his men of war, treated Him with contempt and mocked Him, arrayed Him in a gorgeous robe, and sent Him back to Pilate.

Luke 23:8-11

Jesus was surrounded by “questioning with many words,” “vehement accusations,” “contempt,” and “mocking.” Does it sound like the voice of OCD? Certainly!

Jesus demonstrated to us that it is possible to be in the presence of intense questioning and even false statements of untruth and yet not respond

Jesus demonstrated to us that it is possible to be in the presence of intense questioning and even false statements of untruth and yet not respond. With some people (and with some mental health disorders) dialogue does no good. Response does no good.

So remain silent and let the untruths swirl around you. Keep your hands in your pockets, keep your mouth closed, and wait for falsehood to fall to the floor of its own accord.

Exposure Therapy: Lessons from the Honeybee

My dad loves bees. He’s a master beekeeper and used to be president of a statewide beekeepers association. I always used to laugh at him when I saw him suited up, but when it came to eating the honey he brought back, I retracted my laughter. Raw, freshly harvested honey is so tasty!

I never liked going with him to the hives. All those swarming insects gave me the heebie-jeebies! But bees can teach us important lessons about non-response to our OCD.

Potential Versus Actual Danger

We grow up knowing that large flying insects like bees, wasps, and hornets can sting. And many of us know from experience that these stings hurt. So when you get a bee buzzing around your head, you may get an automatic danger signal.

Oh, no! It’s going to sting me!

What most people don’t know is that honeybees can only sting once and then they die. This is because their stingers are barbed, and once they stick into your flesh, they don’t come out again. The bee flies away and the entire poison sack is ripped out of her abdomen, causing her death.

Since the bees die when stinging you, they save their stings for life-or-death situations — like protecting the hive. If you are just hanging out at a picnic table in the park and have a bee buzzing around your head, it simply means she is checking you out to see if you have any tasty pollen. Especially if you’re wearing a colorful shirt or sweet perfume, you may get lots of bee attention — but it’s typically out of curiosity, not antagonism.

You feel afraid when there is no actual danger.

The honeybee reminds us that it is possible to feel afraid when there is no actual danger

The intrusive, blasphemous thoughts of OCD are very much like those buzzing honeybees. They feel dangerous but typically present no real harm. People with OCD tend to assign a lot of unwarranted power to our thoughts. We think that our thoughts are dangerous, but they aren’t. They only feel that way.

Finding Safety in Not Responding

The second OCD lesson we can take from the honeybee is the value of not responding when we feel endangered.

Just when you were about to sit down at the outdoor picnic, you hear the ominous buzz of a bee around your head. What do you do?

Well, you know what you don’t want to do. You don’t want to wildly flail your arms in defense. You don’t want to pick up a paper plate and try whacking the bee. You don’t want to do anything aggressive.

That’s a sure-fire way to get yourself stung!

Honeybees teach us that the best response is to be very still and not respond. Bees rarely sting a calm, quiet human that is not invading their territory. So from an early age, we are told “just be still!” when a bee buzzes nearby.

With the intrusive, blasphemous thoughts of OCD, the same rule applies. Fighting back against blasphemous thoughts is a sure-fire way to get yourself stuck in an endless loop of self-analysis, doubt, and ever-rising anxiety. But there is safety in not responding.

Sometimes our greatest safety is in stillness

As the bee will fly away of its own accord, so will the blasphemous thought. You just have to wait for it.

Frequently Asked Questions About Blasphemous Thoughts

In the final section of this guide, I’d like to cover some of the most commonly asked questions about blasphemous thoughts. I will briefly discuss the following:

  • How can I reduce my anxiety and panic while ignoring the blasphemous thoughts?
  • Why do I get feelings of numbness, disconnection, depersonalization when I get blasphemous thoughts?
  • What if it feels like my thoughts were really wanted and chosen?

How Can I Reduce My Anxiety and Panic While Ignoring Blasphemous Thoughts?

I won’t lie to you — riding out the wave of anxiety that comes with intrusive thoughts is tough. It really is. But it’s the only way forward.

While we intentionally ignore and refuse to respond to the blasphemous thoughts, there are two tricks that can help you reduce the anxiety. The first trick is helpful at any stage of progress, but the second trick will probably only be helpful to those who are at more advanced stages in overcoming scrupulosity.

Anxiety Reduction Trick 1: Biblical Imaging

In another post, I describe in detail how we can use a four-step process to meet, greet, label and eat our intrusive thoughts (read the article to understand what I’m talking about)!

The core of this approach involves Biblical imaging — that is, choosing a specific scene in Scripture and mentally placing yourself there. One that is very useful to riding out the anxiety of blasphemous thoughts is from Psalm 23.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.

Psalm 23:4-5

God never promised to remove the things that bother us — but He said He will prepare a banqueting table for us while our evil enemies (like intrusive thoughts) glower and lurk in the dark forest nearby.

We acknowledge our blasphemous thoughts lurking nearby but don't invite them to the banqueting table

When the intrusive thoughts press in, we imagine ourselves sitting with our Good Shepherd at this table. We imagine feasting and enjoying the blessing of His presence while the intrusive thoughts (in whatever form you imagine them) watch from nearby.

It is a way of acknowledging our intrusive thoughts without engaging with them. You see, we want to acknowledge them, because otherwise we will get into avoidance tactics. But we want to ignore them in the sense that we don’t enter dialogue. We are enjoying our feast, but they are not invited to the table.

Anxiety Reduction Trick 2: Mockery

Mockery is a powerful and often fast-acting tool against intrusive thoughts, but may not be helpful to you in the very beginning when you are still getting the hang of exposure. Try it, and if it doesn’t work so well right now, leave it aside and try again when you’ve gained some more mental muscle.

Mocking our intrusive thoughts can sometimes deliver such a powerful blow that the thoughts go away almost immediately — but like all techniques, it has its limitations and may not be appropriate for every single blasphemous thought.

Mocking our intrusive thoughts can sometimes deliver such a powerful blow that the thoughts go away almost immediately

Mockery is merely a way of meeting intrusive thoughts on their own ground. Intrusive thoughts are highly exaggerated and false, so we respond with even more exaggeration and falsity.

For example:

Zach has an intrusive thought telling him that he is a devil-worshipper. Whenever that thought comes to mind, Zach responds with overly-exaggerated, sarcastic rhetoric.

“I’m a devil worshipper? Why, thank you so much for reminding me! But, dear brain, you have sorely underestimated my evilness. I am not only a devil worshipper, I am a demon in disguise! Haven’t I ever showed you my pitchfork? Haven’t you seen my tail? Well, if you’ll excuse me, dear brain, I really don’t have time to chat, because I have so much havoc and destruction on my to-do list for today. Talk to you later!”

Obviously, deep down you know that none of this is true. Sarcasm deals in opposites to get a point across. Did you ever make a silly mistake and have a family member affectionately (or not so affectionately) say, “you’re a genius?”

In that moment, they were using sarcasm/mockery as a way to give a message through its opposite expression.

Mockery can be deadly to our intrusive thoughts. Try it.

Why Do I Get Feelings of Numbness, Dead Emotions, and Depersonalization When I Have Blasphemous Thoughts?

A common phenomenon experienced alongside scrupulosity’s blasphemous thoughts is a feeling of numbness. This may be numbness of the emotions, an inability to feel the heart or soul, lack of motivation, or a sense of being disconnected from the body (called “depersonalization“).

This may happen because the constant struggle against bad thoughts leads to mental and emotional exhaustion. Disconnecting may be your body’s way of gaining a temporary sense of relief after you have depleted your stores of stress chemicals.

Having intrusive, blasphemous thoughts means you’re having lots of stress chemicals like cortisol and adrenaline constantly pumping through your body. When no relief is in sight, your body and brain might work together to shut down this cycle by pulling the plug, figuratively speaking.

The experience of numbness and depersonalization is also common to people with PTSD who have experienced prolonged periods of trauma.

For example, the little girl who is growing up in a severely abusive home feels endangered and powerless (like the person with OCD). After a really long time in this environment, she will begin to have periods of depersonalization, where she feels emotionally numb, disconnected from her personality, and may have out-of-body experiences.

Your intrusive thoughts produce similar feelings of danger and powerlessness. Your numbness might be quite scary, but don’t be afraid of it. It is your body and brain cooperating together to create a safety valve to prevent things from getting out of hand.

You may sometimes feel numb, unemotional, or disconnected because of the mental strain of blasphemous thoughts

As you learn healthier ways of preventing the OCD escalation, you will probably have less of these kinds of episodes.

What If It Feels Like My Blasphemous Thoughts Were Really Wanted and Chosen?

In an earlier section, we talked about the difference between ego-syntonic and ego-dystonic thoughts. We talked about how ego-syntonic blasphemous thoughts — thoughts that are in harmony with your ego and sense of self — are not good, but ego-dystonic blasphemous thoughts count as “intrusive thoughts” and shouldn’t be worried about.

Every scrupulous person’s biggest fear is, “what if that thought was genuinely from me?”

In other words, they fear their intrusive thought was actually ego-syntonic.

Let’s be honest here: sometimes it sincerely feels like we willfully generated a bad thought. Why in the world does this happen? And does it indicate something about our spirituality?

In another article, I talk about the OCD escalation cycle, which can often include an element of willful, desperate pseudo-agreement with our blasphemous thoughts (I say “pseudo-agreement” because it isn’t real even though it feels like it is).

Here’s the cycle in a nutshell (but head over the read the full article for more explanation):

  1. Triggering thought: you have an intrusive thought of a blasphemous nature. This gets your wheels rolling.
  2. Rumination: you overanalyze the thought, trying to figure out where it came from and what it tells you about yourself. You are starting to get a bit anxious.
  3. Resistance: you are sure that you don’t want or agree to this thought, so you resist it strongly. But it’s still there, so you resist harder. Your anxiety levels are escalating rapidly.
  4. Anger and desperation: no matter what you do, you can’t get rid of the blasphemous thought! You begin to grow angry and/or desperate. You feel as if your life forces are bleeding out of you as you pour all your efforts into avoiding the possibility that you might agree with the thought.
  5. Explosion: finally, you can’t take it anymore. You have been whipped into a frenzy and dangled at the edge of self-destruct for so long that you explode. You give up the struggle and “agree” to the thought.
  6. Mental silence: almost immediately, the emotional pitch subsides. You free-fall into mental silence so profound that you may feel numb or disconnected from your self or your soul. This stage introduces other fears that you may have committed the unpardonable sin or truly meant what you thought.
  7. Reconciliation: after some time, you feel a little calmer and you return to God to seek reconciliation. After this point, you may have positive spiritual experiences until the next trigger, at which point you may go through the same cycle again.

Religious OCD Cycle: Reconciliation Stage

In this scenario, you did not choose your blasphemous thought. It was not ego-syntonic. Your apparent “assent” happened because of intense mental strain. It is no different than the prisoner who admits to a crime he did not do while being physically tortured.

The litmus test to know if you are a truly reprobate person or merely a scrupulous person is to ask how often you come back to God to seek reconciliation.

A reprobate will blaspheme and keep going in a godless direction without looking behind him or caring one whit about grieving the Holy Spirit.

A scrupulous person will appear to “assent” to bad thoughts but keep coming back over and over again to ask for forgiveness. She will seek reconciliation and continue trying to please God. She will mourn and feel sorry for what she thinks was a sinful thought.

Yes, you may feel that you sometimes “agree” to these thoughts, but if you keep coming back, that’s all that counts.

You’re part of God’s flock. You belong here.

Conclusion

Having unwanted, blasphemous thoughts is a terrifying experience, but it’s quite common to people with religious OCD. Having these unwanted thoughts is not a sin. God still loves you and He understands what you’re going through.

It is possible to get blasphemous thoughts to lose their power over you. The key lies in remembering that thoughts have no power and God understands the origins of our thoughts better than we do.

Yes, there are different methods — ERP, Biblical imaging, direct mockery — but above and beyond these methods we must remember that God is kindly and compassionately uniting with us in our efforts to get better.

God is kindly and compassionately uniting with us in our efforts to get better

He wants you to be free, just as much as he wants healing for broken legs, cancer, and depression.

As we go through the valley of the shadow of death, we may feel as though these unwanted blasphemous thoughts rob us of our eternal hopes. We may feel estranged from God and cast upon the rocks of despair. But through all this, God never leaves our side. He walks with us through the valley, well aware that our thoughts are caused by a mental disorder called OCD.

And He loves you through the fog of mental health. Because He sees the real you.

Dear friend, don’t give up. Your blasphemous thoughts don’t define you. You are beloved by God, and no thought that pops into your mind will ever be powerful enough to reverse His love for you.

Drop me a comment if you have any questions. I usually answer within a few hours. Also, let let me know how you’ve seen God become more real to you through your struggle with scrupulosity!

Best wishes on the journey,

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  1. Hi Jamie I dont know why I let these thoughts beat me up! I know they are not from me and that I don’t want them! I just had a baby and was a little weak! That’s when they came out of nowhere! Please pray for me! Please give me pointers! I know this too shall pass and I will be stronger than ever!

  2. Hello I want to subscribe to your coaching session but they are sold out. What should I do so I can get in line so to speak. I have been dealing with a bout of scrupulosity for about 3 months. It has been difficult. Thank you.

    1. Hi Michael,

      I’m sorry but I don’t have a waiting list. As soon as I have availabilities, it will appear on the website, so I would encourage you to check back in a few weeks.

      Blessings,

      Jaimie

  3. Hi there. Is it possible for you to talk to me a bit? I am going through this and its mental torment. First it was thoughts against the Holy Spirit, then God, and now its againsr Jesus. I hate it so much. I dont even want to type it out

    1. Hi, Lu-Andro! Yes, I’d love for us to be able to sit down and talk in one of my coaching sessions. Right now my appointments are all booked out, but hopefully I’ll have some open soon. Stay strong in the Lord and keep checking back for openings!

  4. Hi Jaimie. Thank you very much for replying. I think I'm still young, 18 yo, Brazilian now living in Japan, but I already messed up a lot, really sad. And this is something I'm having a problem with for around 1, 2 years or something. I've been feeling depressed for some years, and backsliding, unfortunately. But I want to come back/closer to God, but there are some questions and doubts I have.

    1. Feelings.

    I think I lost some of my feelings. I think my heart is hardened. I'm not sure if I'd cry or feel deeply sad when asking for forgiveness. Not feeling deeply sad makes me question if my repentance is real. How would I know if repentance is real? And is it possible to get my feelings back?

    2. Motivation.

    I'm afraid I'm not genuine. What if my motivation to come back to God isn't because of love, but because I'm interested in the benefits and not going to hell. What if the reason I want to love God is because I don't wanna go to hell?

    I think that the evidence clearly points to Christianity, and the other religions or atheism are not attractive to me. So I feel like I may not have a lot of faith, what if I'm just choosing Christianity because it is a more intelligent decision? More advantageous.

    I've bought books, watched videos, debates, read websites and concluded that the evidence and arguments for Christianity are just much better than other religions or atheism, and I mean much better. So I think intellectually I can't stop believing in Christianity even if I wanted to. But there comes a problem? Where's my faith? Where is the faith part in me? That makes me worried.

    I think I'm a bad person. I think it may be very probable that the reason I want to get back to God is purely because of selfish/intellectual reasons. Like the reasons I wrote earlier, and going to heaven and not hell…

    About this attitude of looking for change and trying to get back to God. How can I know if this is because of God calling me or because of my selfish/intellectual motivations?

    I want to have a better/correct motivation, like love God. But I'm afraid the reason I want to do that is because of selfish/intellectual/interested in the benefits reasons. I'm worried, how do I deal with this, and how do I fix it?

    3. I'm terrified of this:

    I'm afraid I've messed up my life so badly there's no hope. In the Bible there are many verses that make me feel scared. Because I did so many stupid things, you have no idea, I feel lost. I feel desperate and depressed.

    I think I'm backslidden, and I think my heart is hardened. I also have sinned a lot, the worst part is i think I sinned willfully and deliberately, a LOT. Which is really bad.

    I'm also afraid of being unable to truly repent, having a seared conscience or a reprobate mind.

    I heard that if I'm even worried that I have these things, that means I don't have it, but what if I'm worried about it because of selfish/intellectual reasons like: I'm worried because I definitely don't want to go to hell, because that would be really bad. How do I deal with, what should I do?

    4. I don't want to live depressed. I want to get back/closer to God, I want hope. But these doubts make me feel bad, it's terrifying.
    Can someone like me come back and be accepted? Even if the worst case scenario is true? Like even if my feelings are kinda lost, even if my motives are selfish/intellectual, even if my heart is hardened, even if I have willfully and deliberately sinned a LOT, backslidden, and etc?

    Not sure if I can include a reprobate mind, or a seared conscience above, because that would be especially terrifying for me. And, how can I know for sure I don't have it? I'm depressed, because I'm worried: "what if I'm lost forever?" That's really depressing.

    Is there hope for me? I really want hope.
    I think your reply could literally change my life.

    Sorry for another long comment, and possible spelling mistakes.
    And thank you for all that you're doing, and thank you in advance!

    1. Hi again, Dan,

      Thanks for writing. I want you to know that you are not alone in your worries. I have talked to dozens and dozens of others who express the exact same concerns. I know it can feel so strange and isolating to have these intense worries, and maybe you have been unable to share your thoughts with anyone in your church or family. But I assure you, there are so, so many in the religious OCD community who would come and pat you on the shoulder and say, “me too.” So first of all, please feel the concentrated love and support of myself and the 4,000 others who are regular readers of this website.

      Secondly, let me respond to your concern about not having the right feelings. I would like to point out that emotions are not a requirement for salvation. “We walk by faith, not by sight.” Feelings are very poor indicators of our true standing with God. Remember when Elijah was running away from the evil queen Jezebel? He was depressed and suicidal. He asked God to let him die, because he “felt” so horrible. But it was in that moment that God hid him in the mountain and actually showed Himself to Elijah in the still small voice!! Wow, what a privilege, to meet God–and yet, He met God in an incredibly intimate way when his own feelings were radically “off.” Please go back and read this story. See what God’s “cure” for Elijah was. Not condemnation, and not a big lecture. God sent an angel to give him food and rest (translation: SELF CARE!!) and God poured out His presence. Then He gave Him a word of encouragement that there were still 7,000 who had not bowed the knee to Baal. Our role when our feelings are not behaving is to just push through by faith. We need to remember to prioritize self-care, rest, and healthy living (please be sure you are eating a nutritious diet, sleeping regularly, and getting outside to walk or exercise). The feelings of joy, spiritual longing, or passion are God’s to give, not ours to manufacture. Please guard against thinking you must be an emotion factory to “produce” the right feelings. We must seek God (this is a CHOICE, not a feeling) and if/when He wants, He will reward us with good feelings.

      Secondly, about motivation. There are a lot of reasons people might be motivated to seek God. Let me summarize a long story and say it does not matter what your motivation is for seeking God. We must come, and when we come, He will change whatever needs changing. But if we remain away until we feel that we have “fixed” ourselves and our motivation, we will never come. Think of all the reasons people came to Jesus. When Nicodemus came, he was curious and confused. When Bartimaus came, it was for physical healing. When the demoniac came, rushing upon Him at the beach, it was to frighten Him away. When the disciples came, it was for worldly honor and position. But none of this matters to Jesus. All of us have messed up motivations. We come, and He changes us. And by the way, a fear motivation is not necessarily a bad thing. Fear often drives people to God, and this is totally normal and Biblical. In Jude 1:22, it says “on some have compassion…but others save with fear.” Different people are drawn by different means. Some will be drawn to Christ through the kind compassion of a true Christian, while others will be drawn to Christ by somber thoughts of what may be coming in the future. Again, motivation is not something to worry about for now. You can pray like this: “dear Lord, I think my motives are pretty messed up, but you knew that already. I am here seeking you, Lord, even with all my issues. Will you please fix them? Will you make my motives pure? I trust your grace to make a miracle in my soul.”

      And yes, to answer your third and fourth points, there is hope for you. There is no sinner who has messed up so badly that there is no cure in the gospel. Psalm 3 says,”Many are they who say of me, ‘There is no help for him in God.’ But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head.” One of my clients was recently sharing this passage with me. She just had a major breakthrough in knowing how to deal with the intrusive thoughts and ruminations. She told me that this passage meant a lot to her because all the intrusive thoughts were telling her, “there is no help for you in God.” But she had to press on in faith and recognize that God is a shield to us, the one who lifts up our head and gives us hope. Her major breakthrough (she is doing significantly better now) was to ignore these thoughts and allow God to do her fighting for her. I am sure you will have the same experience as well. There is hope. No one is too sinful for the grace of God. Ignore the thoughts and press right on forward towards Christ’s open arms.

      May He bless you and give you rich fulfillment.

      Kindest regards,

      Jaimie

  5. I'm afraid, what if I am a reprobate person? What if I'm lost forever? I'm feeling desperate, it hurts so much I'm afraid and worried. You wrote:

    "The litmus test to know if you are a truly reprobate person or merely a scrupulous person is to ask how often you come back to God to seek reconciliation."

    I think I've been backsliding, and since unwanted intrusive thoughts started things got much worse. I used to come back to God to seek reconciliation a lot. But after some time, I guess I kinda gave up in a sense. Of course, I want to come back to God and get closer to God. But I think I messed up a lot, I think for a long period I didn't come back to God to seek reconciliation often enough, and I'm sorry.

    I think there's a reason for that, which is weird. And I feel like it's blocking me, isn't letting me come back to God:

    I've been having a problem with pornography for just too long. I'm so stupid makes me hate myself sometimes, because I masturbated knowing it's bad, repeatedly, too much. Just hope that God can forgive me.

    About the OCD I feel like it doesn't even make sense.

    It started maybe over a year ago? Not sure. When I was being stupid as usual and was masturbating with pornography. But then something awful happened: I had an unwanted intrusive thought about God/Jesus, a REALLY bad one, and worse, a visual one, I might be traumatized, it came out of nowhere, in the worst timing possible.

    So, that's a problem. I want to forget about it, my last masturbation can't be like this, I don't want to remember it and remember that my last one was this bad, that's a trauma.

    So what I've been trying to do is to start and finish a masturbation/pornography without having an unwanted intrusive thought or any bad thought, so I can finally stop it. But if you're familiar with OCD, you know that if you try to not think about something, or avoid it or worry about it, you end up thinking about it. When you try to fight a thought, it backfires. So I'm still stuck, it's like OCD got me captured.

    So that's my objective right now. I've even bought a book about dealing with Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts, I have researched on the internet, and watched videos on Youtube.

    And because of that I find it hard to get back/closer to God. I feel like I can't pray to God asking for forgiveness, because in order to eliminate this OCD problem, I think I have to sin. But if I don't eliminate this OCD problem, I may keep worrying, obsessing about it and keep feeling anxious and stressed. Yeah, I might be the only one with a stupid problem like this.

    So I guess my plan may be:
    1. Start and finish a masturbation/porn without a single unwanted intrusive thought, or bad thought.

    And when I finally do that:

    2. Try to get back/closer to God again, and now fight against masturbation/porn.

    This might be confusing. I'm confused too. I'd appreciate help with this.

    I just want to get back/closer to God again. But for that I think I will have to eliminate this stupid OCD problem first.

    Please help me.

    1. Hi Dan,
      I’m glad you’re here, and I’m glad you’re talking through these things. The bravest thing we can do when we recognize we need help is to reach out. And believe me, God sees your heart and knows it better than you know yourself. Heaven rejoices every time you reach out towards God, even if your hand is weak and trembling.

      In response to your struggles with pornography and masturbation, please do remember that addiction and OCD have high correlation. There is some discussion about whether addictions are caused/intensified by the unique brain wiring of OCD, or whether our addictions are simply something we turn to in order to escape OCD’s anxiety. In my work with many different clients, I have seen both to be true for different people. In your case, it seems that your addiction to porn and masturbating is not being used as an “escape mechanism” but instead has become inextricably linked to your struggle with intrusive thoughts (i.e. you want your “last session” to NOT involve a religious intrusive thought so you can have a feeling of making a clean break with it). Thus, each session with porn/masturbation is essentially functioning as a compulsion.

      Your two-step plan is admirable, but I believe it will not be effective. First of all, step one will be difficult to achieve because of what you have already noted: trying to fight a thought will always backfire. Let me call your attention to something you may have not thought about yet. What is it that keeps drawing you back to the porn/masturbation compulsion? It is a particular FEELING. It’s a feeling that you didn’t do it “right” last time and must reach a sense of completion or perfection in order to move on to step two of your plan. Think hard and try to isolate this feeling. Do you know what I’m talking about? Each repeat session is an attempt to “solve” this bad feeling so that you grant yourself permission to move on. The key here is realizing that this feeling will NEVER COME. Instead, you must embrace the swampy, yucky feeling and resolve to push forward to Christ. Remember, God is like a shower: He receives you just as you are, dirty and all covered with filth–but like the shower, He does not LEAVE you that way! But you must come, come as you are, with all your struggles and that horrible feeling that you haven’t done it “right” the last time.

      As for step two, I would like to point your attention to the words you are using. You speak of “trying to get back/closer to God again” and then “fight” against masturbation/porn. Let me remind you that before the idea even entered your mind, Christ was trying to get close to YOU. Like the shepherd leaves the 99 sheep in the fold and goes out in the wilderness to seek that one lost sheep, He has been moving all heaven to rescue you from sin, anxiety, and suffering. He hears your cries for help, and already has an immense rescue team working on your behalf. You may think you must “fight” these addictive behaviors, but Exodus 14:14 reminds us that “the Lord shall fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” Raise your hand of faith through the gloom you are experiencing right now and cling to the promises of what God will do for you, in you, and with you. You do not need to clean up your act before God accepts you. He is already beside you with arms open wide, and He will carry you through the obsessions, compulsions, and addictive tendencies that you and all of us in the OCD community struggle with.

      Take care my friend and I pray God will lift your spirits and bring you to His side.

      Jaimie

  6. hi thank you very much for this i’ve been so scared about my thoughts. a few months ago I saw a post not to use “lol” because it meant “lu$ifer our lord.” ever since then that thought has been in my head and i’ve repeated lu$ifer is not lord over and over again… but i’m scared that when I was telling my parents about this I accidentally said that he was just to tell them what was stuck in my head. is this committing the unforgivable sin?

  7. Thanks for this info, but I'm still not entirely sure about how to deal with my blasphemous thoughts. I'm fairly sure my thoughts are probably the result of OCD, since I've had intrusive thoughts about other unrelated things as well. I constantly get intrusive thoughts about Jesus' miracles not being done by the Holy Spirit, essentially the Pharisees' blasphemy against the Spirit but these thoughts don't come willingly. I don't know if my heart's just so hard that I can't be convinced of the truth or if they are just intrusive thoughts. It's hard to even read the New Testament when I'm constantly having thoughts of blasphemy against the Spirit and so not being fully convinced of Jesus' divinity. I don't know how I'm supposed to ignore these thoughts when saying something as simple as "Jesus is God and the Messiah" immediately causes these thoughts to pop up and I end up engaging with them anyway and I end up repeating stuff to convince myself that those blasphemies aren't true, which barely helps. Even when I try to say that the devil performing miracles doesn't make sense because he can't do the genuine miracles that Jesus did, a nonsensical thought saying that God let him pops up. None of these "refutations" against Jesus being divine make any sense but they persist in my head anyway. Any advice would be appreciated.

  8. Jaimie, thank you, thank you, thank you so much for your helpful, kind, graceful words. I feel so much better about my blasphemous intrusive thoughts

  9. Hi Jamie,
    First of all thank you for all these informations. I appreciate them very much.But I have a question. Do I need to apologise to God and the people who I hurt when I had intrusive thoughts about them? But sometimes as I apologise the more the bad thoughts pop out. They are really annoying. And sometimes there are so much of these intrusive thoughts I can’t apologise for each of them. If yes I’ll just spend my whole life apologising. And it’s pretty tiring. And as I apologise the more the intrusive thoughts pop out so it never ends. And I don’t feel like apologising. Can u pls help me and guide me? I’m very lost. Tq Jamie

    1. The short answer is no, you don’t need to apologize to people when weird thoughts pop into your mind about them.

      I will try to put together a blog post for you on this topic, since I think the longer answer will be of help to many people. Thank you for giving me the idea. 🙂

  10. My friend has tourettes and I was telling him about blasphemy, and he started saying the word uncontrollably but not horribly, and eventually started combining the word blasphemy with other profane swear words. He continued to do this after me encouraging him to stop and then eventually made a sexual joke about God and the Holy Spirit. It was profane and I had been telling him too stop but I smiled at the joke knowing I shouldn't have but I was telling him to stop as that happened. And he felt bad as did I and I am really scared that I committed blasphemy against the Holy Spirit because I smiled/laughed at the joke. I also was laughing when he was saying blasphemy combined with other swear words and felt bad and kept telling him to stop and told him I know he has tourettes and its hard to control it but yeah. I feel bad and I have OCD and continue to have Blasphemous thoughts but I am starting to think my blasphemous thoughts are from OCD. So two questions, is it Blasphemy if I have blasphemous thoughts, and also was it Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit to smile/laugh at his joke.

    1. Hi Luca,
      We all make mistakes. Laughing at a bad or inappropriate joke happens. In these moments, we go to the Lord and ask His forgiveness and believe that the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin. When we rise from our knees, we do so in complete freedom, because He has graciously cast our sins into the depths of the sea.

      We sometimes have the idea that a blunder or mistake or misspoken word against the Holy Spirit is unforgivable while other kinds of sins can be pardoned. As if the Holy Spirit is that one “untouchable” area of our relationship with God that can never be breached. We treat God as if He is a human being like us–I think all of us know complicated people who will “unfriend” you for talking about that one specific thing that bothers them. But God is not like that, and the Holy Spirit actually takes a whole lot of abuse. The Holy Spirit has the thickest skin of anyone in the universe. He is the One who bears long with us, constantly wooing our hearts to God even when we are lost and enamored with our sins. The Holy Spirit bears with us when we ignore God, when we make poor choices, and yes, even when we blaspheme. It is a misconception to see the Holy Spirit in such delicate terms, as if any small thing will tick Him off.

      I recommend praying very simply to say, “I’m sorry, I feel bad that I laughed at a bad joke. I know it was a mistake, but I also know that You still love me. Please forgive me and help me find a better way of dealing with it in the future.”

      Hope this helps.

      Jaimie

  11. I have OCD and am having blasphemous thoughts. Will I be forgiven for having thoughts about blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? Also, I am scared that maybe I committed blasphemy in the past against the Holy Spirit as a child (im 15 now) and I don't remember. Will I be forgiven? Also is it blasphemy against the Holy Spirit if I said the f word in this sentence: Im making another ******** Christmas card."
    Sorry I know this sounds silly probably. I just get very anxious and worried sometimes.

    1. Hi Luca,
      Thinking about blaspheming the Holy Spirit is not the same as actually blaspheming. The essence of what Jesus was talking about when He made those tough statements about the unpardonable sin related to a long-term, consistent resistance of truth (truth is brought to the mind by the Holy Spirit, see John 16). Christianity does not teach that there is any magical power in mantras, phrases, or spooky “abracadabra” words–neither to save us nor condemn us. Salvation and condemnation are the result of our long-term choices, choices we make day after day. Having curse words pop into your mind would be something I’d hesitate to classify as a sin. In psychology terms, we’d call it an “intrusive thought.” In spiritual terms, we’d call it a “temptation.” Either way, we can respond the same way: we turn our eyes away from self and focus on Christ. Focusing inward leads to rumination and self-condemnation, and it is not helpful. When we are tempted to speak evil words, remember that Jesus was also tempted. We can thank Him that we may also struggle as He struggled and we may grow stronger through each experience.
      God’s blessings,
      Jaimie

          1. can you please approve my other comment? Im really stressed out about it and am dying for an answer sorry I know Im being rude

    1. Hi Amy,
      Please don’t feel bad about telling your parents. OCD is often called the “hidden disease” because we are always ashamed or scared to tell anyone about it. That’s why it ends up taking an average of 10 years for people to get the intervention and help they need. 10 years!! Don’t let that be you, Amy. This is not your fault and it isn’t something to be ashamed of. Talk to them about your struggles. I’m sure they will support you and be your biggest cheerleading team!

  12. Hey Are these Articles in Spanish too? I have a sister in Christ who really needs to read this. She has been twitching , thinking they following her, feels guilty depressed, so many thing, she has even stop going to church. I think she needs a doctor. Do you know any doctor located in Bronx, NY that is really good with these themes?

    1. Oooh, I really wish I could speak/write in Spanish. But perhaps you can translate for her. Unfortunately I don’t know any mental health providers in New York that specialize in scrupulosity, although I’m sure there are some. It would just be a matter of searching for OCD specialists and then sorting out the ones who are familiar with religious OCD themes.

  13. Hi.

    I have been having issues with blasphemous thoughts for many many years. I have always noticed that they become more and more instense or perverted when I am trying to get closer to God. In times of prayer or bible reading. I have cried out to God many times about this and I don't know what to do. On three different times they were so bad I felt like he was rebuking me. It felt like he was saying "do you know who I am to think such a thing" and this weekend it felt like He took his presence and took a long time to forgive me. At this moment, I am currently spiritually shut down because I feel like if I avoid the praying and the reading I can avoid the thoughts. However, this cannot really be a solution either. I feel like I am in a catch 22 situation. No good comes from staying away from God because you fall into old sin like in my case gluttony. I feel so much despair and somwhat suicidal but I fear hell. I really don't know what to do.

    1. Hi Stella,

      I hope you don't mind me replying to your comment. I feel like we are in the same boat. The more I try to become closer to God and unite myself to Christ the more these blasphemous thoughts would come into my mind. Often these thoughts were so painful that my body would twitch and I would let out a groan. I thought I was going crazy. I thought I was alone and that I could not discuss these feelings with anyone, not even a priest.

      As I grew up in a religious household I have given my life to Christ several times. I would have these thoughts and fall away with a feeling of what's the use. That's when these thoughts would subside. As soon as I try to come back to the Lord these evil thoughts would reemerge. I googled this subject and that's how I stumbled on this article and saw your comment.

      I thought I was committing a mortal sin. Even the possibility of the 'unforgivable sin" until I read this article and realized that I wasn't alone. So here is my take on this. (I may be wrong but to me it's logical). For me: The more I commit my self to our Lord Jesus Christ the more the enemy tries to dissuade me. The more he tries to get me to sin and fall away. With me it has worked in the past. He is very cunning and has even made me believe that there was no way that God would ever forgive me trying to reaffirm that with blasphemous thoughts. Don't get me wrong I'm not trying to use the old excuse "The devil made me do it" but I believe that he has power to try to cause us to go astray. That being said I am going to TRY to take Jaimie's advice and TRY to ignore them. Not let them bother me as much knowing that it is not my fault. That i don't invite these thoughts and that God loves me so much that he gave his only begotten Son who shed his blood on the cross and died so our sins are forgiven. This time I am going to dig my heels in. I am not going to go astray and keep going. If Christ can suffer on the cross for my sins I can suffer a little pain until these thoughts dissipate. I hope my reply helps. I will pray for you and ask that you pray for me. Stay strong my sister.

      Tommy

      1. Hi Tommy,

        Thank you for responding to my comment. You situation absolutely mirrors mine. I was amazed when you wrote about the twitches and groans. I some cases I physically shake my head in effort to get rid of the thoughts. My efforts to stay away from God did take away the horrible thoughts. Itvis obvious to me now that if they come when I am getting closer to God then they are not from me but from the devil. I am now reconciled back to God and I will see these thoughts for what they are i.e. intrusions from the enemy not me. God bless you richly and I will add you to my prayer list. I am happy for sites like this that will give other silent sufferers hope.

        All the best,
        Stella

      2. Hi Tommy,

        I just realized how many typos are contained in the post. Sorry about that. I was typing so fast from my cell phone and did not re-read the comment before posting.

        Stella

  14. Hi Jaimie,

    Thank you for the wonderful article. Is there a difference if we start to say the blasphemous thought out loud and then catch ourselves? Mine are typically reactive to some untrue thought that pops into my head, and before I can get my mind to ignore it, I think [or start to say out loud] a blasphemous phrase. I'll typically catch myself on the first or second letter of the first word of the phrase, but I'm not sure if I have to handle this differently.

    Thank you!

  15. I have trouble with blasphemous thoughts about the Holy Spirit. When one comes into my head I try to make it into a sentence that is not blasphemous. I live alone and have never said the thoughts out loud. If I never said the thoughts-to myself or others I am safe, right?

  16. Hi, I don't know what to call this but I'm aware of what I'm thinking I mean I'm conscious and thought it willfully, I know I'm thinking about a bad thing and that thought is wrong, it's like the thought is just there, I don't know if it is a ocd. I want to go back to the old me, I want to feel the presence of Lord again, I just can't and don't know if Lord will forgive me. Thank you.

  17. Hi Jaimie, I’ve been on an up and down roller coaster with this OCD issue for I want to say 4 years or so. Every time I have stopped and just let it happen I will get peace. I think the hardest step for me is when I feel as though my faith is weak and I am disconnected from God when I call on the Holy Spirit. It has gotten so bad that I actually struggle to read the Bible not because I don’t want to. But because I constantly get horrible thoughts whenever I read it. I think this all started happening when I made it very clear that I was done with my old sinful ways and finally decided to start on my path to becoming a pastor. I used to get drunk, have premarital sex, smoke pot, chew tobacco, and God helped me through it all when I kept praying for help from Him to do it. I already worry it will happen When I get ready to read the word. The same occurs of course whenever I come to a spot in scripture that talks about the Holy Spirit. Now I worry that if I don’t do this or that or if I commit this sin or if I eat that, God will not help me through this and will allow me to suffer. I know it probably sounds silly even as I am writing this but I just really don’t want to lose my salvation or lose my faith in Jesus. One other thing too is I constantly worry that if I don’t say “May the lord Jesus Christ bless you today.” Or I don’t talk to everybody around me about Jesus then God will be angry with me or punish me as if I am ashamed of Jesus. I just want it to come naturally to me when I bring up my faith. As I write this down I actually have this sense of relief from just writing it and bringing my problems out into the open. I have a lot of questions lol but I think that these questions for you personally is a good start in talking to somebody. God bless you for this relieving and helpful article too!

    1. Hi, Nick! Your experience sounds quite familiar, and I know what you mean about feeling better to just get it out in the open. My first comment to your situation would relate to what you’ve said about not wanting to read the Bible because you know you’ll get irrational feelings of anxiety. What I have observed is that people who have religious OCD fall into one of two categories (or sometimes flip flop between both) either the engaged obsessive or the avoidant obsessive. We either overly-engage with compulsive spiritual practices, or compulsively AVOID them out of fear of anxiety rising up. It sounds like you may be in that “avoidant” camp. The answer to this is to recognize that avoidance can, in and of itself, become a compulsion. The best way to respond to that is to gently push yourself, bit by bit, to read your Bible even if you get feelings of anxiety. Recognize that these negative feelings will not hurt you, even though they are very uncomfortable. (For the engaged obsessive who spends 8 hours per day in religious rituals and can’t stop, I tell them to back off and do less. But for you, I will say to do more, as you’re able to handle it. We want our FAITH to make decisions, not our FEELINGS, so we always want to give a bit of pushback to our compulsions so they don’t call all the shots.)

      And you’re also making sense about those tormenting feelings about possibly losing your salvation or committing the unpardonable sin. Beyond what I’ve already written in this article, just know that you’re not alone in this fear. However, the EXTENT to which you are experiencing this fear is predominantly an OCD thing, not a faith thing.

  18. Hi Jamie
    This article is incredible. Can you please help me out with a question? Could you explain further the types of thoughts that will go along to the beat of sounds? And why do they go along with sounds?
    I have been trying to articulate this for years and couldn't. You wrote it perfectly. That is exactly what I experience.

    I have gotten into a habit of over riding all the sounds I hear. Is there a cure for this thought-sounds mix?

    Liz

    1. Hi Liz,
      This is a fascinating question, which I admit I don’t have a snazzy scientific answer for at this point. 🙂 But I do know exactly what you’re talking about…sometimes I drum my fingers to certain patterns that are “in my head” at various times of the day. I have no clue WHY this happens, but I’ve talked to others who have thoughts that coincide with certain sounds, movements, or breathing patterns. I don’t know why this happens, but it’s semi-common and certainly deserves further investigation. I’ll tuck it into the back of my mind and put out more info on it if I get any lightbulb moments! Thanks for bringing it up!
      Jaimie

      1. Thanks for responding. You're awesome!

        It is a super interesting And bothering Ocd thing that ultimately leads me to severe thought suppression.

        I'm dealing better with it these days.
        Nice job, Keep it up!

  19. Well I have been dealing with intrusive thoughts for about 13 years. They have a powerful hold over me and have cause a lot of damage.

    This started for me when I was about 19 or 20 years of age. I was a Christian but living in sin. My church decided to excommunicate me and never accepted me back. I fell into a terrible anxiety ridden deep depression. I reached out to a pastor friend of mine and he decided to invite to his church. We spent a year trying to reconcile with my old church and they wouldn't take me back. My dad even disowned me for a period. Since that point, I started to get thoughts I would always say aren't mine. They were so foreign and against what I believed, against the person I truly am. I would fight and fight against them but never left. They caused great fear and anxiety. They would leave me in great doubt. These thoughts started about doubting my salvation. Anytime, I messed up, I would doubt my salvation. It later morphed to hearing thoughts of "God isn't really", "you don't believe in him". I would get these randomly or when I would read God's word. I didn't know what I do now. It was so bad, I ran away from God. When I did, the thoughts and pain stopped. I walked away from the Lord for over seven years. Six years ago, I came back to the Lord and then met my wife. Since then, the thoughts have never left. I feel like they have destroyed my faith. I am left in great doubt wondering if they are just my own thoughts or false. I feel like I have lost the battle to them. That these thoughts have become my reality or my true way of thinking. There is something inside that I cling to "I know whom I've trusted and believed in". I hold to this truth, but the other thoughts are so powerful. Now the thoughts have morphed into doubting my salvation, fearful of the rapture and being left behind, wondering how I could ever be a believer and have these thoughts. Even my anxiety itself conjures these. I want freedom, healing, peace, and joy. I want to honor and please God, serve him with full faith, yet these rob me of everything. I wonder to myself who I'd be without these terrible thoughts. Wondering if I found relief, would my faith return or would my doubts take hold and forever damn me. I pray for God to restore my faith and deliver me from this, but he doesn't. He hasn't for all of these years and I don't know my. I feel as if he has let me go. As if, I have gone too far, or was never really his.

    These has ruined my life and I don't know what to do about it anymore. I still fight them in hopes someday they'll disappear but they don't.

    What do you think? Can I find healing from this or am I too far gone?

    Thanks.

    1. Hi Mitch,

      Thank you for describing your struggle — I’m sure there are dozens of other readers who would resonate completely with your story. No, I definitely don’t believe you’re “too far gone.” No one is beyond the reach of God’s mercy and healing!

      One thing your story does illustrate is the impact of spiritual trauma on our thought life. Spiritual trauma is one of the six hit categories I talk with my clients about — it is the least common of the six, but when it is present, it can be very impactful. Scientists suggest that about 50% of OCD is biological and other half is environmental. It can therefore be entirely possible to have all the genetic predispositions to OCD but not really manifest or have an issue. You’ve noted that these thoughts began after a very traumatic spiritual experience (excommunication and shunning is probably the second worst type of spiritual trauma, after being abused by clergy). Now, what I’m NOT saying is that trauma “causes” OCD. There isn’t a lot of evidence for that. You’ve probably had genetic predispositions to obsessive compulsive behavior long before that episode, but this may have triggered a more intense development. As I’m not a scientific expert, we can leave the nuanced discussions for the laboratory — but what I can tell you is that in my work I do frequently see more intense OCD symptoms beginning after traumatic episodes like you’ve described. It probably has something to do with new layers of thoughts and views of self that are introduced at that time. To reverse these beliefs involves an in-depth exploration of your identity in Christ, the character of God, and your own relationship with doubt, guilt, and control.

      Know this: you can heal from this. It may take time, but you can find the way out.

      God’s blessings always,

      Jaimie

  20. hey,recently i’ve been having really really evil thoughts about Jesus which are sexual i feel shame explaining but i just need help,they include Jesus doing something to me that is sexual and a crime i think you get the idea and now that i have thought about jt it’s like it’s in my brain now and it’s labelled if you know what i mean(it’s the R word and i have so much shame and guilt i jusr need help i hate myself) it’s like it won’t go that’s now what i think of Jesus even though it definitely not i pray all the time asking for help and i read my Bible and they just come back ,i’m still young and i’ve never had a mental illness and i’m scared that these are my thoughts because it’s like i encourage them but i don’t want to i don’t want to label Jesus like that i Love him and he’s my saviour i’m just scared i’m an evil person that doesn’t deserve Gods love at all
    Thank you for the article aswell it was really helpful

  21. Thank you so much I have been trying to find answers on why I have been having blasphemous thoughts in my head and when I found this article it gave me all the answers to my Question thank you so much

  22. Hello jaimie, please help I accidentally blasphemed Jesus, so basically a blasphemous thought came into my head saying something really bad to Jesus and Holy Spirit and my family, so I try to ignore it and praise Jesus I know this sounds weird but the thought was the opposite of this “I want Jesus to go to heaven” I accidentally said the opposite (I think you may know what I accidentally said) (the blasphemous thought) I freaked out and asked for forgiveness… will god forgive me? I don’t know what to do… this has happened so many times where I accidentally blasphemed god or the Holy Spirit like so many times were I accidentally say the “mean” word.. instead of the “king” word…. sorry.. I just am scared for my future and what’s gonna happen to me… I don’t wanna go to hell…do you think god understands I never intend to say these thoughts.. please help. :’(

  23. I’m having trouble on defining weather there sinful or intrusive thoughts cause there in my internal dialogue too like I repeat the same things everyday I feel so helpless on this I know I’m terrified but I don’t feel terrified anxious I’m scared definitely but there in my head I would never say these things out loud because I know then it’s for sure I’m toast I just want some clarity I care about my future with God and don’t want these thoughts at all not in any shape or form I keep relapsing on meth to also cause I don’t feel ok in my brain and I know that’s not ok either I’m going to seek help on this I keep asking God for forgiveness but don’t feel like I get it will explain more in next email if possible

    1. I have a therapist and I’ve also been diagnosed with PTSD and schizophrenia this all occurred after spiritual attack of voices and etc I don’t want to ever give up on God never ever but I think he’s had it with me and I think I really have done the unforgivable sin cause my heads not right and my heart isn’t either I just want him to speak to me and tell me everything is going to be ok I’m at Gods mercy you guys are experts at this how will I know

  24. Hi Jamie, a little about me: I'm 19 years old and on the autistic spectrum. This article really helped me on where I stand with the unpardonable sin. When I try to say something praiseworthy of God/Jesus, the sentence becomes mixed in with something else which will make it sound incredibly blasphemous. Tho I've never been diagnosed with OCD,I've done research on OCD and Scrupulosity in particular, and I pretty much share all the symptoms. New blasphemous thoughts/images appear in my mind such as proclaiming the devil as good when I meant to say bad and saying that he's god and say in my head that Jesus is God over and over again. My fighting with my blasphemous thoughts is like a broken record. Even tho I know God knows all my thoughts, I still feel guilty. Like why would I allow my that in my head. Afterwards, my head will feel tight after what seems like forever to fight these thoughts. I would feel fine for a while but once the said blasphemous thought passes, I'll go back to feeling guilty and scared again. I know WELL that God knows my thoughts, but have strong feelings that he hates me.

  25. Hello! This helped a lot! But, when I was reading about the Chemosh story, those intrusive thoughts came. Then, I tried fighting it and said in my mind that Jesus is Lord. But then I almost accidentally said in my mind the Chemosh is Lord, (it’s like those intrusive thoughts are a back voice and my thoughts are a front voice) and that was in my front voice! Can I be forgiven?

    1. When your thoughts get mixed up because of the OCD, that is not sin. God understands the weaknesses of our broken brains and is not holding you accountable for it any more than He would judge a low-IQ person for not understanding complex theological thoughts. It is in situations like these — when your brain seems to say something that frightens you — when you need to not fight against it, but rather lean into the Biblical truth that your prayers and spiritual affirmations are not what saves you. JESUS saves you. Being able to say a fancy, perfect prayer or affirmation of faith is not the point. Remember that Scripture tells us that the Holy Spirit makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. The Holy Spirit translates our confused thoughts into a beautiful aroma before the throne of God. Lean into that. Trust in Him, not in self. The cure for religious OCD involves an ever-increasing ability to let go of my spiritual self-dependence and cling fully on the merits of Christ.

      1. Thank you. I feels as though I’m going through each one of the examples of those blasphemous thoughts. Right now I’m on the urges to pray and worship the enemy. A thought came in that said “I sold my soul to the enemy”. It got me extremely scared and thought that that thought actually cause me to actually do what the thought was. And now I have urges to worship the enemy and it’s really frustrating.

      2. I actually have a question. So I’m pretty sure the blasphemous thoughts are gone. My blasphemous thoughts were a lot about the Holy Spirit and bad thoughts about Him. If my bad thoughts about the Holy Spirit were intentional, could I be forgiven? Like now I feel like I’m upset with the Holy Spirit and I don’t know why.

  26. Hiya thank god for the intercession through you in writing this article ,you’ve helped so many brothers and sisters in Christ including me ,praise be to his ,so many fears and doubts and anxiety has been calmed and stilled , however I still need advice on this ,I was at a church meeting ,I was really feeling the holy spirits presence within the meeting however when I asked the leader of the meeting to pray for Jesus to deliver me from intrusive unwanted thoughts and fear of blasphemy thoughts ,as the man started praying for me I had one of them thoughts thinking this is fake ,which has since made me feel worse ,is this blasphemy ? I feel like I’m overcoming many other intrusive thoughts ,thank god thank Christ ,but whenever I think of this particular situation I become so fearful and discouraged Again ,I pray my lord Jesus Christ can answer me and assure me and guide me 🙏

    1. Hi, Destiny,
      I think it’s quite common for intrusive thoughts to involve questions of “reality.” We may wonder if the important elements of our faith are fake, if reality is fake, and basically everything that possible to question, we question. You may wish to check out my recent article on Religious OCD and Existential OCD. I wouldn’t consider it anything to worry about. God doesn’t mind us wondering about if things are real or fake. The important thing for Him is that we actually take the step of faith and move forward in our Christian decisions/actions, even if we have questions and doubts popping up in our minds.

  27. Hi,
    Thank you for this article. My thought pattern recently is not as dramatic as some. How it can about: recently I was speaking with a brother in Christ about the meaning of blaspheming the Holy Spirit as written in Matthew. How this is a deliberate, final searing act of defiance and rejection so great, it’s as if angels in heaven denied the Holy Spirit; that is how deliberate and severe this act is.
    We discussed the passage, and I read scripture with fear and trembling; my only following thoughts the next day was, “I am so fearful of this sin, I don’t ever want to get near it or talk about it – all I want to do is serve my King.”

    That created anxiety from suppression. I then started getting unwanted thoughts along the lines of “say you blasphemed the Holy Spirit” or just “blaspheme the Holy Spirit”.

    My immediate response was what you described, knees hit the floor in repentant prayer and asking for the Lord to cleanse my mind. I’m now reeling from the aftermath of this. I know that this isn’t actually blaspheming the Holy Spirit as it is not a foreign or passive thought, it has to be the most deliberate and clear conscious action. Something I fear and tremble over to not commit.

    A quick background on me: I do have subclinical levels of anxiety and traces of OCD behavior (very minor). I also do believe that supernatural forces can manipulate our mental and physical medical states. And the enemy is trying to sow chaos and rob the joy of our salvation. But it still is hard. Prayers and practical therapy is needed.

    Thank you and God bless

  28. Hi!!!

    Soooooo, this article helped a lot. I’ve been battling this for about a year .. I want to walk in Gods love for me but this situation has just really been an ongoing issue .
    But – I know God has a plan for my life . I have battled with doubt and uncertainty and really despair but God is stronger .
    If you could send me more tips.
    Idk how to BELIEVE that God loves me .. I want to be solidified in my faith. I have felt like I was a screw up. Sinned too far .. and it’s really tried to kill my prayer life . BUT God is bigger so I will continue to speak life .
    I just want to really believe it in my heart .my pastors tell me what God says to them about me all the time. I’ve had Him speak to me .. and I still question . I don’t want to reject Him… or always be in a place where I’m questioning Him. Any suggestions ?

    Also is it possible that this can affect your sleep? I often don’t get tired or it takes a lot for me to wind down..

    1. Hi, thanks for expressing your feelings about how this is affecting you. I’m sure many others can relate.
      My best advice for you is to remember that obsessive-compulsive disorder sparks your brain to constantly get stuck on possible dangers. That’s the feeling you get that something ambiguous is wrong and you aren’t quite sure what, but you’ve got to do something to restore a sense of “ok-ness” again. The constant feeling like you’ve done something wrong, God doesn’t love you, you’ve sinned to far…these are not based on evidence, they are based on this nebulous feeling. But faith can reach beyond all these feelings. Tell yourself, “this is not me, it’s my OCD. These feelings tell me nothing accurate about my spiritual life.”
      Remember also that Jesus Himself endured some very uncomfortable feelings — think about what He went through in the Garden of Gethsemane. He “felt” like God did not love Him anymore and that they would be separated forever, but this was not the case. Sometimes we get feelings that are not an accurate reflection of reality, and this does not make us “less” of a believer. You are ok, even when you don’t feel ok. Keep holding onto Christ and you will make it through.
      Jaimie

  29. Good day i was once an honest servant God five years back, i preached and taught people about hells and many other things, i then fell along the way and lose direction a d went back to women and sex, alcohol and all sorts of things, i hardened my conscious and continued to do all sorts of evil things but during lockdown i just began to have thoughts of going to hell and this triggered the old me in christ and i began to realize all i really did to God, i then decided to ask forgiveness from God for ever leaving him and asked to be restored, i had a problem with leaving the girl i was with but invited her with me and she agreed, then we talked to a Pastor and agreed that we will do things Godly and enter into a courtship but after i sloved that evil imagination began coming into my head by having imagining sexual and evil thoughts about God and Jesus Christ, it has been about five months in the struggle i sometimes get better and go back again if i hear e message about hells and i start self condemnation saying that there is no way God can accept me like this, so my Gult is that maybe this thoughts are brought because of what i exposed myself into such as pornography, sex with multiple partners and all exposures to evil things, but after seeking help and reading things online this article i think it will makw a difference

    1. Thank you very much for sharing your experience — I know it will be a blessing to others who will read it. One of the biggest lies of scrupulosity is that “all guilt is true guilt.” Actually, there is such a thing as false guilt. We know this from 2 Corinthians 7, which speaks about “godly sorrow” (which leads to a real change in our behaviors) and “the sorrow of the world” (which only leads to death). When you repented and made a complete turnaround in your life — choosing by the power of God to leave your old lifestyle behind and shift your relationship into more godly boundaries, your guilty feelings served the correct purpose. They served to change your direction and bring you to Christ. The Bible promises that “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

      1 Corinthians 6 gives a list of sinful behaviors that will not be found in the kingdom of God, but notice how the Apostle Paul shifts the conversation at the end to show how forgiveness works. He writes,

      Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

      And such WERE some of you. That’s past tense. Then we have this word, “but.” That means there’s a big difference now. Something changed. What was it? You were washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of Jesus. Therefore, any guilty feelings that you have after this point about the past is considered false guilt. It no longer serves the helpful function of true guilt, and you may cast it away. God has already accepted you — these feelings of false guilt are either A) a temptation from Satan to doubt your faith experience, or B) the obsessive thought patterns of religious OCD. In either case, it is safe to ignore false guilt.

      I wish you the best as you move forward and rejoice in the cleansing grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

  30. I am so glad I found this page. I have been struggling with this for a long time but was able to just ignore most of the attacks for years. I got a trigger back a few months ago I was wondering why Jews today don’t believe in Christ as Messiah, then I started to question Christ myself. This led to intrusive thoughts and thinking I was damned and God either has left me (as if I had committed the unpardonable sin) or I was never a true born again believer. I love God and believe in Jesus and have given my life to him many years ago. I have been tormented for months now. I was finally diagnosed with OCD and Anxiety and so the intrusive thoughts and the crippling fight or flight response is much less severe, however I still few doubt about Jesus (who I know and LOVE). Even when I am reading the Bible I will still feel doubts or questions of him. I hate this and pray and pray for God to open my eyes of my heart to all of His truth again. This becomes a trigger then that maybe I was never really born again, maybe I didn’t accept Jesus correctly etc etc etc. que the insanity here…. I’m exhausted and terrified.
    I know I really am a believer and that Jesus was my whole world until this latest attack making me feel completely damned to hell.
    Is this part of it too? Is doubting part of OCD? I hate this so much and feel I need to fix this to be able to move forward in my life. Please help.

    1. Doubting is so much a part of OCD that it has been called “the doubting disease.” In fact, there’s a book specifically about scrupulosity that is titled “The Doubting Disease,” but you might pick up more obsessions by reading through it and hearing about what other people obsess over. I would recommend instead that you read Dr. Ian Osborne’s book “Can Christianity Cure Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?” He is a Christian mental health professional who went through some severe scruples and doubt himself, and developed a unique response called Trust Therapy based on several Christian theologians from the past who seemed to have religious OCD. I highly recommend his book, which will answer much of your concerns.
      Jaimie

  31. I also have these blasphemous thoughts about god or Holy Spirit, but they bother me for the whole day, they don’t ever stop, so I usually find myself repeating words saying ‘I love god’ shaking my head or even trying to harm my self to make them stop, it’s very trying and depressing, I’m not how I used to be when I first started to get real with god, I was happy peaceful and free, but now I feel I’m in a dark dungeon and can’t get out, sometimes, sometime I even accident blurted some thoughts about Jesus and the Holy Spirit trying to stop these thoughts… which made the whole situation even worse… I’m glad to know there is people that go through the same thing I do, and this article was very helpful I hope these thoughts that we have can stop one day, god bless 🙂

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience. Please get help for your self-harming practices! There is no evidence that self-harm can stop intrusive thoughts. There are much healthier ways of getting them to go away, but harm is not one of them. Please, please, if you are in danger, take yourself to the hospital or ask a family member for help.

      On the topic of verbalizing these bad thoughts, it’s something I discuss in a video about religious intrusive thoughts. Caving in is a sign of exhaustion, not agreement. Please take a look at the video, as I think it will be very helpful for you.

      God bless ❤️❤️❤️

  32. I'm sorry to tell you this, but in my case this scrupulosity thing really makes me almost want to quit. Like yes. He has become more fake even if He is The One i belive in mlre than everything ive ever seen. Im almost shure nobody in this wicked world can have the thoughts of the antichrist and fear that themselves can be that person, and to avoid becoming that(anexiety) only by killing yourself. Prayer didn't help. I once thoutht God did a miracle with me to not kill myself this year..He took the suicide thoughts from awhile. And now they are back with a different form the form that i dont wanna live anymore but not to kill myself. Nothing helped. To be shure everything got worse. And i never killed anybody. And i've already blasphemed Heaven and The Holy Ghost.. everyday in my mind. Without me wanting that.So yeah i think i will burn. And i've doubted the reason of my existance.. and i really, once again tell you, did not harm anyone. Not sexual not murder not.. i even tried to preach some things about Jesus in the past but im not good at doing that so i quitted that. i'm not a born again christian i still have some sins to quit but STILL. This cannot be possible from my point of view i reach this thought everyday that i shouldn't be creeated. Its the worst case ive ever seen. My own. I struggle everyday with suicidal thoughts. I had enough of this bullshit. Quitting every drug told me that these are NOT "demons" as i thought before in my head. And everybody told me no bro nop no demon in you. And i also think i have this thoughts from drugs. So yeah all the guild falls on me because i was using drugs and really nobody i know had ever experienced things like this from weed…..and also thinking that everybody is constantly looking inside your mind.. and the fear that everything ive ever done will be revealed on somelike big screen on The Great Judgement Day. Including these thoughts. Of course i think mostly i will burn. And i wished from along time to be dead. And i don't commit suicide. Because i live for Him and for people who love me. I'm crying right now.. I'm not the antichrist!
    Ive even accepted Christ as my Lord and Saviour.
    And still don't feel the real world. The universe around me.. and i often think i already in fact died and im in hell because hell is a place of confusion just as i experience everything.
    God bless you! Hope you will be okay. You and your family.

    1. And i kinda feel gulilt and regret that i said that He becamed more fake.. and i also think that He leaved me in 2017. .these thoughts are not okay.. those are results. The results of fighting this demon to the point where death will be the ultimate solution to this ocd. And i love Him the most i feel like i did something very wrong of telling He had becamed more fake please help me.. at least pray if you see the messages.. my mind is like hell..i actually still believe in God(Him).

      1. Hi Andrew,
        OCD is indeed very difficult. In the past, before I knew that I had scrupulosity and existential OCD, I also had bouts with major depressive disorder and suicidal thoughts. So I can understand at least a part of what you’re going through. It’s a very painful place to be — but not a hopeless place. There is always hope. You will pull through this.

        I believe God is working in your life and was surely the One who kept you back from hurting yourself. He is not the One condemning you, either. “God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17).

  33. Hi. I am going through that situation also. And the thoughts I have are mental images of bestiality. I don't know where they came from because it just started some months ago, out of nowhere. I can truly say that I felt traumatised and immediatly felt like God was looking at me with disgust and that I couldn't go to Him anymore. It made me feel so ashamed and it made want to hide from God. Since the beginning of the pandemic, God has isolated me and I was angry, lonely and desperate at first, but I now see it was to fix a lot of issues in my relationship with Him. I have become closer to God than ever before. The lies of the enemy came to the surface and God showed me how really saw Him and how I built my life around lies. It started then, as I grew closer to God. It took a lot to not let the enemy seduce me again with more lies. At first, those thoughts had such a hold of me, I really thought I was going to die from anxiety. I had no choice but to boldly go to God and just be open about it with Him. He told me : "Your thoughts will never separate Me from you". And I felt so much relief. I had to really stand firm on the truth when these thoughts would come along. I spoke to God every time and He let me know that not even one of my thought is good. He knows what is inside of men. This is why He had to die Himself for us. And He loves us with a love that is eternal and undying. These thoughts are from the enemy to try to separate me from God. They still come to me and sometimes, when I am in a vulnerable state, I still feel anxious. But I remember what God told me. And I think about Him and His goodness and perfection, and it calms me down. God taught me that the last thing we want to do is to hide from Him. But it is instinctual with us, like Adam and Eve hid in the trees. This is what man does but God tells us to never withold anything from Him, but trust Him and He will heal and cleanse us. My flesh can never be made perfect. I think God is allowing this to happen to teach and refine us. The enemy always plots to destroy us, but God uses it for good. Thank you for your article, it helped me see that we are all in the same boat and we must encourage one another.
    Psalm 32:3-5
    When I kept silent, my bones grew old
    Through my groaning all the day long.
    For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
    My vitality was turned into the drought of summer.
    Selah
    I acknowledged my sin to You,
    And my iniquity I have not hidden.
    I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,”
    And You forgave the iniquity of my sin.
    Selah

    1. Thank you for this beautiful testimony. I have no doubt that God is working in your life to bring about lasting joy and beauty. One day when you stand upon the sea of glass in the New Jerusalem you will be able to look back and understand perfectly what God was doing in your life all along. Praise God for His continual presence in your life, and thank you for sharing your story!
      Jaimie

  34. I am so grateful for this article. I was never diagnosed with OCD but everything explained here I can relate. I've been having this struggle for months now with these unwanted thoughts. Thank you so much. I want to ask so much but I'm really happy for this article and it's clear explanation.

    1. I don’t know if you’re struggling with this anymore, but my advice is to just ask God for forgiveness, and ask God to cleanse your thoughts. If it’s your OCD, again, ask God for help.

  35. Thank you so much for this article !! The first time this happened to me was when I was only 17 years old.I was a devoted Christian my whole life and truly valued my relationship with the Lord.When this intrusive thoughts happened I had no idea where it was coming from,it had just started happening before an extremely important exam.I was in a constant battle against my thoughts.And my anxiety and fear just got worse by the day.It lasted at a point where I became emotional exhausted that I could not even get out of bed for my exam.It was the worst fear ever,because I thought that Jesus has left me,even though in my deepest midst I know this isn’t true,because He said never will I leave you,nor
    forsake you.I had no one to tell or talked to because I felt so ashamed and discusted with myself.All I could do was cry,sleep and cry out to the Lord for help ! I was constantly and anxiously praying to the Lord to set me free.It has gotten so bad that I have not finished my exam and that I went to psychologist.But no one have diagnosed me with this or told me yhat it was just intrusive thoughts or some sort of OCD.All they told me is that I had a rough year and my brain is mentally exhausted.It was only a year later that I came across religious OCD and it was the first time I didn’t feel alone.To see that other christians en people struggle too !! Two years later to day and I can really testify that the Lord will never leave you nor forsake you !! He is a good good Father,who loves His children and those who seek Him and His righteousness.Although the thoughts come and go,atleast now I know that they are just thoughts !! And my Heavenly Father knows my heart and my intentions !! I just want to thank you so much for this article,it has really helped me especially in times like this when my thoughts want to come back.
    The Lord bless you !!
    All my love !!

  36. Dear Jamie,

    It was approximately 2 months ago that i have the first scrupulousity attack (was playing games and suddenly i have the thought of betting with the devil), and i fortunately have solved that problem by repeating some mantras("My soul is in GOD's possesion, you cannot take it"). Then few weeks after that, i have another scrupulousity strike (this time it was to sell my soul to the devil), then it is solved again by repeating some mantras again. And then another scrupulosity strikes again ( this time it is very weird, i am a male and i was having thought's of bearing the devil's child, maybe this was caused by a memory from watching the film constantine from 2005). And that is solved by repeating mantras in addition to remembering the fact that i am a male. And as for now, the only thing that happening is cycle of saying that the devil can scram and my lord is Jesus, and occasional prayers. Do i still have the scrupulousity or it is just myself? It is very very uncomfortable, but not to the point of causing anxiety attack(the worst anxiety attack was betting with the devil and sold my soul to the devil). And whenever i learn of something new, it seems this intrusive thoughts also have new weapons to play with. I hope that we can all solve this kind of problem soon enough. Cheers. May our Lord Jesus help us in this fight

    1. These are common themes in religious OCD. The fear of accidentally making a deal or worshipping or selling one’s soul to the devil is one of scrupulosity’s most common intrusive thoughts. What you’re mentioning about bearing the devil’s child as a male is less common but I have encountered some cases of people with religious OCD obsessing about possible sexual abnormalities from supernatural causes. So yes — that particular one is less common but is part of the mix.

      Knowing that these thoughts are obsessive-compulsive is one thing. Knowing what to DO about them is another. I would advise you to remember that part of the fright and “stickiness” of these thoughts is biological. People with OCD seem to have a predisposition to these kinds of repetitive, anxious thought cycles. However, part of the equation is also your own inner beliefs and life experiences (yep, it’s the nature-nurture balancing act — in OCD, we have both). How do we deal with these biological tendencies? We learn to coexist with the thoughts without fighting back against them, since arguing with our thoughts only gets us stuck in an unending cycle. But it’s also helpful to challenge our deepest presuppositions (the “learned” aspect of our OCD). I would ask you:
      1. What is your picture of God like? Don’t be afraid to answer honestly: do you view God as dangerous or safe? People with OCD often have an untrustworthy picture of God and this fuels their need to meticulously control their environment and thought life.
      2. What is your picture of yourself like? Do you see yourself as dangerous and somehow more powerful than God? Do you believe you are powerful enough to overturn God’s purposes for your life? When you trust something into His hands, do you take it back out? If so, why?

      Working through these kinds of questions can help you find unbiblical assumptions that fuel the OCD patterns. Wishing you the best in your journey…
      Jaimie

      1. Thanks Jamie, your reply really mean so much to me. For the first question, my views on God is he is compassionate. Growing up on Catholic school (elementary school until high school), we learn to believe in God and his kindness.
        For the second question, i see myself as nothing compared to Him. Honestly all this time i was not so religious, i would do things and then let it flow, if things go right sometimes i thanked God, if things go wrong, i blame my opposition. I've just returned to my religious life kinda 1 month ago, and the scrupulosity soons follow.

        1. And now my mind is kinda automatically repeating the mantra "Glory to Jesus, demonic entities can go scram" everytime i dont have anything particular in my mind, which is almost all the time because of the corona pandemy, and when i try to pray sometimes my mind would insert the devil's name, resulting in me pausing my prayer and correcting it mentally, while reciting it normally in vocal. Is it still counts as scrupulosity or is it just myself?

  37. Hi.. i didn't knew that it was a mental illness i'm enduring until recently. It started happening during march when we had lockdown due to pandemic and i'm still having them til now. This time i feel like i'm drowning.. i feel like i've done something against a loveone that will cause them harm against the lord which i believe i haven't done but i feel like i've done already.. i keep remembering the scenes and my mind tells me i didn't do it but i'm still anxious i must've had..will the loveone of mine still be accepted by the lord or not? I'm just afraid that because of me God will not accept my loveone anymore.. i need help please.. thank yooou

    1. I understand exactly what you mean. What you’re experiencing is something called “magical thinking” in the world of OCD. Magical thinking connects a cause and effect that are completely unrelated. For example, if I do something wrong, someone else will die, or be damned, or lose their job, etc. It’s the same faulty connection that lies behind OCD obsessions that connect a certain color or number with disastrous consequences (if I sit in seat 13, everyone on the train will die, or if I wear yellow I’ll get hit by a car, etc.)

      Let me rather ask you to read Ezekiel 18. It talks about how God does not punish other people for your sins or punish you for other people’s sins. It is a very reassuring chapter for this particular obsession — read it and be encouraged. But also recognize the underlying OCD pattern, so if it morphs away from worrying about your loved one’s salvation to worrying about whether your yellow shirt will cause a car accident, you’ll know exactly what’s happening: OCD’s magical thinking.

      1. Ohhh thank you sooo much.. that gave me a little bit of assurance.. but i would like to ask something again hehe.. if i knew to myself that i did not do something wrong.. like i keep remembering it and i keep having the same results in my mind that i didn't do it but i'm still anxious whether i did it or not.. does it usually mean that i've done that thing or haven't.. and right now i'm trying my best not to do the thing i'm afraid of doing.. and at the end of the day i re-evaluate myself and based on my memory i didn't do something bad but i still get nervous.. i hope you would be able to explain this for me because i really am getting a hard time.. and thank yoooou so muuuuuch..

        1. And what if you made someone do something bad but they are not aware that it was bad and did it.. will they be punished for this or not?

        2. I know exactly what you mean. This cycle of trying to remember if we actually did something bad or not is so annoying, right? It gets all of us at some point. But let me share a secret with you: religious OCD is a car that runs primarily on emotions. If you didn’t have those icky feelings of guilt, shame, distress, and anxiety, the thoughts wouldn’t bother you at all.

          Here’s the thing — from the moment we are born, we start swallowing information from the world around us. Our parents, society, schools, friends, and colleagues feed us input about what’s true and false about the world. And, as you can expect, we get a lot right but we are limited by what’s provided by the buffet of life. So some of us swallow falsehoods and we grow up thinking it’s true. For example, the girl who grows up being told she’s ugly will eventually believe that, even though it’s a lie. All of us have some lies in our worldview. When we work through the OCD, it’s really important to learn to locate these lies, because we can then speak truth into our lives. Jesus said the truth will make us free — and this is just as true in OCD as it is in any other area of life.

          Now, you get these bad feelings and get caught trying to figure out if you did something wrong or not. What is the untruth that is anchoring you to that unhealthy cycle? You may have heard of something called “emotional reasoning.” This is one of the common lies of OCD (and indeed, many people without OCD also get stuck in emotional reasoning, too). Emotional reasoning is a lie that says, “because I FEEL it, it must be true.”

          Because I feel rejected, it must mean nobody likes me.
          Because I feel stupid, it must mean that it would be a waste of time to try out for the math team.
          Because I feel guilty, it must mean that I did something wrong (and thus need to spend extensive time in mental scanning and digging to figure out what I did wrong).

          In this case, the best thing you can do is speak truth into your life. Recognize emotional reasoning for what it is and determine to let your life be guided by the Word of God rather than your emotions.

  38. Dear Jamie,
    I have suffered terribly with scrupulosity and religious OCD for all my life and I made a promise to God about masturbation when I was about 12 years old. I went to medical school to study medicine and we had lectures and even graphic videos shown us about psychosexual matters that made me re -evaluate my promise. I did break my promise but in doing so had the sudden blasphemous thought to say 'fuck off to the holy spirit' and then felt rebellious that even if it was unforgiveable to say 'fuck off to the holy spirit rather than not masturbate then I would say this. I then became terrified about what I had wilfully done and have been living in torment and feeling condemned and far from God since and needless to say I have been tormented by repetitive blasphemous thoughts as well for years since. I try and believe in my heart that God understands the promise that I made as a child and that He does not view my thoughts at the time of breaking the promise as something that I really wanted to do.. Can you guide me and help me please?
    Rod

  39. I was reading your description of the OCD escalation cycle, and could really identify with parts of it. I get blasphemous thoughts a lot, and the impulsive urge to say them out loud. I have a much harder time believing saying it out loud is forgivable rather than just the thought.

    So when I start to have those urges, I start to panic and am afraid I will give in and be dammed. Not that God wouldn’t want to forgive me, but He said that was unforgivable, and has to be true to His word.

    I have talked to pastors and other Christians, and they don’t feel that’s what Jesus was talking about when talking about the unforgivable sin, He was talking about their unbelief. Also read some commentaries, etc. but I can’t shake the fear that they are wrong, and if I were to blurt something out against the Holy Spirit I would be lost.

    1. You’re right – the unpardonable sin is nuanced and should not be taken in a magical or superstitious way — that is, we should not imagine that our words have abracadabra power to zap us out of the book of life. In John 10, Jesus said that no one is able to pluck us out of His hand. Not even you. Even if you make mistakes, God will lovingly pursue you to heal the relationship and will wait for you like the father of the Prodigal Son. The passages about the unpardonable sin are for a very different category of person and have a very nuanced application.

  40. Hey I’ve been having these thoughts for some time now and at church I accidentally said I reject…. (Not Jesus) instead of saying I rebuke you in the name of Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior. My heart DROPPED!!!! Anyways do you think I’m ok? At one point in my life I did say something really negative towards Jesus (which I regret now).. these thoughts have subsided lately but from time to time they pop up and keep going. Do you have a tip I could use?

    1. Hi, Abraham, I definitely recommend taking the time to read through this entire article for helpful tips. As I find verses or ideas that may be helpful, I’ll publish about them here on my blog.

  41. My thoughts have been getting better. I want to give my life to Jesus. But then I thought “What if I gave my soul to Satan” I don’t want that. It’s like the thought was there and I let it in. I want to know that God is with me. I feel like I’ve gotten very off track. I’m confused why that thought was there and why did I let it in so “easily”? I just want God.

        1. The Bible tells us that no one is able to pluck us out of God’s hand. When we get the idea that we are bigger and more powerful than God, it may be the case that we think our own mistakes can override the promises. Remember that “a just man falls seven times and rises up again,” it is not our mistakes that define our relationship to God but rather His promises to us. ❤️

  42. We all want to think of God without conflicting thoughts. We Just want to meditate on His word, allow the Holy Spirit to impart the word deep in our hearts that we may not forget and sin against God. All we desire is to have life in abundance and in full as Christ promised us. I know many here are out to grow spiritually.

    At least I know am not alone and I hope we all get better. By the grace of God we will continue seeing His goodness everyday.

  43. Hi Jaimie,

    I got born again in March, my burden was lifted, my newness in spirit was vibrant and my walk with God was amazing, I would study the bible on my own, the Holy Spirit gave me understanding and revelations until July 19th when my fear started. I spoke to my Pastor and I was given the explanation for what the unpardonable sin really is. I was at ease when I was with her but as soon as I felt, I fell back into tracing my walk and cross checking how many times I have spoken of the Holy Spirit. But also kept wondering how I got born again if I had committed this sin.
    I have been struggling with intrusive thoughts after I feared the unpardonable sin for three months now.

    Anxiety is like part of me. I am a confident person but this character is now a struggle. I am scared to read the word because my emotions are almost absent. Even in singing. When I pray these thoughts keep coming and it's hard to pray because I feel like I am not being honest.

    I have had trouble with sleeping, I had headaches, neckpains, panic attacks, knee pains, restlessness.
    I need encouragement. I need total deliverance from what is happening. It is impossible to live like this. We all love God and all we want is to think right of Him with conflicting thoughts. Is it possible to totally forget all this and re-wire the mind?

    1. Yes, Juliet — it is possible to re-wire the mind. The Bible says the truth will set us free. We must learn the truth about who God is to us and the truth about how to place ourselves in a right relation to Him. Scrupulosity tends to give us a sense of hyper-responsibility for all things in our spiritual life. WE must be sure we were born again; WE must make sure we can understand/categorize/analyze our sins; WE must prevent sin in our own strength…

      The truth is that this kind of thinking gets us bogged down in a never-ending cycle of despair and anxiety. This is why we must learn to let go of feeling that we are in control.

      The metaphor that is used over and over in the Bible (and, in my opinion, has been thrown around so cheaply in Christian circles that is almost becomes cliche enough that we don’t consider the incredible power in it) is the metaphor of the Father and child. In the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were created as children of God. Their parent (God) was responsible, not them. HE provided shelter, safety, food, purpose, love, and good things. But the serpent tempted them by trying to overturn the original pattern. He told Eve she would be better off as the parent rather than as the child. “Ye shall be as gods,” Satan told her. But instead, they became slaves. They went from being the children of God to being the slaves of sin. As slaves, who is responsible? We are. The slave has no one to provide food, shelter, love, or protection. They must look out for themselves. And with scrupulosity, we get stuck in this mindset of a slave.

      However, when Christ died on the cross, it was to adopt us all as sons and daughters again (see Romans 8). It was to legally restore us through adoption into the status of children, so that we no longer need to bear those responsibilities. God does all this for us in Christ. He draws us; He gives us the spirit of repentance; He writes His law in our hearts so that we yearn to do what is right; He sanctifies us, washes us, cleanses us, guides us in righteousness. It is HIM doing all this for us, His children, just like a parent bears the responsibility for feeding and sheltering the child.

      There is hope for scrupulosity. The hope is in releasing your personal sense of control, and this happens by recognizing your relationship to God is not that of a slave but a child. Read Luke 15 and ponder the ways God works IN us rather than exacting slave labor FROM us.

      I wish you God’s richest blessings on your journey.

  44. Please I'm a strong believer in salvation in Christ.
    For about two months now, i have been having questions about; who created Jesus Christ?. I want to avoid thinking about such a question but struggling to avoid it in my mind. Please is it a case of SCRUPULOSITY? Or it's something else? Thanks

  45. How can I know God is still with me? How can I know the Holy Spirit is still with be and I haven’t shut him out? I feel like my thoughts were from scrupulosity but I’m not sure. I feel disconnected. I believe in God and I want the Holy Spirit to keep working in me. I feel like I thought to many bad things. I didn’t mean them. Any advice?

    1. Hi, Sam,
      What you have described is how many people with scrupulosity feel. These unwanted thoughts that just pop in your head and won’t leave are called “intrusive thoughts.” Everybody gets weird, unwanted thoughts from time to time, but the average person is able to let it go, like water off a duck’s back. The person with obsessive-compulsive disorder, however, is hyper-vigilant about anything that might cause danger. Strange, intrusive thoughts about God or the Holy Spirit are “dangerous” thoughts because we feel they could cause us to lose our relationship with God or even our eternal life. So we get fixated on preventing or arguing with these thoughts. Unfortunately, this natural response causes more harm than good. If I tell you, “whatever you do, don’t think about a purple elephant!” Of course, you are going to think about a purple elephant! Trying NOT to think about something makes us more likely to actually think about it. Such is the case with intrusive thoughts. What we have to do is realize that they are not from “the real me,” (even though it can sometimes feel like it) and we must simply move on through life, allowing those weird thoughts to move parallel to us through our day. Eventually, we will build up a higher tolerance for these uncomfortable thoughts and they will bother us less.

        1. People with religious OCD spend a significant time ruminating and trying to figure out whether the thoughts are from them or not. If we can imagine scrupulosity as a Christmas dinner, analyzing our thoughts would be the big turkey in the middle of the table — it’s the main thing! So yes, in a way, the fact that you’re second guessing yourself is “normal,” for OCD. You ask the question about how you can be sure the thoughts aren’t from you. Rather than answering your question directly, I will suggest an article that addresses the “how can I be sure” question. Please read this short piece: https://scrupulosity.com/bothered-by-uncertainty/

          1. I try to avoid researching things now and instead I just try to repeat the things that I do believe. I mess up the words sometimes and then the sentences become things I don’t mean. I know I don’t believe the thoughts. But when I mess up a sentence, it will go from what I meant to say to some how saying that I want God to leave me and I don’t want Him to. Advice?

          2. This is very typical OCD. The way to deal with this is to not analyze the thought and treat it with indifference. Your internal danger signals will be on high alert, telling you THIS IS SOMETHING TO FIX!! but you need to ignore it. They are false alarms.

          3. The answer that’s going to make you feel better is “yes, you didn’t mean the thoughts, so everything is ok.”

            The answer that’s going to have a long-lasting impact on your ability to manage OCD symptoms is, “the nature of OCD is to make you chronically doubt everything, including whether you meant to have the thoughts or not. Therefore, it may not always be easy for you to ‘know’ that you didn’t mean the thoughts. But as long as you move on and treat the thoughts with indifference, everything will be ok.”

      1. I know that I don’t believe or mean the thoughts. I’m just trying trying to focus on that. Now I’m starting to second guess if the thoughts were from me. Is this normal? I know that either way, I know that I don’t mean them either way. Do you think God forgive me and accept me?

      2. I need God and I don’t want Him to leave me. I just feel so strange right now. I feel forgiven and yet I don’t. I want God’s forgiveness and I want the Holy Spirit to work in me. I want God to love me. I don’t feel like I chose those thoughts but I’m scared I did somehow. I don’t know if God loves me or forgives me. I know I still believe in God and I want a relationship with Him. Is it too late for me?

  46. I know that I want the Holy Spirit to be with me. I know that I believe in God. I know that I believe what the Bible says is true. These thoughts came into my head and they are hard to get to leave. Some are far worse than others. Some pop into my head, some spiral from other thoughts, and some I just think for some reason. I don’t mean them. I don’t want to commit the unforgivable sin. I don’t want God to leave me. I don’t want the Holy Spirit to leave me. I want to be in Heaven with God one day. I try thinking the things that I do believe to counter act the thoughts that I don’t. I’m starting to mess up the words and so then the sentences are becoming things that I don’t want. It started with a thought that popped into my head about Jesus Christ and then I got worried it was blasphemy and before I know it the same thought but about Holy Spirit popped into my head. Everything had spiraled from there. It almost feels like I might be thinking them on purpose but I don’t know if I am. Is this scrupulosity? Any advice?

  47. Jamie,

    You've dedicated your life to a worthy cause in doing this, and I'm thankful that God is working through you to help others, like myself, who are facing this.
    Your insights are much appreciated.
    I'm trying my hardest and my best to hold on– I just need to remember that Jesus won't let me go!

    Blessings,
    Di

  48. Thank you so much for this post. Many of the things that you've posted here are what I've been going through for the past few months. It made me questions so many things for the longest and put me a state of hopelessness many times. This post is a blessing and it encourages me to keep going. God Bless You!

    1. You aren’t going crazy, and you aren’t losing your faith in God! Religious OCD can be very worrisome if you don’t know how to label what’s happening, but once you realize it’s a mental health hijacking of your relationship with God, it loses a lot of its terror. God understands what you’re going through, and He still loves you very much.

  49. I’ve read every article on google about OCD and scrupulousity.But i must say that this article is the best one out of all the material present.It has so much detail and so much accuracy.The thought cycle presented is one hundred percent right.I go through this every day and I know the pain and struggle one faces.Prayers:)

  50. Thank you so much for this article. I am very grateful to you for helping me even though we don’t know each other personally.

        1. Scrupulosity isn’t a sin. It’s a mental health disorder that “happens” to create symptoms that mimic our spiritual lives. Please don’t be afraid. God loves you and will help you through this.

          1. Is scrupulosity coming back because every time I get bored I always think about it sometimes I am afraid to pray every night because I feel this
            sometimes I think I am a very bad person because of this

          2. Is scrupulosity coming back because every time I get bored I always think about it sometimes I am afraid to pray every night because I feel this
            sometimes I think I am a very bad person because of this

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