Last updated on December 7, 2021  by 
Jaimie Eckert

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“What if I’m like Judas?!” a sweet, middle-aged woman exclaimed. “What if I’m beyond hope? I’ve sinned so many times, maybe I’ve finally sealed myself in perdition.” Like other anxious minds, she was fixating on the worst possible characters–the real “Bible bad guys.”

For Christians struggling with religious anxiety, the list is relatively short. And predictable.

Esau, Saul, Judas, Lucifer, the antichrist…

I once spoke with a lovely missionary lady who had spent many years working for the Lord overseas, secretly crippled by the fear that she was actually the antichrist.

Others, struggling to overcome sin, are convinced that they’re like Esau, Saul, or Lucifer.

But probably one of the most common Bible bad guys in the world of scrupulosity is Judas.

Ah, Judas. The betrayer of our Lord.

Jesus' love for the Bible bad guys

Today’s blog post is dedicated to anyone who has read about Scripture’s antagonists and overly personalized these stories, seeing a false parallel between their daily struggles and the the lives of these men.

Was Judas Beyond Hope?

Jesus, ever our great Encourager, looks upon us with hope.

Yes, hope.

He believes in us, and thereby inspires us with the idea that we can succeed in our spiritual journey. He speaks to us in a way that expresses His confidence that we will do well, despite all our stumbling.

This confidence was expressed to Peter before he betrayed Christ.

And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

Luke 22:31-32

Looking forward to the night of His betrayal, arrest, abandonment, and death, Jesus spoke words that looked beyond the immediate tragedy. He saw Peter’s betrayal–the curse words spoken, the downcast eyes, the red flush of shame on his face. But Jesus looked beyond that.

“You’re going to return to Me, Peter,” Jesus said, “And when you’re back on track, I have an important job for you to do in My Kingdom.”

We know and love this story of Peter’s failure and restoration.

But what about Judas?

Judas did far more than run away at the critical hour. He sold our Lord for 30 measly pieces of silver, the equivalent of $200.

Wasn’t that the ultimate spiritual failure?

Jesus’ Hope for Judas

Before the crisis at Calvary, Jesus sat with His disciples, discussing important matters.

They had just watched the rich young ruler turn away from a call to discipleship, and they were confused. Jesus was talking about how difficult it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven, and this went against the grain of their worldview. In Jewish thought, the rich were rich because they were particularly devoted to God. “Who, then, can be saved?” They asked.

He turned their eyes away from themselves, as we must do. “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).

Peter, always quick to speak, said, “Look, we’ve left all to follow you. Therefore, what shall we have?”

Sounds like a selfish question if you ask me, but hey, we need the Peters in life to ask the questions everyone else is too modest to mention. And Jesus responds with a promise.

A promise that included Judas.

twelve thrones, and one meant for Judas

Remember the scene–Jesus is with His disciples. How many disciples? Twelve. Now catch this:

So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.

Matthew 19:28-29

Here’s the logic: there are twelve disciples. Jesus tells them they will sit on twelve thrones in His kingdom. It’s not really feasible for one person to sit on two thrones, so clearly, Jesus expected all twelve disciples to be there.

Including Judas.

But Wait…Judas Was One of the Bible Bad Guys!

It might seem surprising to think that Judas could be redeemed after betraying Christ. But if we are so surprised, doesn’t that limit the power of God’s grace?

We often have small views of God’s grace, like a few pattering raindrops. But grace is more like the rushing, unstoppable waters of Niagara. Christ’s urge to save sinners is so intense, so passionate, so personal that He will stop at nothing to rescue us. He even longed to rescue the Bible bad guys.

was Judas beyond hope?

Many people with scrupulosity, particularly those who struggle with blasphemous thoughts, feel that God is a tit-for-tat kind of God. If you have a bad thought about Me, I’m going to sulk in the corner and withhold salvation from you. If you get angry at Me, I’ll release some of My wrath on you!

In this vein of thought, it’s automatic to think that Judas’ betrayal must have meant his chances at salvation evaporated instantly. And we think the same about the other Bible bad guys.

Now, I agree that betraying Jesus was a really horrible thing to do. I’m not here to lessen our sense of sin. If you scroll back up to the quote about the twelve thrones, Jesus specifies that those thrones are for “you who have followed Me.”

I’m not saying that Judas’ actions were excusable. What I’m suggesting is that his horrible sin didn’t put him in a permanent place.

Judas’ One Critical Mistake

There was really only one mistake that Judas made which put him in a permanent pickle.

Suicide.

This final act of taking his own life put him forever beyond the reach of God’s loving invitations.

As someone who has, in my darkest moments, seriously contemplated suicide, I can empathize with you if that’s where you are right now. I know that death can seem so much more peaceful and manageable than life. And I know the overwhelming despair that makes us think, “well, I’m probably lost anyways, so why should I keep trying?”

Please don’t think this way.

Suicide is perhaps the most tragic of all mistakes because it symbolizes the last page of our story. There can be no more wooing voice of mercy, no more conviction, no more spirit-filled comfort. It’s the end, a manmade end that violently interrupts God’s work in our lives.

don't commit suicide like Judas

Jesus spoke to the twelve disciples and told them there were twelve thrones for them. He was planning on Judas making it. Certainly, in His divine foreknowledge, He could foresee all things from beginning to end. He knew precisely what lay in store when He told Judas in the upper room, “What you do, do quickly.”

But Christ’s foreknowledge didn’t mean His own ceaseless tides of mercy had run dry. Judas could have returned, repented, and been restored like Peter.

This is why I want to encourage those of you who have struggled with suicidal thoughts.

Don’t entertain thoughts of ending your life. You may feel like a reprobate, a lost and hopeless sinner. You might feel like the worst of the worst, with a hard heart and sorry motives. But as long as you have breath in your lungs, you’re never beyond hope.

Jesus had a throne for Judas. Imagine the beautiful story of restoration that could have been if Judas hadn’t prematurely ended the story in his despair and guilt.

What could have been…

Don’t end your story. Even if you’ve despised the riches of His goodness, betrayed His name, blasphemed His Spirit, and spit in His face, “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them” (2 Corinthians 5:19). There’s still hope for the Judases among us.

Conclusion: Hope for the Bible’s Bad Guys

In this article, we’ve only looked at Judas. There are a few other Bible bad guys that I mentioned earlier. If you’re hung up on Esau, Saul, Lucifer, the antichrist, or someone else, leave a comment below and I’ll try to put out further articles (I definitely have opinions on all the ones listed here, it just takes me time to write them out.)

In all cases, though, I believe there is hope.

And that’s something we need, those of us struggling with anxiety. We need hope that no, we haven’t gone too far for God’s mercy to reach us. No, we aren’t so sinful that He would turn away with revilement.

I think the case of Judas was tragic because of his suicide. Otherwise, his sin was just as forgivable as any other, had he allowed himself to live and to be drawn to repentance. Note that phrase, “drawn to repentance.” We often think we have to self-analyze and self-flagellate until we feel we’ve repented “properly.” This is very human-centered. Romans 2:4 tells us that “the goodness of God leads you to repentance.” This is the God-centered view of repentance. He works a work in our lives that we are incapable of doing on our own.

So please, don’t buckle down and try to “behave better” and “work harder” to make sure you’re not like Judas. Let’s keep it simple. Here are three actionable points:

  1. Don’t commit suicide. Ever. Bad idea in every way. (Plus, it’s extremely hard to get it done right. Here’s the actual article I read years ago that deterred me from attempting. Pardon the curse words, I didn’t care much about them at that point.)
  2. Rely on God to draw you to repentance. Don’t pressure yourself. Pressure and force are not from God (see Daniel 3 and Revelation 13).
  3. Try to stop seeing certain Bible bad guys (and yourself) in such black and white terms. If your anxiety tells you, “you’re like Judas,” instead of freaking out, shrug your shoulders and say, “Yes, I’m definitely a sinner like Judas–but the difference is that I’m sticking around long enough for God’s plans to be perfected in my imperfect life.”

I hope this article has been encouraging to anyone who feels disturbed by Judas’ story. Again, if you have other Bible bad guys you’d like to discuss, please feel free to leave a comment below (just don’t go into detail as to why they bother you, because if another reader hasn’t thought of it yet, we don’t want to “share” our obsessions!)

May God grant you the eyes to see Him in His glory and love, and to feel His healing touch. Even on those days when you feel like a Judas.

Best wishes on the journey,

jaimie-eckert-signature

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  1. How can I know if it’s 100% scrupulosity and not 80% scrupulosity and 20% me falling away or my Faith broken.
    I feel like He will not restore me, because of what I did.

  2. Thanks for staying in touch with me, and sending such helpfull in…fo. Will this email be read by other members? I took it to HEART when you said we should watch what we say in case someone else reads it, and we should not GIVE anyone else any of our OCD obsessions, for them to pile on top of their OCD stuff.

    I have a question about Judas & Peter, if you can spare a few minutes sometime.

    I 'd like to ask you about scheduling a TELE VISIT with you for more in depth counseling.
    Where can I LOOK on your website to find out how much this counseling session costs, and what kind of insurance, if Any, y'all accept?
    Thank you for all you do for so many of us, expecting nothing in return, EVERY day.

  3. Hello Jaimie, I just wanted to ask a couple questions. Recently, I’ve been failing over and over to truly trust in Christ. Last week, I truly thought I did but then the doubts came because I sinned on the first day of “salvation” and on the second and third day as well. Then finally I sinned immensely and have been on these sin binges. Just been lusting, cursing, making coarse jokes and hating others. I don’t know why I do this but I don’t know anymore. I don’t even know if I can be truly saved. I know Jesus was put to death for the sins I committed instead of me but it’s just so hard. Any tips?

  4. Jaimie, I don't believe I have asked you this question. I have been struggling with negative thoughts and words that attack my faith. But what is new is that in wrestling with these words in my mind, trying to talk positively over them, occasionally in this mind word battle, instead of uttering the positive word, the negative word comes out of me and it is devastating. A thought is one thing but uttering it makes me feel like I own it even though it was by accident and not intended. Can anyone relate to that?

    1. I definitely relate to that, Jerry, but don't worry about it. It happens to me a lot of the times. When these racing intrusive thoughts that are a part of my mind just happen to make it to my mouth because of how much they occupy my mind. So as you said, just remember that it was an accident and not intentional, and don't beat yourself up over it.

  5. Hi Jaime, Read this today, after a troubling day yesterday, waking up this morning feeling hopeless. It felt like the Lord directed me to your blog in a most timely fashion. Reading this gave me renewed hope. Thank you!

  6. Hi Jaimie I just worried about myself and my bad language because of god and Jesus. If they love me or hate me for who I am or something I said. If my sin is good or bad when I die. It’s because I don’t know how long if I’m staying positive instead of being negative. Unless I’m doing something wrong if I can’t go to heaven.

    Sign Nick

    1. I know this is a hard problem to struggle with, because I have struggled with it too. But as Jaimie has mentioned in some of her previous posts, and as the message of the Bible goes, it's not about our works, because we can never save ourselves by our works. So it's time for you to fully trust in Jesus and His work on the cross for your salvation. If you truly trust in Jesus as your Savior, you have the confidence that you will be saved no matter what you do because He has made you completely clean. It doesn't give you the license to keep on sinning as mentioned in Romans 6:15, as I'm sure you already know (and sorry if I sound prideful while typing this, I don't mean it at all like that!), but you can rest assured that even if you do sin (as we all do, as it is human, and you can find this in the following chapter in Romans 7:14-25), that Jesus will surely save you. "You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You." – Isaiah 26:3. Be at peace, my friend.

  7. Hi. So I am very scared that my actions are like lucifer. So basically I have been trying to worship God and act in situations how He would want me to act. But then everyone starts to praise me for it and idk how to be like praise God you know what I mean. And I’m really scared that I want to be praised and I really don’t I just wanna say all glory to God but I can’t seem to get it out without feeling like they would respond with something negative back.

    1. Hi Christa, this is pretty common in people with religious OCD. I’ll do my best to make another post about Lucifer. Keep an eye out for it and I’ll respond to your specific concerns.

      Blessings,

      Jaimie

  8. In addition I struggled with esau thinking somehow I had forsaken my birthright blessing and the scriptures about falling away I think in Hebrews, like esau not being able to come to repentance it troubled me for years I dealth w past trauma and feeling like God had put me past repentance so to speak. No wonder I struggled w blasphemy of the holy spirit for years I finally got delivered from this one but I battle suicidal thoughts not intentionally I'm praying God will deliver me from condemnation due to a gross sin I committed in the past which has plagued me. Something so bad I feared it was because I was a reprobate or somehow failed God so badly He turned me over.

  9. I was led to this site please pray for me I struggle w sinful patterns. Because of a great sin I committed in my past I have struggled to think I was beyond God's hope.

  10. Dear Jamie,
    i want to give glory to our king Jesus Christ though i don't feel it yet but i acknowledge Him moving. Just on Sunday night, i was reading a book that is pointing people to Jesus. The chapter that i focused on was on repentance. The book was expressing how it is "hard", not impossible, to come back Jesus after you have reached a certain point, the same way when Marie and Joseph lost Jesus, it took them 3 days to find Him, not 1 hour or 1 day. Then, the book started using example of Esau, Balaam, Judas, basically the same list as yours. I should have focused on the not impossible part, but "My Brain" chose to focus on only those characters that ended bad with their relationship with God. I ended up falling into a great depression the following day. I spoke to a friend of mine about it but that person helped me the best they could with word of encouragement. Then on Tuesday, i fell upon your email which troubled me more. Because I simply saw Judas, and more, i decided that i wasn't going to read it. But since I've been reading all your blogs, i wanted to face my fear and read it. Though scrupulous thoughts started bumping in my head telling me that "God simply wanted to finish me off with those articles that reminded that i was a bad/hopeless person". I really was like, what good could come from this article just to remind that I've sinned and i know that I've sinned. But, when i read your article/blog today, I found nothing but "Hope". And that is AMAZING.
    These past few weeks, every time that i would fall in desperation, God would send me reminder to not give up, like if i really pay attention, i can see His hands moving. As i am being healed, last month i started feeling better but i got anxious because i was afraid of that new feeling which obviously led me back to a depressive state. But then, God used your article to remind me that it will feel different but trust me, don't rely on your feelings. Now, as i have been pushing myself to have a feeling of repentance towards everything that i have done against The Lord, I realize that He doesn't want that from me, He simply wants me to be committed to Him, and in due time He will anoint me to draw me closer to Him by repenting and confessing and more. Before, i couldn't fully see it, I was simply doing repented prayer because i was scared, and think its the right thing to do. The only thing I'm starting to do now is acknowledge my wrongdoing to Him and others, and pray that one day He changes me in His time.
    I literally just read this article, and I can see God telling me that He wanted to bring comfort to me from my misunderstanding of scripture and from my anxiety I got from Sunday. Now i understand every time that I receive a "Never Give Up" out of the blue, it is from HIM. Im not saying that i'm there, not even close from my understanding, but i can definitely say that i am understanding my journey better than before which has helped me to have a different perspective of whom JESUS is. He sure does LOVE US.
    (Sorry for the long post)

  11. I thank you so much for this article! It really puts me at a bit of ease. I have a struggle right now that all stemmed from me giving thought to Satan and even pitying him which repulsed me greatly and I found myself caught in between a Rock and Hardplace because while those thoughts are running around in the right side of my mind everytime I hear or see the name Jesus I would have a sense of pullback and then I would freak out because I couldn’t grasp why either of these was happening to me. I had drifted for a few yrs from God and 2 months ago was having constant blasphemous thoughts and was struggling to build my love for Jesus. Now there’s a urge or tug always it seems to give into the enemy which I completely despise and even have to convince myself the truth and lies but because of my heart doesn’t seem to be overflowing for Jesus it leaves me constantly concerned.

    Any thoughts on this??

    1. Hi Glenn,
      People with OCD tend to be too “sensitized” to our thoughts and feelings–so while the average person might not even notice a weird thought about pitying Satan, we tend to notice everything that goes on in our brains and get fixated on it. Think of it this way: a typical person is like a preschool teacher, and all the little kids are the “thoughts.” Those little kids are running around making crafts, eating snacks, making messes here and there, picking their noses, pushing each other, shouting, singing, and rolling on the ground. It’s kind of like chaos. The preschool teacher (i.e. the “average” person) learns to tune out a lot of the unnecessary noise and just focus on getting the wiggly kids to mostly go in the right direction, averting any major disasters. At the end of the day, he/she will be happy if the craft was done, naps were taken, and snacks were eaten with no one choking. Forget about how many boogers were wiped on the wall. In this sense, average people recognize that there are tons of thoughts going around in their minds every day and they focus on making sure the general trajectory is in the right direction. There will be weird thoughts that pop in, but they don’t pay any mind and soon the thoughts are gone again.

      People with OCD tend to be, not preschool teachers, but air traffic controllers. Every. single. detail. counts. We are the ones fixating on every single move our brains make, and trying to orchestrate each thought. We register if any detail is out of line, and we spend hours ruminating on why that is.

      Try to be more like the preschool teacher and less like the air traffic controller. Thoughts are more like chaotic-but-harmless kids that need to be corralled in the right direction; they aren’t jumbo jets with the dangerous potential to kill hundreds of people if we don’t get every detail on the checklist right.

  12. I have battled with this for around 12 years and this is the first time in all this time I have heard someone mention the theme I have wrestled with for so long. I always thought it was real and I was really Esau etc
    This has given me a nee freedom and understanding but I’m also annoyed OCD has held this over me for so long 🙁 th ask for the article.

  13. I suffer from religious scrupoulosity. It started many years ago. Now that Iam retired they started again.
    Had a nightmare with the evil one. It’s not blasphemous thoughts is just because I feel that when I die I wii go to hell. Thanks

    1. don't believe the lies of the devil! the more he is able to deceive you, the worse it will get. i've had my own experience with this. i know it's hard to ignore thoughts like this, but if you have them, recognize them as ocd thoughts instead of real thoughts. then i recommend finding something to do in order to distract yourself such as listening to music or going for a walk. hope this helped!

  14. i can honestly say i have been saved by this article, i am so grateful for this. I have been having suicidal thoughts but thank you for the encouragement. I want to see myself as Peter instead, i will persevere through this and go back to Jesus. I know God is not done with me yet.

    1. Nyaradzo, I’m so glad this article has encouraged you. Believe me when I say that Christ is with you and has a purpose for your life. Even when you fail and fall, His loving arms are outstretched still. Keep persevering till the end. Remember to look away from self, which will only discourage you; look to our merciful Lord, who promised to complete the work He began in our lives. He is the Author AND Finisher of our faith!

  15. I was crying out to Jesus once and had the thought that I was just like Judas and should of never been born. I struggled with suicidal thoughts and cried on the phone to my best friend. This lie is soooo dangeours and I am SOOOO HAPPY you posted this and it made my day!! I have feelings I was reprobate because I had intrusive thoughts towards women. But found out I AM NOT that person and even if I was at one time I will love my sisters in Christ and never give into that sin.

  16. I am in the 'recovery stage' of my grief over losing my wife of 36 years to cancer. 2021 was horrible. I ended up in a psych ward for 10 days and afterwards life was a bit less hellish. I wrote this about ten days ago, it describes a mere moment in my thought-life back then:

    "My darkest days included this one: the overwhelming thought (one day in April 2021, I believe), that I was, through my unbelief and spiritual naïveté, separated from God from here til eternity. I believed that it was true for me, beyond doubt. It bore down on me hard, and my first (and very likely my last) line of 'defense' was to bear it out for as long as I lived (for I believed it was possible), and avoid suicide like the plague. Selah. I progressed a mince-step further, reckoning my eternal damnation and my preceding suicide. Selah. I progressed further, reckoning that my defenses in this matter may give way to something else. Selah. I progressed even further, reckoning the something else. Selah. I progressed even further, coming face to face with that something else, and I stopped, stock-still in its presence. What was that something else? I now believe it was a wordless thought that would, were I to surrender to it completely, drive me undeterred to seek death and Hell post haste. My terror increased seven-fold. The origin of that thought is unknown to me to this day. God must have heard at least one of my many 'Lord, help' pleas because it seems to be that He delivered me from that thought and placed me back into my then-familiar terrors. And I now believe that, even in this, God is merciful."

    Fast-forward to today, where I am free from a childhood 'curse' which was spiritual in nature; I bore it for fifty-five years. While I am not fearless, I fear less. Thanks for your encouraging articles.

    1. Praise God for keeping you alive and giving you strength. My brother, it must be hard to lose your wife, but don't lose hope and faith in Him and His goodness.
      He will go before you, He is a good Shepard. Let Him carry you and lead you. Let Him heal your heart and hurt.
      Don't let the enemy win. God will never leave you nor forsake you even if your feelings tell you otherwise.
      May the Lord protect you from lies of the enemy and give you peace!

  17. This was so encouraging! I’ve often worried I’ve been like these Bible individuals, it was comforting just to see this because I often fail to realize how much OCD and scrupulosity impacts our image of ourselves in relation to the Lord! Even just reading this makes me feel less bad and helps to put those thoughts in perspective. Maybe you could discuss Esau and especially Saul too in light to this subject? Thank you!

  18. Great article. In my early days suffering from scrupulosity I'd think of myself as a Judas type figure although I did at least understand from the text at the time – as you rightly say – that he could've repented. Other names that comes to mind apart from the obvious ones like Judas et al would be Ananias and Sapphira

  19. hi, my name is steven, and i'm schizophrenic, as was my dad. ever since one night reading the bible, ive always felt beyond hope. but just what if, just what if God does instill us with qualities that motivate us to help others when they are in need. i wrote a song for a little girl with brain cancer who died a few days ago. i wrote it years ago, but im gonna work on it in my studio to get it to radio quality. the proceeds are to help her parents, and other little children battling cancer….and one other friend in icu. would we have these qualities if God didnt put them there? the bible says that whatever is not of faith is sin? does that mean that if we lack faith, then anything we do whether good or bad is sin? i recently got out of the mental hospital (again), an prior to going in, i was off my medication and really losing my mind again. while in there, i was adjusting to a new medication and losing a lot of sleep, and also battling nicotine withdrawal. while i was in the hospital, i found myself doubting the little girl with brain cancer, thinking she wasnt really human….because she was so brave and courageous and free spirited. she had had cancer all along, but once i got out, i recieved word she was in the icu with breathig trouble….and now i blame myself! thinking it was my words and thoughts that caused her death…even though when i got out, i still wanted to help her and be there for her in any way i could. her dad says that song i wrote for her is really beautiful and it made him cry, as well as others telling me the same thing. so this is where i am right now….could there really be anything good inside me to enable me to do this? i take no credit for the song…the little girl inspired me and God gave me the woirds…i only held the pen. but i do still have breath in my lungs, so you say im not beyond hope. i need to do this…that little girl and her family gave me a purpose in life

    1. Absolutely, Steven, God has a purpose for your life and there is HOPE for you. When the Bible says “whatever is not of faith is sin,” it is in the context of a bigger discussion in Romans 14. It’s talking about “doubtful” things that aren’t really clear to our conscience whether they are right or wrong. Romans 14 tells us that we must be fully convinced in our own minds and leave other people to be convinced in their minds (this is, again, speaking of “doubtful” questions, not clear-cut matters such as the Ten Commandments.) One of the examples that Paul uses for “doubtful” questions seems to be the matter of whether one can eat food that has been offered to idols. Imagine the new believer going over to his neighbor’s barbecue and getting ready to taste a nice roasted lamb kabab and the neighbor comments that he blessed the meat in the name of such-and-such god. Would you still eat it? Some believers felt free in doing so, because idols are nonsense. Others felt condemned in doing so, because it might dishonor God. Paul’s emphasis in Romans 14 is that some people eat with a free conscience (faith). Other people who feel convicted to not eat might be pressured into eating (sin). This would be breaking their conscience, and is why he wrote that “whatever is not of faith is sin.” This verse MUST be interpreted in context to help us avoid bigger issues. It would be incorrect to apply the verse as you’ve mentioned (I hope it’s a relief in some way to hear that). Just because we lack faith at various times in life does not put everything we do under a blanket of sin. The strictest interpretation of the verse is: if you are convicted on a small, unclear matter, and yet choose to do the opposite, this willful breaking of your conscience constitutes sin, even though there may be some people who engage freely by faith and it is not sin for them. This can be a really difficult passage for those with scrupulosity, because our “consciences” can cook up all kinds of little things that we feel the need to do. So I always follow this explanation with the caveat that “the conscience must often be reeducated by the Word of God.”

      I love what you’re doing for the memory of the little girl. I have heard other people worrying that their thoughts or motives caused another person’s death…this is surely not the case, but if you’d like to better understand why your brain gets stuck in that rut, you may wish to google “OCD and magical thinking.”

      I’m sure your song is very special and will be lovely once recorded. Steven, God is present and active in your life, and has clearly gifted you for a special purpose. Keep trusting in Him even when things seem dark.

      Kindest regards,

      Jaimie

      1. This exact passages “what is not of faith is sin” was the one that made me spiral down with ocd. Things that I took with faith before I can no longer take it with faith because I’m focused on “I must be 100 percent sure or else I’m sinning” . Since that moment I’m tormented in my mind with scrupulously and I hate it. I wish I never read that verse in the Bible.

        1. Thanks for sharing, Claire. I hope my previous explanation gives some context to that verse…and also, “faith” does NOT mean being 100% sure. That’s something we talk about quite a bit in my master class, but I’ll summarize by saying that uncertainty is a necessary aspect of true faith. This is what sets “faith” apart from “sight.” Walking by sight means we have 100% certainty; walking by faith means we have enough evidence to convince us of the validity of a certain path, and we commit to going forward despite our questions, doubts, and fears. THAT is true faith, and it sounds like you’ve probably done many things in faith but thought your faith wasn’t good enough.

  20. Please show me where you found your basis for suicide keeping someone out of heaven. Show me chapter and verse how you came to that conclusion please.

    1. Hi Melanie, thanks for your comment. I did not say that suicide keeps someone out of heaven. What I wrote is that Judas’ suicide froze him in his decision against Christ and afforded no further opportunity for repentance. That’s the real tragedy of suicide’s finality. This discussion could probably go down a very deep rabbit hole…as you know, there are two major branches of thought within Christianity on whether a person can fall away or not. My intention in this article isn’t to bring up these differences, but simply to point out that Jesus expressed a hopeful intention for Judas that was never actualized. I am sure there will be many people in heaven who died by suicide, in a state of confusion, fear, frustration, loneliness, and despair. But as far as I can understand it, there will not be people in heaven who died by suicide in a state of rebellion and antagonism towards God.

      What are your thoughts on it?

      1. Not to take it too far off topic but personally I feel the Bible teaches that a person cannot sin their way out of salvation either by committing suicide or committing any of other 'big' sins such as, say, adultery. However I do believe if one apostatises and stops believing the gospel then that person will lose their salvation since ultimately it is lack of belief in the gospel that condemns us before God. In the case of Judas, it seems clear that if he had repented of his sin then he would have been forgiven and we could look forward to seeing him in heaven. Tragically it seems he did not repent before he took his own life.

      2. Hi there 🙂 Thanks for your article, Jamie! Regarding the suicide question… suppose there is a Christian going through a rebellious period and during this time struggled with severe depression and in desperation chose to take his life.

        If this person had believed in Jesus to save him from his sins then he is a brother in Christ and we will see him in heaven despite his rebellion and despite his choice to commit suicide. After accepting Jesus as atonement for our sins, Christians still sin – they still rebel. And if we die in this state…a state of rebellion…does this mean we are doomed? When sin increases, does not GRACE increase all the more?

        I agree with you that Jesus still offered forgiveness to Judas even after his betrayal. But I don't think we know his final fate as only God knows our hearts. The bible did say that Judas was filled with remorse for his deed. IF Judas is not in heaven it's not because he didn't repent one last time before his death and it's not because he committed suicide. IF Judas is not in heaven it is because he failed to recognize Jesus as his Savior…he did not believe that Jesus could do anything for him at that point.

        Do you agree?

        1. Hi Kelley, thank you for your thoughtful exploration of this topic. I definitely agree with you–we are unsure of who will be in heaven and who will not, other than a few specific cases. We know, for example, that we’ll see Elijah, Enoch, the thief on the cross, etc. because we have specific references to that. But it would be speculation for us to decide who will or won’t be there.

          I love that you’ve brought up the verse about when sin abounded, grace abounded much more (Romans 5:20). This is diametrically opposite to what most people with scrupulosity think. We tend to think that there’s forgiveness for little sins, but not big ones. Instead, Scripture tells us that he who is forgiven much, loves much (Luke 7:47). The happiest saints in heaven will be those who were foremost in the cause of evil but were plucked as brands from the fire and thereafter burned with love and zeal in the cause of God. And as I’ve stated in a previous comment, I do believe there will be many in heaven who died by suicide. God sees through the thick fog of mental health illnesses, incorrect medications, and emotional panic. He sees our hearts, and He will be the one to judge righteously.

          As for Christians who die in a state of rebellion–I think it’s very hard for us as human beings to define rebellion, particularly when we have scrupulosity. If a young woman has been a law-abiding churchgoer all her life but then as a young adult begins to distance herself from God, feeling angry at Him because she was sexually abused by a pastor when she was a child, and she dies in this state of anger, can we really define that as “rebellion?” God knows she’s working through important emotions, and He can handle our feelings with us. What about the old man I once met, a Vietnam veteran living in a postcard-perfect suburb of Chicago? When I met him, he told me he was atheist and didn’t believe in God…but as we talked further, the truth came out. He was angry, confused, and resentful at God because some of his best buddies in the war were Jewish. He watched them get their bodies blown to pieces to save others, and then someone told him that Jews won’t be in heaven. Despite his angry story, I sensed something wistful in his voice, and eventually it came out that he really missed God and had never lost his love and respect for Him. I was able to talk with him about the character of God and led him in a prayer to accept the Lord back into his life. To date, it’s one of the most sacred moments I’ve ever experienced, listening to that man unburden himself of 40 years of sorrow before the Lord. But what if this man had died in such a state of resentment and confusion? God knows he’s confused about His character of love and justice. Ultimately God will judge, not us. We don’t know the decisions God will make, but sometimes “rebellion” isn’t really as intentional as we think it is.

          I don’t know if I’ve muddied the waters or made them clearer, but I would say that we just have to be careful to not label our weaknesses and sins as rebellion, and to trust God to ultimately make the decisions we are not wise enough to make. Thank you for bringing this up, I think it’s a great point!

          Jaimie

  21. Great article! After reading the Bible and Judas' betrayal, I can see that Jesus loved him. Some other characters I struggle with are Esau, Saul, man gathering wood on the Sabbath, the husband and wife who lied in the book of Acts.

    1. I was thinking about the wood-gathering man recently also. His execution has always seemed extremely harsh for what he was actually doing, especially when you read about how Jesus treated people caught sinning…

      Another one for me is the chap who was struck dead for touching the Ark of the Covenant, even though he only did so with what seemed to be sincere and decent motives, I.e. to stop it falling when the oxen pulling it stumbled.

      1. Yes, I struggle with the ark one as well. I think maybe God wants us to see Him as extremely loving, patient, etc but because of His love for us, He also needs us to see the seriousness of sin as well b/c it's not something we want to take lightly. God's love for us is as strong as His hate for sin so I think some in the Bible are used as examples to show us His hate for sin. But I think He hates sin so much because of His love for us.

  22. I was there I attempted suicide many times because I felt I was going to Hell for thoughts against the Holy Spirit because I read Matt 12:31 and Mark 3:28 where Jesus discussed the unforgivable sin. These attempts all happened when I had really bad Scrupulosity attacks in Winter 2010/2011and Fall 2015. Now I understand he was talking not to me but very hardened people. My priest said for a sin to be mortal you have to do it with malicious intent and not care.

    1. Now my life is going good I went back to college and will be getting my tourism diploma here in Thunder Bay. I work at the Airport doing aircraft cleaning and will get benefits to travel. I'm involved with the Catholic Church more, The Knights of Columbus and Special Olympics and I now believe god really got me through the terror so I can be an instrument.

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