Tormented by a Guilty Conscience

Worried about Salvation
Unable to Stop Bad
Thoughts About God

Severe Guilt Feelings

The Help You Need


By Grantley Morris

If you have a good vocabulary
please read the Advanced English Version

This is an Easy English version of the Scrupulosity Webpage. It is has been modified by Annette Dodd.

This page in Advanced English, German, Portuguese, Afrikaans, Serbian, Norwegian

The help given in this webpage is needed by two types of Christians:

    1. Everyone worried having cursed the Holy Spirit or being unable to stop having bad thoughts about God,

    2. Those who worry that God might not have forgiven them, despite being told lots of times that they are forgiven.

If you are like one of the above, then those who care about you might not be able to put your mind at rest. What causes you to feel so troubled is not easily understood, and those people trying to help you might need this webpage almost as much as you do. Ask them to read this, or a different version intended for pastors, counselors and so on: Tormented by an Over-Sensitive Conscience.

If you are very worried about terribly insulting thoughts about God that keep filling your mind, there is also another webpage that gives extra help but it is in advanced English: When a Christian Canít Stop Thinking Blasphemous Thoughts.

Worrying that God has not forgiven you might seem like a different problem to being unable to stop awful thoughts about God filling your mind, but they have something in common. Good Christians can be troubled by the very thing they fear the most. They will feel sure that their fear is based on what God or the Bible says, even though it is not. In their mind, their fear seems right, no matter how much they are told by church leaders and even by God himself, that they have nothing to fear.

Starting at Feeling Condemned? Thereís Hope! I have put together information from the Bible, plus true stories from people who have suffered these things. It includes pages on the so-called unforgivable sin, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. These pages show that no matter how bad a personís sins are, or how often they did wrong things before or after salvation, everyone can be fully forgiven by God, simply by going to Jesus for forgiveness.

People often write to me, telling me their troubles. Many are in agony, deeply worried that Godís promises do not cover them Ė that they have found some exception to Godís clear promises and are not able to be forgiven. They go to great lengths to prove they are right about their worries, even though they actually have nothing to worry about it.

My heart breaks for them. I have gone to extremes doing everything I could to prove to them that God promises that they are spiritually safe. I used to expect that these dear people would accept my long list of answers from the Bible. Even when they seemed to understand, however, their relief didnít last long. Within days they would be back with yet another reason to doubt that God accepts them. Eventually, I realized that if ten thousand angels spent ten thousand hours telling these people that God had forgiven their every sin, the belief that they were forgiven would still fade and their doubts would return soon after the angels had gone. These dear people did not see it that way: they felt sure that such a sign from the angels would settle the matter forever, but my experience from counseling hundreds of them has shown me otherwise.

I spent many years praying about how these people could have their breakthrough. Finally, I discovered that these otherwise normal, intelligent people suffer from an anxiety disorder that lowers their ability to accept common-sense argument. In other areas of their lives they are able to think clearly but not in whatever is most important to them. Not surprisingly, for Christians, their problem usually centers on being sure they are saved, since this is of huge importance to them.

If you suffer from this, I understand your agony. Godís answer, however, is very different from what you expect, and you and I will be trying for different things until you can understand what is really happening to you. Letís say you need surgery and all you want is painkillers to stop the pain. Painkillers are not the real answer. Instead, you need to get proper treatment to heal the cause of the pain. In the same way, stopping unwanted bad thoughts about God or being sure that God has forgiven you, is not the help you really need, despite it seeming that way to almost every sufferer.

If, for example, disgusting thoughts about God keep flooding your mind, you are being hit by strong temptation, but the Tempter hopes to confuse you so much that you donít even recognize the temptation. Swearing at the Holy Spirit or having insulting thoughts about God forced into your mind is not the temptation. The spirit world isnít concerned about thoughts you wish you did not have. The real temptation is to think that because you suffer these attacks, God no longer cares about you. The tempation is to stop believing that, because of what Jesus has done on the cross, God forgives, loves and thinks highly of you.

You might be sure God forgives and washes away everyone elseís sin, but this attack is about tricking you into thinking this does not apply to you. The temptation is to believe the following:

    * You have found a hole or imperfection in Godís love and goodness;

    * That Christís sacrifice for your sin is not as powerful as the Bible claims;

    * That the sins you keep doing or your wicked thoughts are able to make a liar out of the God who offers forgiveness to all who accept what Christ has done to make them clean;

    * That you have somehow found a exception in the Bible to all of Godís promises regarding salvation;

    * That if you feel guilty, uneasy or distant from God, your feelings can be trusted more in spiritual matters than the love and truth of God and the power of the cross.

Just as an addict wants a miracle instead of having to suffer the pain of breaking an addiction, you will crave a miracle that ends your worries. But although you feel sure that a miraculous end to the temptation to doubt would be in your best interest and Godís best interest, it is not. Lifeís Mysteries explains this surprising truth but if you read it, you must keep in mind that the spirit world does not even see you suffering terrible unwanted thoughts about God as the temptation. The real temptation is to fall for the Deceiverís lies that if you have disgusting thoughts, or have done some other awful thing and then want forgiveness, that God no longer wants to forgive you. The temptation is an attempt to trick you into giving up on God because you wrongly think the blood of Christ has lost its power to clean you. It is like being tricked into thinking Fort Knox is filled with fake gold. It is only by fighting the strong temptation to doubt that you can truly become like Christ and grow in faith. Miraculous rescues leave us as weak as being carried everywhere would cause our muscles to waste away. No matter how much agony your troubles cause, and how weak and ungodly they make you feel, they can lead you to spiritual greatness.

Just as there is no quick or easy way to become an Olympic champion, so it takes huge effort to become a spiritual champion. You might want to be an average person and have an easy life, but Godís love for you is enormous. He believes in you and he has far greater plans for you than you can dream. Please donít break his heart. The easy life is not for you. You were born to rule.

Because the road to spiritual greatness is long and hard, you need all the understanding and help and encouragement you can get. As a way of showing you Godís immense love for you, I have poured my life into giving you everything I can find to help you. These webpages are like having access to a counselor who is available every moment of every day of every year. To get equal help from a counselor might cost thousands of dollars. I cannot do this personally for the huge number of people who need it, but my writings can. Having done my very best, however, I must leave the last important step to you. It is up to you to do your part by making time to read what I have written for you.

Of course, I cannot replace God. Read prayerfully and donít stop spending time with God, no matter how much guilt you feel and even if you keep having awful, highly insulting thoughts about God whenever you pray.


The Mysterious Power of Anxiety

Earlier in this series of webpages (starting at Feeling Condemned? Thereís Hope!) I explained all the biblical, spiritual and rational reasons why forgiveness is available in full to everyone who puts their faith in Jesusí forgiveness. No matter how evil a person is or how often they repeat their sins (before or after salvation) and no matter how troubled they are by cursing God in their thoughts, forgiveness is available to all. Later in this series you will find people sharing their stories about how they kept cursing God in their thoughts or still did awful sins after salvation. Their true stories show that there is no exception to the truth that everyone who wants Jesus to forgive them can have it. In addition, I have another series of webpages which begin at How Much does God Love Me? Receiving a Personal Revelation of Godís Love for You. These prove how much personal, never-ending love God has for every person.

Even all of this only helps normal people, however. There are those who need such a different approach that it surprises people when they first hear it. To ease the shock, I will try to gently prepare you. First, you must understand what it means to have an anxiety disorder and that it is common for people to have no idea they are suffering from one.

Anxiety acts as an alarm, and this warns us that something needs urgent attention to avoid a disaster. An alarm set off by a technical failure sounds exactly like the real thing. When it goes off, we rightly panic and feel the need to check whether we are in danger. If we look at the most obvious source of danger and find no reason for concern but the alarm keeps going, we will feel the need to check another possible source, and another, and another. If we finally convince ourselves that we have got rid of every possible source of danger, we will sigh in relief and reset the alarm. If the alarm is faulty, however, it is likely to go off again, and again we will panic and feel the need to check. If this happens day after day, it will get very tiring, but alarms are made to be too annoying to ignore. Each time one goes off we have no way of telling whether this time there is genuine danger.

An anxiety disorder can give a person repeated false alarms, each of which feels just like the real thing and can feel terrifying. Despite doing everything we can think of to put our minds at rest, the anxiety will continue. As if this were not upsetting enough, anxiety feels like a guilty conscience (which makes it seem spiritual). The inner alarm it sets off can drown out our ability to feel peace or joy or Godís presence (which again adds to our worry that something must be spiritually wrong).

Christians going through this will think they are in spiritual danger. They will think they know what could be the cause. Even when they rule out what they first thought was harming them spiritually, the alarm will keep going off (anxiety). They will then think there is another spiritually valid reason for concern.

The human mind goes to great lengths to find non-existent reasons to believe a false alarm is something to worry about. Look at this example:

A man wrote to me very frightened about the awful thoughts he had. ďTheyíre . . . horrible to God. Some of them just flashed into my mind. But others I feel Iím responsible for. I didnít want them, but I really feel I could have kept them away but didnít. . . . Some of them involved the very thing the Pharisees said in Matthew 12:24. . . . Evil, horrible ideas. . . . I feel so evil and rotten.Ē

I showed him some of my webpages that explain he has no rational or biblical reason for concern. He later wrote, ďI havenít been plagued by horrible thoughts for a while now. (Only occasionally.)Ē

So was he finally filled with relief and even peace? Read the rest of his e-mail: ď. . .  What if I donít have those horrible thoughts anymore because the devil knows itís over for me so heís moved on to someone else? I feel so alone and so helpless.Ē

The inner false alarm feels so real. People troubled by it give many excuses for believing their never-ending anxiety rather than believe the reality that God has forgiven them. There is no logical reason for anyone looking for forgiveness through Jesus to doubt that they are cleaned from all sin, but people still doubt their salvation. Here are some examples of the false reasons they come up with:

    * They have cursed the Holy Spirit;
    * They keep falling into sin;
    * They are more sinful than anyone else on the planet;
    * They never feel Godís presence;
    * They donít have enough faith;
    * They have not regretted their sins enough;
    * They have demons;
    * They have sold their soul to the devil;
    * They are not sincere enough;
    * They are not chosen by God;
    * They have denied Jesus;
    * They cannot pray without cursing God;
    * They are angry at God;
    * They donít feel guilty when they sin;
    * They have found some Bible verse or preacher that seems to agree with their fears;
    * They feel bad whenever they read the Bible or go to church;
    * They never feel peace or joy or an inner feeling that they are unforgiven;
    * They keep having dreams or supernatural signs that they are not forgiven.

None of these things is a valid reason for doubting your salvation. None of them can separate us from the love of God. None of them Ė nor anything else you dream up Ė is unforgivable. If you refused to believe that God is loving enough or powerful enough to forgive you through Jesus, or you didnít let God rule in your life and you didnít want God to make you willing to let him rule in your life, you would have a problem until you changed your mind. The moment you change your mind, however, total forgiveness and cleaning from all sin is yours.

Anyone going down this path will keep being troubled by anxiety, no matter what he does. The sooner he realizes it, the sooner he can accept his need for an entirely different approach.

Evil spirits can never touch Godís love for us, nor the infinite power of the cross. All they can do is meddle with our feelings. They hope we will believe our changeable feelings rather than believe in Godís unchangeable love and forgiveness. Anyone who looks to his feelings to confirm that he is right with God leaves himself wide open to doubting his salvation. In fact, until we no longer use our feelings to measure how we are doing spiritually, it will be easy to trick us. What is more, if anyone with an anxiety disorder looks to his feelings to confirm that God accepts him, doubt will always win. No matter how close he is to God, he will keep feeling anxious.

I suggest that you not only pray the following but that you print it out so that you can keep coming back to it:

    In the name of Jesus, who shed his blood that I might have eternal life, I reject and refuse to surrender to every evil power that wants me to doubt Godís love and goodness and to doubt the power of Jesusí sacrifice to forgive all sin. I reject everything that is not of God. I promise to be faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ. I affirm him as my Lord and Savior and declare that the cleaning power of his sacrifice is stronger than any sin I could ever commit.

    Anxiety might trouble me, Lord, but I praise you that you are stronger than any unwanted feeling, doubt, worry, guilt, fear or disgusting thoughts. You have promised to work all things together for the good of those who love you. I love you, so this is your promise to me.

    I thank you that this anxiety that bothers and confuses me is my opportunity to grow spiritually stronger, just as running uphill is a chance to grow physically stronger. Faith is of much greater value than gold (1 Peter 1:7). Faith can only develop during times when feelings and circumstances clash with what you want me to believe. So I praise you for this opportunity to grow in faith. And I thank you that even though, because of the very nature of the trial, it will feel as if you have left me, you are actually with me every step of the way. Despite everything that might trouble me and confuse me, you have promised you will be with me at all times (Hebrews 13:5). Regardless of what I feel, you remain faithful and true.

    You are Truth and you declare over and over such things as:

      1 John 1:9 If we say openly that we have done wrong, he is upright and true to his word, giving us forgiveness of sins and making us clean from all evil.

    You rightly say that if I claim to have never sinned, I deceive myself and accuse you of lying. In the same way, if I, who have confessed to you my sins and put my faith in Jesus, claim to be unforgiven, I also deceive myself and accuse you of being a liar.

    Anxiety feels like a guilty conscience. This tempts me to dishonor you by deciding that just because I feel guilty, you must have lied when you made this promise to clean all who confess their sin to you. Despite these horrible feelings, however, I make you, not my feelings, my God Ė my spiritual authority and source of truth. Since you, in the above Bible verses, say that I am made clean from all my evil, then I am made clean from all my evil, no matter what I go through and how strongly I might be tempted to think otherwise. So I hang on to your truth, refusing to go against you, no matter what feelings and doubts rage within.

    I cannot stop powerful feelings that are the opposite of your truth Ė even Jesus was tempted Ė but I can stop accepting those feelings as truth. I repent of thinking that a mere feeling Ė rather than your Word Ė indicates spiritual truth. I have sinned by thinking you might not be the God of infinite love and that you must prove your love for me by giving me signs or feelings or assurances. I have insulted you by wanting such ďproof,Ē as if you could lie or be unloving unless what you say is true matches my feelings or what happens to me. From now on, I refuse to believe that any feeling, no matter how strong, persistent and convincing, is a more reliable source of truth than you are.

    You give your word that you regard as sinless those who live by faith in you (repeated four times in the Bible Ė Romans 1:17; Habakkuk 2:4; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38). So I choose to live by faith, not feelings. I hereby reject feelings, or anything less than you alone, as a reliable source of spiritual truth.

    Your perfect, divine love means that you deeply love even your worst enemies; you long to forgive them more than any human is capable of craving anything. You donít want to let your beloved Sonís painful sacrifice for the sins of the entire world be wasted. You donít desire the destruction of anyone (2 Peter 3:9; 1 Timothy 2:3-4; Ezekiel 33:11).

    You tell us to forgive ďseventy times sevenĒ. Yet I worry that you will grow tired of forgiving me. The truth is that you love me far, far more than any human has ever loved himself or anyone else. Because of your endless love, you instensely long to keep on forgiving me and to pour out your mercy upon me for all eternity. Since this is your burning desire, sending you to the extreme of the cross, I was wrong to ever beg you to forgive me. You arenít reluctant to clean me. You are eager to forgive; your reluctance is in giving signs and feelings. If I depend upon signs and feelings, I am at risk of being led astray by the Deceiver who can easily copy and use those things. Your Word says that it is faith, not signs and feelings, that is ďthe sign that the things not seen are trueĒ (Hebrews 11:1). I repent of playing into the Devilís hand by seeking such things instead of simply accepting your loving forgiveness. I know that signs and feelings are the Devilís way to tempt me to take my eyes off the cross and the honesty of your character. He cannot touch spiritual truth but he can mess about with signs and feelings. Faith is our only shield; our one protection against his trickery.

    So I will honor you by stubbornly clinging to you, no matter how many doubts, fears, worries, guilt feelings and unwanted thoughts I have.

    I will stop wanting signs, feelings or assurances as proof that you love and forgive everyone Ė including me Ė who comes to you in the name of Jesus Christ. I reject all attempts to get such things. The honesty of your heart is all that I need. From now on, I will live as you have called all your children to live Ė by sheer faith, and nothing else.

I expect you will need to keep returning to this prayer. You donít need to keep praying for salvation, but this commitment not to seek signs, feelings and so on is difficult to keep up when you are troubled by never ending worry. Even well-meaning preachers can sometime confuse us by speaking as if feelings matter.

Anxious people can sometimes think they will at last find peace if they sort out a particular issue. The truth is that an anxiety disorder means the anxiety will continue no matter how many issues are sorted out. Just like a faulty alarm that keeps going off no matter how safe the situation, the anxiety will continue, and it will keep on feeling as if there must be some real reason for concern. The anxious personís mind will keep trying to find some reason, rather than accept the fact that it is a false alarm.

It usually takes months, or even years, of hard work to convince these dear, anxiety-troubled people that just one of the supposed reasons for concern listed above is not valid. Unless that person reaches the point of learning to live with the false alarm of anxiety and stop treating it as genuine, all that will happen is they will then go to great lengths to find another supposed reason for doubting.

It often takes years of agony before these faithful Christians realize that nothing Ė with the possible exception of medical help Ė can ease their anxiety (the source of their doubts, fears and strong guilt feelings). Like a thirsty man chasing after a mirage, these genuine Christians believe there must be some assurance that would finally satisfy them. They will briefly feel better after they are told why their fears have no spiritual, biblical and rational basis, but the worry that they are doomed will soon return. Despite the mirage seeming real, the truth is that this side of heaven there is literally no experience or proof, no matter how spectacular, that could end their fears once and for all. To illustrate, letís go to extremes.

Suppose hundreds of angels appeared before you and said that Almighty God is pleased with you and will reward you eternally. If you are one of the Christians troubled by an anxiety disorder (and vast numbers are without realizing it), you would be filled with peace and joy. You would finally feel certain you are saved and that you will never doubt again. Within days, however, you would yet again become anxious. You would panic and wonder why you cannot rid yourself of this strong feeling that something is seriously wrong. Rather than accept that the feeling itself must be wrong, you try to make yourself safe by thinking that for as long as the anxiety continues, a real threat might be present. To protect yourself, you try to find any way in which there could be danger despite that supernatural confirmation that all is well. You might think, ďWhat if I imagined or dreamed those angels? What if it were demons deceiving me? What if what the angels said was true at the time but Iíve since sinned and am now lost forever? What if . .  ?Ē Soon, all that relief and certainty you had just a few days ago will have vanished.

treating scrupulosity

How the Natural and the Spiritual Work Together

I am still getting to the part that at first shocks some spiritual people because on the surface, it seems unspiritual. Often the natural and the supernatural work hand in hand. After all, they were both lovingly created by the same infinitely good God, and both realms have been attacked by the same anti-God spiritual forces.

Not only is it not unspiritual to consider the natural, it is often unspiritual to ignore the natural. For instance, James 2:15-16 mocks those who say spiritual things to people in physical need but do nothing to help them in a practical (natural) way. Likewise, Jesus pointed out the importance of caring for peopleís physical needs, be it a cup of water, feeding and clothing the poor, welcoming a stranger, caring for the sick or visiting prisoners (Matthew 10:42; 25:34-39). Jesusí earthly ministry was by no means only focused on peopleís spiritual well-being; healing their physical bodies was a high priority with him. To be so ďspiritualĒ as to ignore the physical is to be more ďspiritualĒ than God!

I believe in the Bibleís teaching about demons so much that I am convinced we all regularly deal with demons. For instance, since the devil does not have the divine power to be everywhere at once, it is not usually Satan who personally tempts us but his underlings.

Typically, temptation comes from evil spirits who try to take advantage of any natural weakness they can find in a person. Temptation has a spiritual part, but there is also a natural part. Letís consider the holy Son of God. When Jesus was tempted to turn stones into bread, the devil took advantage of a natural chemical imbalance within our Lord. He had not eaten for weeks. It is natural for any hungry human to keep thinking of food. What is more, many of the stones in this wilderness were shaped like the loaves of bread that Jesus had eaten all his life. For perfectly natural reasons, his body wanted food and his mind kept reminding him that those stones looked like bread. Anyone with the ability to turn stones into bread would keep thinking how wonderful it would be to do so. Such thoughts would trouble any person but they were perfectly normal, given the chemical imbalance in Jesusí body. If anyone worried that having such normal thoughts would make him unforgivable, it would not only go against theology, but such an unfounded fear would turn this unpleasant experience into something terrifying. Having thoughts like this is not sin, however. It would only have been sin had Jesus actually broken the fast.

Similarly, your fears, doubts and unwanted thoughts are as natural and physically-driven as a starving man wanting food. Evil spirits try to deceive people who suffer this natural weakness. They take advantage of human weakness not by tempting these people to do what happens naturally and canít be avoided (having unwanted doubts, fears and thoughts). Instead, they falsely accuse them for having these natural reactions. They try to seduce these dear people into believing the lie that having this naturally-driven experience cancels out Christís power to love, clean and forgive them and grant them the gift of divine approval.

Jesusí temptation in the wilderness was so intense only because his body was unusually hungry. Likewise, any of us can have a defect in our bodily chemistry that makes us vulnerable to attacks that others simply do not suffer. Those free from such attacks might seem more spiritual or better Christians, but they are not. As unbelievable as it might seem at first, the only difference between the two groups of people is a slight shortage or chemical imbalance within their bodies.

We have already mentioned Scriptures that state, whether it is in the realm of temptation or how we show love, that we should pay attention not just to the spiritual but to the natural. For one last example: 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 says that husbands and wives should meet each otherís physical needs so that Satan wonít get the better of them. Even the great apostle Paul, who wasnít married, insists that it is spiritual and right to think about the physical side of temptation. A spiritual problem can be made less by attending to a physical need if there is a way to do this without going against your morals. Likewise, if a medical, morally neutral way of healing a physical defect was discovered, for example, and made us less at risk to spiritual attack, then we would have a spiritual duty to take it.

treating scrupulosity

The truth that might shock you as much as it once shocked me, is that for very many people who are continually troubled by what feels like a guilty conscience and being unable to feel Godís love, it turns out that the cause is not spiritual at all. These strong feelings that can so easily mistaken for Godís judgment, and can even fill your mind with horrible thoughts about God, are actually due to a mild illness that causes excess anxiety. Even though there is a vast amount of biblical teaching on this website, none of it will lower the deep concerns that trouble people whose anxiety has a medical cause. Just as proof that you are forgiven will not end the pain of a physical illness, neither will proof that you are forgiven end the inner pain of all the doubt, fears and worries brought about by a physical illness Ė a disorder in your brain chemistry.

I completely understand you thinking I am mad, or at least unspiritual, to suggest such a thing. Let me help you by briefly explaining how I made this discovery. This webpages is about you, not me, but unless you realize how conservative I am and utterly devoted to God, his Word, faith, prayer, deliverance from demons, and on, it will be easy to dismiss what I say.

Even though I am an exceptionally slow writer I am so keen to serve my Lord by helping people tormented by a guilty conscience that you will find on this website over 500 pages I have written specifically for people who find it hard to believe God forgives them. For almost twenty I have devoted enormous amounts of time and agony to this, and for many of those years, if anyone had suggested that there could be a medical component to this spiritual matter, I would have thought they were crazy or ungodly.

Large numbers of people kept e-mailing me seeking help, however, and as I kept fervently praying about this and pouring my life into trying to help these dear, tormented people, I began noticing something peculiar. Anxiety disorders were astoundingly common for those who could not be helped by even large numbers of faith-building Scriptures. Usually they regarded their anxiety disorder as irrelevant to their spiritual concerns, but as I kept conversing with more and more people, the link kept occurring far too often to be mere coincidence. Eventually, I discovered that a huge body of scientific research had already confirmed the link.

Like me, you will probably need a lot of convincing. Thatís okay. All I ask is that you keep prayerfully reading.

People troubled by cursing God in their thoughts or by repeated doubts are among the large number of people who are perfectly sane Ė and some are highly intelligent Ė except that their mind plays tricks in whatever area of their life is of greatest importance to them. It is not because they have less faith, Bible knowledge, will-power or devotion than other Christians. In fact, they are usually above average on such things. It is just that in this area of life, anxiety is almost literally driving them crazy. Contrary to what seems obvious, their fears are not as a result of spiritual or rational things but come from a chemical imbalance that causes them to suffer from unusual levels of anxiety. Because it has a medical basis, you cannot switch off this anxiety (and the guilt feelings, worries about salvation, not being able to control your thoughts, etc., that come with this) by more Bible reading, trying to worry less, working harder on building up your faith, or whatever. To suffer from medically caused anxiety doesnít mean you are spiritually lacking any more than suffering a broken leg means you are spiritually lacking.

The unfortunate people who have this physical problem feel guilty, uneasy or worry far more than the average person about at least one thing (and it is usually whatever is most important to them), even when they donít need to. Regardless of what they do Ė how much fellowship with God they have, how much faith they have, how much Bible knowledge they have Ė that awful, troubling feeling keeps eating away at them because the cause is not spiritual or rational but physical. No matter what they believe or think and how much God approves of them and delights in them, that horrible feeling keeps returning. Our brain is designed to treat that feeling Ė usually called anxiety Ė as an alarm warning us that something is seriously wrong. The problem is that when a chemical imbalance sets off a false alarm, the very alarm we rely on to alert us to physical or spiritual danger has been triggered. The part of our brain made to respond to the alarm cannot tell the difference between a chemically caused false alarm and the real thing. As the alarm keeps on and on, the brain keeps hunting for some danger that set off the alarm. No matter what reassurances come from God, Scripture, spiritual authorities, past experiences or whatever, the alarm keeps blaring and so we keep worrying that there must be some genuine spiritual danger.

What confuses these people is that their gut feeling (some people call it their conscience and some even confuse it with the voice of God) has been distorted by a condition well known to doctors. Unfortunately, the implications are rarely understood by everyone.

When this troubling false alarm sounds just like the real thing and blares within a person day after day, it is enough to distort anyoneís spiritual view. This devastating feeling keeps nagging away and drowns out what, for anyone who hasnít experienced it, would be more than enough proof of Godís acceptance. Although this unpleasant and confusing condition troubles a small amount of people, the numbers add up to literally millions of people worldwide.

Lots of people suffer from an anxiety disorder, but havenít gone to a doctor to find out if they have it. You could be one of them and if it turns out that you are, so many things will not make sense to you. For example:

    * If you are troubled by horrible thoughts, the harder you try not to think them, the more you will have them.

    * If you long to be sure of Godís forgiveness, the more you seek assurance, the less you will have it.

A full explanation will follow further on and can be understood by most people. Those suffering from this condition, however, will have a much harder time accepting the truth. They find it so different to what feels naturally right. The dreadful feeling that something is wrong keeps on at them nonstop. Everything within someone suffering from great anxiety will scream against the truth. They will keep getting worse instead of better unless they totally change their understanding.

I kept breathing too quickly once. I felt certain I was not getting enough air and so I breathed harder, totally unaware that I was actually suffering from too much air and I needed to breathe less. So it is with those who keep having unwanted thoughts or long to be sure of their salvation. They will only get worse until they learn to do almost the exact opposite of what they feel sure will help. They are so convinced they need to do the opposite of what will actually help that they usually cannot even get what the following webpages are saying. They think they say different things than they do because they want the webpages to agree with what they wrongly think.

Keep going through these webpages over and over. Donít just read them but prayerfully study them. You need to have constant reminders to balance out the constant anxiety that tricks you into thinking there is a genuine reason to be worried. Regularly pray that your eyes will be opened to the truths in these pages that you are currently blinded to. Even after you grasp the truth, you will often find yourself slipping away and returning to your old mistaken thinking that feels so naturally right. To keep on track you will need to keep returning to these webpages. Thesy might be slightly updated from time to time but print off at least some pages so you can read them even during such things as a power failure.

Donít forget to ask those who care about you to read the shortened version of this webpage: Tormented by an Over-Sensitive Conscience.

religious ocd

You Need More:
If you want a rest from reading, now is a good time. If you worry that you are in spiritual danger, however, you will need to return to these webpages whenever you can and read more. Note the web address of the next webpage before leaving.

Next Page:

Forever Lost Your Salvation? Beyond Redemption? Spiritual Fear & Worry Examined

Not to be sold. © Copyright, 2007, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017 Grantley Morris. Not to be copied in whole or in part without citing this entire paragraph. Many more compassionate, inspiring, sometimes hilarious writings by Grantley Morris available free at the following internet site Freely you have received, freely give.

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Scripture quotations are from the New International Version © Copyright, 1978 by New York International Bible Society

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