I saw God as far meaner than my abusive father could ever be. Let me explain:
My dad hated everyone he came in contact with. He would not only punish me Ė I could accept that Ė but half the time I had no idea what I had done to cause it. Whenever he accused me, the truth wasnít enough. He would beat me until I told him the version he wanted to hear, which was usually a lie just to get him to stop. Then as I cried hysterically, I was hit again and again until I could make myself stop crying. I particularly hated being lifted completely off the floor by my hair and then Ė still held by my hair alone Ė dragged up the steps to my room. The beatings seemed to last for as long as he was in a bad mood. I was the oldest child and seemed to be blamed for everything and take everyoneís punishment.
I honestly canít recall a single moment in my childhood when I was happy. Even at a young age I had suicidal tendencies. I remember beating my head on the steps till I bled. I was always amazed at other families. They were so nice.
I was told God is love, but I could never see it. I thought if my earthly father is like he is, God must be far worse.
My father only sent me to church as a free baby sitter. I remember my second time at Sunday school. I brought a Bible with me and had it confiscated because it wasnít the old King James Version. I think my Sunday school teacher burned it. I wanted to read Godís Word but I couldnít understand old English.
This church said I was going to hell because I couldnít speak in tongues. That devastated me. They taught that if I ever left the church I was turning my back on God and he would never forgive me. They gave vivid descriptions of hell and repeatedly said that if I didnít witness to others I would be held responsible for them going to hell. My friends would scream my name from hell asking why I never told them about God. But I was so extremely shy that for me to tell others about God seemed next to impossible.
I was constantly tormented with fear because I couldnít speak in tongues and I had many nightmares that I was left behind in the rapture. I thought I knew Godís word pretty well but I somehow used it to condemn myself. I thought I had to be literally perfect or Iíd go to hell. I was constantly paranoid about God.
When I was 13, my family moved house and I stopped attending church. It was a relief, actually. Slowly I plunged from being a good kid to being a mean-spirited, hateful person. After having tried so hard to be a good Christian, I ended up hating the God I believed had rejected me and always would.
Over the years Iíve read a lot of Christian testimonies but after each I would say, ďWell, God forgave that person but Iíve been far more sinful than him.Ē Iíve since discovered that making people suppose they are worse than almost everyone else is a favorite trick of the Evil One. Nevertheless, thereís no doubt in my mind that if anyone is guilty itís me.
I threw a rock through a church window. I beat up my friends who went to church. I ripped up a Bible and I told my parents I hate Jesus. I told God I would never worship him; I would worship Satan instead. I postered my bedroom walls with 666 and satanic symbols. What I liked most about my favorite band was that they had a demon as their mascot and sang songs like ďChildren of the Damned,Ē and ďNumber of the BeastĒ.
I was drinking and on drugs by the age of 14. I found that when I was on drugs or drinking I didnít have to think about God. It also seemed to numb my conscience. I had no idea it was not God who was tormenting me with guilt and fear, but Satan pretending to be God.
I would often visualize killing my dad. My brother and I plotted to kill him but we couldnít come up with a good enough plan. At least thatís how I saw it. My brother didnít care what the plan was; he just wanted my help to murder our father.
I often used to beat my brother; pounding him over and over. I feel guilt to this day because he is the most violent person I have ever known. I surely didnít help. I remember him lifting weights saying, ďIím going to beat you and Dad up one day.Ē He has, several times. I donít blame him. He has just been released from prison; having served two years for felony domestic violence.
At about 18 years of age, thoughts that I was damned to hell and had sold my soul to the devil began hounding me night and day. I had had terrible fears before but this was my first taste of extreme fear. It threw me into such severe depression that I was hospitalized for about two weeks. I was eventually given medication that made the thoughts go away. One day I noticed the thoughts were gone. I told myself I would go back to the Lord. Only I never did.
Inner torment like a volcano seething within me fueled an explosive temper. I have often smashed my own possessions in rage and punched holes in walls. I would get so angry while driving that I ran over street signs and other things. I had such little desire to live that I would do reckless things like racing toward train tracks at high speed, not caring if a train was coming.
On the rare times I entered a church I would hear swearing in my mind and I would fill with repulsive, sexually orientated thoughts about Jesus. I would leave feeling disgusted.
My mind would fill with cursing God and Jesus. This drove me to conclude I had committed the unforgivable sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. It wasnít long before the Holy Spirit himself was included in the obscene thoughts. It seemed like the more I wanted the thoughts to stop the more they started. I even had thoughts that I was the Antichrist. Thoughts that God was going to strike me down led to thoughts of rebellion and defiant dares like, ďGo ahead, God, kill me!Ē
With filthy, blasphemous and distressing thoughts usually coming whenever I tried to get close to God, I found the easiest way was to stay out of religion. I began to look at Christianity as the cause of my problem.
Comment by Grantley: Evil Spirits
My friend is so sensitive to the differing needs of readers that he wants no one to feel uncomfortable over the fact that he has already mentioned the devil and there is more to come. So before proceeding, let me put your mind at ease by explaining why this is not a scary or kinky subject.
The mind-boggling rate at which new scientific discoveries are being made affirms not only how much we are learning, but how much more is yet to be discovered. Todayís science is so much in its infancy that not long ago it was believed that the most scientific way to study human psychology was to consider behavior alone and completely ignore the fact that humans have thoughts. If even thoughts are virtually beyond the reach of present-day science, it is not surprising that the spirit realm is too much for current scientific investigation to handle.
Some people know God exists, and yet do not think evil spirits exist. That is ridiculous. We just have to look at the world to see there is much good and much evil. If God is the spiritual power behind the good, then the evil around us also has spiritual powers behind it. Being evil, these powers feel no obligation to be truthful. They love being deceptive and do all they can to give God a bad name.
It is common for Christians to speak of Satan trying to tempt or deceive them by putting thoughts into their minds. (Technically, it is usually Satanís agents Ė demons Ė who do the actual work, but it is legitimate to see Satan as the ultimate source.) At first thought, one might suppose that a person would have to be evil for Satan to put thoughts into his/her mind. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The apostle Paul was not writing to demon-possessed madmen when he wrote, ďFor our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but . . . against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realmsĒ (Ephesians 6:12). Not only was Paul writing to ordinary Christians, he included himself by saying ď our struggleĒ. So this is normal.
All of us are influenced by the spirit world (God and his angels and Satan and his angels Ė demons) and it happens far more frequently in our lives than most of us realize. The Bible says Satan spoke to the Holy Son of God, tempting him. So not even the most saintly people can avoid it. In fact, the more godly the person, the more you might expect that person to be a target.
The most common way for the Tempter to operate is to put thoughts in our minds that seem indistinguishable from our own thoughts. So there is nothing scary about having thoughts whispered into our minds that have their source in intelligences other than our own. In fact, it is comforting to realize that many of the evil thoughts that plague us and fill us with guilt and shame are not even our own thoughts. We donít have to own them.
Letís return to my friendís story.
Failed Attempts to Return to God
I often tried to return to God. Iíve said the sinnerís prayer countless times Ė my best estimate is literally a hundred times. Having been taught as a child at church that I should pray for the Holy Spirit and that it would be a moving experience, I was associating God with a feeling. Rather than trusting Godís Word concerning salvation, I was looking for a positive feeling as an indication that God had accepted me. Each time I tried to reach out to God, I waited for something positive to happen, only to feel spurned by God. Not only was there no positive feeling within the timeframe that I had hoped Ė that would have been disconcerting enough Ė but I would hit a wall of fear. I have been in life-threatening situations and felt less fear. So oppressive was the guilt and fear whenever I considered returning to God, that I always felt compelled to turn away from God.
Believing that the fear was from God, I concluded that only he could take it away. I sat in a prison of fear waiting for God to release me, not realizing that Jesus had already paid the price for my release. I had no idea I was putting myself through unnecessary mental torment. I could have just ignored the fear and walked out the prison door. Rather than pushing through the fear, I gave into the awful feeling, having wrongly thought the fear was God letting me know I was doomed because my gross sins had rendered me unforgivable. This belief would often push me into depression. I would then get on medication and return to my sinful lifestyle. I kept going through this same cycle over and over.
It seemed the only way I could function was to eliminate God from my life, so I did just that. Things went fine for a while. I got married and had a son. I got off illicit drugs and alcohol. I even started a business. For the first time in my life I was finally happy.
Then I began to think that all these good things were from God. I told myself, ďIt canít be! There is no God!Ē
I logged on to an atheist website and assured myself God doesnít exist.
Facing my Fears
ďWhy do so many people love God?Ē I puzzled, ďHe wants only to send everyone to hell.Ē Wondering if I had overlooked something, I explored a number of websites and learned a lot about God. I asked myself, ďWhy do I despise God so much?Ē Within a couple of days I was once again overwhelmed by fear. I told myself, ďThis fear is surely God again; I remember this from years ago.Ē I immediately cried and began repenting. I resolved to turn my back on everything evil in my life and face my fear of God.
I started reading the Bible but was afraid it would only confirm that Iím condemned. Before long, it felt like everything in the Bible somehow condemned me. My mother worried about my spiritual state and visited me a lot. I would often tell her, ďLook, this verse right here proves Iím going to hell!Ē We would then go over it and discover its meaning was totally different. I couldnít figure out why I could have gotten such a condemning message from it.
With verses seeming to scream condemnation at me I would fill with fear and stop reading the Bible.
I bought a book about spiritual warfare. All was fine for a while, then even that book seemed to be condemning me and I put it down. Eventually, I forced myself to open the book again. I re-read the condemning sentence I had underlined. To my surprise, I couldnít find anything in it that could lead me to feel condemned.
I began to notice that as I read, fear would overwhelm me, causing me to throw the book down without finishing the sentence.
It took me a long while to realize it, but finally the truth of 2 Timothy 1:7 hit my spirit: ďFor God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.Ē This discovery changed everything. Contrary to what I had always thought, the fear and condemnation I suffered were not from God. Clinging to this truth has revolutionized my life. The truth of that verse has become so real to me that I now look back and can hardly believe that for most of my life I had not realized that my fear of drawing close to God was not from God but from the devil who wanted to keep me from God.
It is so ironic that I feared my Savior Ė the one person who was truly able to rescue me. If only I had realized years ago that he longed to help me, and loved me with infinite love.
I look back on all the unpleasant things in my life that I had considered were from God and realize that they were not from him at all. I had not been rebelling against the true God but against a beast that not only did not love me but who continually rejected me and filled me with fear. It turned out that this beast was not the true God but just Satan trying to fool me.
Prayer Was So Very Hard
Whenever I prayed, repulsive, uncontrollable blasphemous thoughts would swamp my mind. Appalled, I would stop praying. Slowly I convinced myself that despite the blasphemies buzzing through my head, God wanted to hear from me. So one day, instead of stopping because of the thoughts, I told myself, ďToo bad! Iím going to pray to God everyday, regardless!Ē I prayed hard, ignoring the thoughts. If the thoughts increased, I prayed longer. It was a daily battle, but now when I pray my mind is usually quiet and peaceful. I guess the devil eventually figured out his trick no longer worked with me, since no matter what he threw at me I kept praying anyhow.
I used to pray really quickly. Now I pray 15-20 minutes and lose track of time. I get up from prayer feeling refreshed. I have new thoughts of happiness Iíve never felt before. Just occasionally, a disgusting thought might come but I refuse to let it rock me. Iím winning.
Yes, these days I usually feel comforted when I pray and I find it satisfying, but I only got there by forcing myself to pray no matter how I felt.
Battling Negative Thoughts
I always told people, ďI canít think positive because I feel so horrible.Ē
Thoughts would come, saying no one likes me, Iím not worthy to worship God, donít leave the house, Iím worthless, Iím a failure, Iíll never feel better, thereís no hope, just give up. These thoughts used to devastate me. They were so bad that I could pretty much do the opposite of what I was thinking and it would be the right answer.
For so long I had accepted thoughts that I was no good or that I was evil; supposing the thoughts to be from God. I now know that they were tricks from Satan, whom the Bible calls the Accuser.
Slowly I learned to identify my enemy. Iíve discovered that the Deceiverís thoughts blend in with my own. At first I was unable to tell where my thoughts ended and Satanís began. In a split second he can finish my own thought with a swear word. I no longer consider this abnormal. I believe everyone is inwardly attacked with thoughts that are not his/her own. Some people have been better than me at ignoring the thoughts and not accepting them as their own or as coming from God. These people have had an easier life, but now Iím catching up by teaching myself not to accept thoughts that do not line up with the Bibleís teaching that God is good, patient, loving and forgiving. By continually training myself, I have become increasingly skilled at knowing what thoughts are not my own and should be rejected.
The Deceiver tries to get people to turn inwards. I have learned to avoid this. Rather than analyze undesirable thoughts or let myself feel upset by them, I do my best to ignore them and focus on other things. I might read the Bible or help someone. If the thoughts are blasphemous, I refuse to be fooled into thinking they are my own thoughts. I know they are from the devil and I refuse to blame myself for what he whispers in my head. Since salvation hinges on faith (what one believes) not works (what one does), I would only become responsible if I believed the blasphemies echoing in my head. And even if I were stupid enough to believe them, forgiveness would be waiting for me the moment I came to my senses and changed my beliefs.
The Enemy Uses Feelings to his Advantage
When overwhelmed by intense guilt and fear, it is very hard not to cave in to these false but highly convincing feelings and revert to believing them, rather than believing reality. I used to let my feelings control me. Now my goal is to control my feelings. I donít always win but Iím getting there because every time I refuse to believe the guilt and fear, it is a major victory that weakens the deceiving power of these feelings.
Sometimes, to help me see reality, I think of it this way: no matter how atrocious my sins might have been, can I imagine God telling his Son Jesus that he had not suffered enough to forgive my sins? When Jesus suffered for the sins of the world, he took my blame upon himself. For me to blame myself and hold on to guilt would render Jesusí suffering a waste. So to honor him I do my best not to keep blaming myself.
I have often thought Godís patience and love for me has run out but I have to remember that he is God. He has far more patience and love than any human will ever have. I lived most of my life feeling like God was always waiting for me to mess up so that he could condemn me to hell, but Jesus said he didnít come to condemn the world. I had thought God was like my dad, but now that Iím a father I can look at God being like a father in an entirely different light. No matter how my own father acted, I know Iím never hoping for my son to make a mistake or looking for a reason to write him out of my will.
I still get unwanted thoughts and feelings but nowhere near as often. Now, when I get a bad thought, I find myself laughing because Iíll recognize it as a lie. Iíll say to the devil, ďGet lost, looser!Ē
Comment by Grantley: Continued Attacks
What makes this testimony so true to life is that although the attacks have lessened, they have not completely stopped. This is exactly what every victorious Christian can expect. People who quit smoking, for instance, end up having less cravings then when they first quit but even years later they will have the occasional yearning for a cigarette.
When, during his 40 days of fasting, Jesus had total victory over every temptation thrown at him, the devil left him ďfor a seasonĒ or, as the NIV puts it, ďuntil an opportune timeĒ (Luke 4:13). With the Bible condensing Jesusí 30 year ministry into booklet sized gospels, one wouldnít expect his every temptation to be listed. When Jesus had to say, ďGet behind me, Satan,Ē while Peter was trying to talk him out of going the way of the cross, it was almost certainly a satanic attack. Likewise, the devil surely played a role when Jesus was in the garden agonizing over doing Godís will. There were no doubt other incidents of satanic attack in Jesusí life.
Clinging to Truth
Jesus called Satan the father of lies. How can I fight Satan unless I know the truth? No wonder I used to get so attacked with false condemnation and fear when I read the Bible. The Enemy was desperate to keep me away from the liberating truth of Godís Word. You know how I had to keep persisting with reading it, despite all the false but terrifying condemnation. Gradually, however, I began finding immense help in the Bible.
John 10:10 really helped me out: ďThe thief comes only to steal kill and destroy, I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.Ē
I liked this so much that I printed it and attached it to my bulletin board. I read this verse every time I was tempted to sin. The first part is a reminder that if I let sin have its way it would destroy me. The second part gives me hope of a better life.
Another Scripture I found invaluable is James 4:7, ďSubmit yourselves, then, to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you.Ē
Keeping this verse in my mind reminds me that when in faith I hold on to the power of Godís Word, the devil has to flee. I broke many bad habits by resisting. Instead of my bad habits, I gained a good habit: resisting bad thoughts the instant they entered my mind. I learned that thinking about a temptation gives it time to snowball into something greater and so rejecting the thought immediately makes it easier to resist.
It took me a long while to realize that I make the devilís day whenever I start worrying about demons or imagining things. He loves to play on the imagination. Most of my temptations and negative thoughts came to me while daydreaming. I need to take my thoughts captive and not let them run off and disturb me.
I paid attention to every thought I had, asking myself, ďIs this a good thought or a bad thought.Ē If it was bad I called it a lie. I refused to act on any bad thought. Over time I recognized these thoughts as from the devil or a demon. I had one telling me to smoke. (I used to smoke two packs a day.) Every time it told me to light a cigarette or take just one hit I immediately spoke loudly, calling it a liar. When in public I said it in my head.
I resisted the devil by not believing his lies. But I also hit him with the truth. That makes me feel real good. I only use short statements of truth. The devil wants me to have a debate with him but that would be giving him the upper hand. Iíve found itís important not to get too involved with the Tempter. Jesus didnít strike up a conversation or debate with the devil. He boldly and emphatically declared Bible verses and told him to get lost Ė nothing more! (Matthew 4:1-10) Iíve discovered thatís all any of us have to do. So I donít bother arguing with the devil; I know the truth and Iím holding on to it, no matter what.
The devil might throw a bad feeling at me but I remember heís hurting ten times worse. Every time Satan hears me saying, ďThatís a lie!Ē it hurts him bad. The feelings he puts on me are just his desperate attempt to get me to stop because heís scared. He knows heís losing.
If demons want to put awful thoughts into my head, they are going to hate being near me because Iím committed to worshipping Jesus until the day I die. For the first time in my life Iím winning and Iím not going to let some thought or feeling rob me and drag me back to the black hole in which I used to live.
I used the same tactics when fighting urges to look at porn or women other than my wife. If the thought wasnít good, I called it a lie. If the Bible doesnít say it is true, I called it a lie. When I feel unforgiven, I call it a lie. It worked. The devil has little power over me now.
This is not the power of positive thinking. It works only with the help of the Lord. I pray in the morning, afternoon and night.
Early on, the devil did his best to trick me into going it alone. I thought Iíd get myself cleaned up, quit smoking and then Iíll go back to the Lord. Wrong! Gradually I learned that Jesus is with me every step. He was already by my side; I just didnít realize it. I couldnít fight it alone, nor did I have to try to.
Rather than dwelling on upsetting thoughts that would plague my mind, I tried to focus on establishing a relationship with God through prayer and to make uplifting thoughts of Jesus the center of my attention.
I originally had doctors treat me with medication. It helped but my problem returned after I stopped the medication. Iím not against medication. I believe it helps people until they are strong enough to fight without drugs. This time, however, Iím asking the Lord for help. I like the fact that Iím not masking the problem.
Faith is something we work at. It doesnít come all at once. If we are not healed we shouldnít blame ourselves; we just keep on believing. Eventually we may reach a point where we can find healing.
I achieved much in just 40 days. Iíve been held back and missed so much. But now for the first time in 32 years Iím winning. If I donít read the Bible or say go to church I find myself slipping into depression and fear. Iíve discovered that prayer, Bible reading and church Ė the very things that for so many years I avoided because I would get so attacked whenever I did them Ė are what I need for a fulfilling, victorious life.
Discovering Godís Goodness
I can never fully understand Godís wisdom, but I now know that even when I donít understand, he has a loving reason for everything he does. If God had healed my depression I would have mistakenly seen healing not as an act of grace Ė which all healing is Ė but as divine acceptance of what at the time was my sinful lifestyle. So the healing I desperately wanted would have ended up doing more harm than good by keeping me in bondage to sin.
I used to get upset because God never answered certain prayers. Then I realized I wasnít worshipping God; I was using him for my personal needs. I was treating him like a Santa Claus. I didnít pick up on it for a while but now I know better and now I give God the praise he deserves.
My Battle with Panic Attacks
Three or four years ago, I developed a form of social anxiety disorder. Mentioning this might seem to be straying from the thrust of the webpage but it is common for people suffering false condemnation to be prone to such mental afflictions as anxiety or panic attacks. Moreover, the way I am overcoming this challenge reinforces the method I have successfully used to fight condemnation.
A back injury forced me to change jobs. Since I look young for my 32 years, many of my new customers thought I must lack the experience to fix their problem. Trying to convince them otherwise was so difficult that I began to fear having to confront people who doubted my abilities. My fears escalated until I was having panic attacks on the way to their door. Thereís nothing more scary than trying to conduct business when you feel like youíre having a heart attack. I persevered for as long as I could, but I finally had to give up the job, despite having pretty much mastered the trade.
Things grew worse until I was having a panic attack over just about any social occasion. I even found myself unable to leave my house. I knew in my head there was nothing to fear, but still I would panic.
After studying the subject Iíve concluded that with this problem it is best not to push oneself too hard. I had forced myself to face these fears and it led only to more anxiety and more fears. Itís like trying to put out a fire with gasoline.
Iíve just started to fight this battle but hereís what Iíve been doing. First, I have put all my trust in God. I have learned that when a fear comes I must eliminate it immediately. If I let myself think about it, then in just two or three seconds it will begin to mushroom. Then Iím daydreaming and having anticipation anxiety. I can never beat it by thinking about it.
When a fearful thought pops in my head I treat it like itís the devil talking to me. I immediately say to myself, ďThatís a lie!Ē and put the thought out of my mind. I donít take the thought any further than that. Sometimes I back it up with a relevant quote from the Bible, much like Jesus did when the devil tried to tempt him.
When I first started doing this I found myself saying, ďThatís a lie!Ē all day long. That doesnít matter. Even that is progress.
We have a bodily reaction to every thought. This, for instance, is how lie detectors (polygraphs) work. Iím finally learning to turn this fact of life around for good. When I find myself getting fearful I start thinking good thoughts about God and worshiping him inwardly. This not only helps take my mind off the fear, it ends up calming my whole body.
Achieving this degree of control hasnít come easily. Iíve had to train myself to monitor my thoughts and, upon identifying a negative thought, respond by redirecting my thoughts to more uplifting things. While Iím thinking about fear Iím not thinking about God, and vice versa.
A Recent Battle With Condemnation
A couple of years ago, I got drunk and began wondering why God let me suffer all the time. Soon, I was calling God every bad swear word I could think of. Someone had told me it was okay to vent anger at God. He said God could handle it; heís seen it all. Well, I took it way too far. Just five minutes later I came to my senses and was appalled at what I had done.
Recently, the enemy reminded me of this event and I was again terrified that this past event had rendered me unforgivable. Without Grantleyís web site (www.net-burst.net) to help me see clearly again, I think I would have gone insane.
Recognizing my previous mistake, however, had given me a new respect for God and a new outlook on life. This experience was a wake-up call that has probably saved me from drifting away from God. I now make every day count.
God forgives instantly but my problem seems to be forgiving myself. Every time I think about not being forgiven Iím thrown into severe depression, usually for a couple days or so. This website helps bring me back to reality.
I struggle repeatedly with the thought that I have committed spiritual suicide. It is easy to see how loving and forgiving our God is when you take away the lies and misconceptions, but Iím repeatedly hit with lies and distorted truths. To counteract this I have to continually keep in the forefront of my mind the truth that God has forgiven me.
My Dad has Changed
Since I have shared less than complimentary impressions of my father as he was while I was growing up, it is only fair to mention that over the years he has changed. I gradually became aware that although he didnít specifically say it, he was showing me by his actions that he was sorry for his past behavior. I noticed that he didnít overreact to many things the way he used to and he was treating me more like a son. At first I was angry because I thought he was acting. It took time but I began to have a change of heart toward him and was finally able to forgive.
We must accept the fact that people can drastically change or how can we expect change in our own lives?
Our relationship is now good. We get along well. He treats me with a great deal of respect. He actually goes out of his way to help me out. Heís always there for me and eager to help me.
The devil had me believing I disliked God because I was pure evil. I now know I disliked God because I really didnít know him. The Lord is more wonderful than I could have ever dreamed.
By suffering and dying on my behalf, Jesus gave each one of us immense power over the devil, but it took me a long while to learn how to use it. With Satan stripped of power through Christís sacrifice, his only ability is to try to trick people with his lies. He canít harm any of us except when we choose to believe his lies rather than Godís truth.
I have found that if I continue to believe a lie from the devil, he throws me another lie and then another. I used to accept his lies as a part of my thinking. Now that I have discovered his ploy, I try not to let any thought stay in my mind if itís negative. I see this as a part of my spiritual warfare and I have noticed much improvement since putting it into practice.
There is no quick fix. I do a little better every day. I have some bad days but for the most part Iím doing well. Most of my unhealthy fear of God has gone. I still occasionally struggle with guilt but even then I try to hold my head up high for our Lord.
It takes constant effort not to slip back into my old thought patterns, but with each attempt I am building new thought habits that will slowly become so strong that they will become my natural reaction.
I have now been reading the Bible regularly because I desperately need it to expose the Enemyís lies. I have learned that all my misconceptions about God came from verses that were used out of context. What scared me the most at church as a child was when they read the book of Revelation. I was terrified of that book! A friend suggested I should read it. My first thought was, ďNo way!Ē I eventually faced my fears and read it. I can honestly say I loved it!
I was getting ready for bed a couple of weeks ago and noticed that my mind was quiet. I didnít hear negative thoughts, such as anger, hate, thoughts of being condemned and so on. For the first time in my life there was peace and quiet in my mind.
This last Sunday I went to church. I didnít have one bad thought. It was the best service I ever attended. I felt healthy and close to God.
I find myself becoming free more and more. Iím learning to look to God when fear comes. How different this is to when fear used to make me run from God!
I can now see that Iím saved not by my efforts nor even by my faith. Iím saved by his grace. Through his grace I have faith. Maintaining even a speck of faith can seem almost impossible in the midst of a storm of condemning thoughts but even when my faith seems no match for all the doubts, it only takes a tiny mustard seed of faith. Jesus does the rest.
This webpage is one of many very helpful webpages in this website on this subject. I urge you to print them and read them over and over till they sink deep into your spirit. Remember, itís not going to happen over night. Be patient. Iím still working on some of this myself, but Iíve proven that itís worth every bit of effort.
Occasionally, I wake up in the night scared to death. Then I come to my senses and laugh because I know Iím winning. I truly believe the blood and power of Jesus is all I need. I finally see the truth: Jesus came to save me, not to condemn me. He longs to save me. I can see for the first time in my life why they say he is a God of love and mercy.
It is approaching a year since the above was written. I thought you would appreciate an update to the story to see if this experience can be continued indefinitely. My friend writes:
Iím happy to say that each day gets a little better. There is a definite improvement since I last wrote.
I still get the occasional disturbing thought but itís very rare now. I think this is the enemyís way of checking up on me. Handling the thoughts is less of a battle. Usually, I just laugh them off because I know in my heart that Iím saved.
I regularly remind myself that Iím a new person. Itís hard to believe that just a year ago I smoked two packs of cigarettes a day and lived a very reckless lifestyle. Life is so much easier. Iím no longer bound to bad habits and sin. This is not to say Iím perfect, just different Ė and I like the changes!
I still have some issues with social anxiety that Iím working on. The main difference is that now I know that with Godís help I can beat this. I no longer have to feel that Iím bound to this forever. God helps and directs my future.
I would encourage anyone with similar struggles to what Iíve been through to seek God. He will forgive all who want to be forgiven.
The Support you Need
As a doctor prescribes daily medication, I prescribe daily reading of these webpages. Ensure that your reading includes Scrupulosity: Serious Help When Worried about Salvation, Blasphemous Thoughts or Persistent Guilt Feelings and all the pages it leads to, but there is much more listed Condemned? How to Cope When Riddled with Guilt and How Much does God Love Me? Receiving a Personal Revelation of Godís Love for You.