Urgent Questions

Has God Really Forsaken You?

By Grantley Morris

No matter how terrified and convinced you are that you are eternally dammed and beyond spiritual hope, you are alive and that’s all it takes to fully benefit from the fact that God is love and that Jesus is the Savior of the world who died for the sins of the world, including every sin you have ever committed, no matter how many or atrocious or whether committed before or after salvation.

No matter how much you like sin or cannot stop sinning, or how selfish or hardened you are, or how much you hate God, or what your past was, or whatever, full cleansing from sin and acceptance from God is yours as long as you make the decision to ask Jesus to rule in every aspect of your life and to forgive all your sin. You might have no desire for it, but if you force yourself to pray that Almighty God rule in your life, God will respect your request and save you. He responds to our decisions, not to our feelings.

Nothing can change the truth of the above, no matter what Scripture you have found that makes you think it is not true, nor what atrocious sins you feel enslaved to, nor how distant God feels, nor what supernatural signs you have received that seem to indicate God has left you. You are likely to feel absolutely certain that somehow the above does not apply to you – that you are the worst person in the universe, that you are some exception, or whatever – but all your fears are from the devil who is trying to dupe you into doubting the love and power of the Savior of the world.

It is also quite possible that you feel sure that God is telling you to do something unpleasant or highly restrictive, when it is not God at all but just the devil manipulating your over-sensitive conscience.

It is common on the Internet to provide for free just enough information to get people aching for more and then charge for the rest. Rather than financially exploit anyone with issues like yours, I have undergone significant pain and financial hardship going to extremes to ensure that everything I know and all the support you need is available to you, absolutely free, on this vast website. I cannot read it for you, however. Nor could I put into a timely e-mail anything equal to what is in the website. I’m far too slow in writing and thinking for that.

The challenge is you could be so overwhelmed by fear, and so desperate for an immediate answer, that you find it hard to read all that I have for you. It is also important to pray that God guides you to those parts that will most help you.

The devil is the deceiver and he is astonishingly good at making us fear or worry about things that have no spiritual basis. One of his favorite tricks is to try to convince people by signs, feelings, and even by twisting the Bible, that they are unforgivable or that God is angry with them.

Over and over, the Bible insists that Jesus died for the sins of the entire world (which has to include every conceivable sin, no matter how gross or repeated before or after salvation) and that salvation is always available the moment we look to Jesus for forgiveness. (See for example, What Makes a Sin Unforgivable? and many other parts of my website). The devil cannot change that fact. All he can do is mess with our feelings, thoughts, dreams, or external circumstances to try to get us to doubt the power of Jesus’ salvation and the love of God.

People with anxiety disorders find it particularly easy to believe the devil’s lies because they suffer feelings that seem highly convincing. Anxiety disorders are a weakness that, through no fault of their own, some people suffer from, and the devil loves any weakness he can find in us.

To quote from one of my webpages:

    Anxiety acts as an alarm that goes off within us indicating that something is seriously wrong and causing our brain to keep seeking the reason so that it can be corrected. Clinical Anxiety, however, means that the anxiety is driven not by a rational reason for concern but by a chemical imbalance.

    When, for example, a fire alarm goes off, it sounds the same regardless of whether it was triggered by an actual fire or by a technical malfunction. Since a false alarm sounds exactly the same as when it is triggered by genuine danger, it is very tempting to feel disturbed about the alarm continuing, even when you have checked and confirmed that there is no danger. So it is with your anxiety. Unfortunately, for as long as you suffer from this anxiety you will just have to keep reminding yourself that it is a false alarm and get used to it blaring and being unpleasant and refuse to treat it as if it were real.

    When anxiety is a false alarm it is not only disturbingly unpleasant, it can confuse us spiritually. Anxiety feels like a torturously guilty conscience that keeps nagging away no matter how utterly we are divinely forgiven, cleansed of all sin and made holy by faith in Jesus. God has promised to forgive all the sins of everyone who puts his/her faith in the forgiving power of Jesus’ sacrifice. Since anxiety is far too incessant to be ignored, however, it is hard not to slip into believing the persistent, overwhelmingly strong feeling, rather than keep stubbornly believing God’s promise. Add to this the fact that anxiety keeps telling us that something is seriously wrong when everything is actually fine, and the foundation to our entire relationship with God – believing that through Jesus our past failings no longer hinder our relationship with God – is under attack. The spiritual confusion can be serious if we cave in to believing our powerfully deceptive feelings rather than resolutely clinging to raw faith in both Christ’s eagerness to secure our full forgiveness and his ability to do so.

    You will be filled with guilt and anxiety but the key is to learn to live with such feelings and neither fear the feelings nor believe them. This will be a tough battle because your feelings will be very intense and seem so real, but all of us are called to live by faith and not feelings.

    For those with Clinical Anxiety, living by raw faith is much harder to do than for other people, but it is like a coach making his star athlete engage in much heavier training than others – it will end up making him stronger than others, even though during tough training sessions he will seem much weaker than those who are lazing around. It is like a runner lugging heavy weights on his back – it feels as if it is weakening him but it will actually make him stronger as he keeps struggling on.

    Given half a chance, an anxiety disorder will turn a strong, confident Christian into a spiritual hypochondriac. Cave into it, and it will reduce a spiritual champion into a quivering defeatist.

    It can also cause us to mistakenly think God is telling us to do weird things, such as excessive witnessing or fasting, or to marry someone we dislike or divorce someone we love, or some such thing.

    Anxiety dupes its victims into getting their focus off their glorious Savior and on to self-examination. Becoming preoccupied with oneself – even if it is one’s spiritual condition – is deadly. At all costs, we must keep wrenching our eyes off ourselves and on to our loving Lord.

Whenever we feel unforgivable or beyond salvation, we need to fight that satanic lie with a prayer like I have placed in my webpages. You will most likely need to keep coming back to it. This is not because anyone needs to keep praying for salvation but because it is tempting to stray from the Bible-based commitment the prayer expresses:

    In the name of Jesus, who shed his blood that I might have eternal life, I rebuke and refuse to surrender to any and every evil power that would like me to doubt the infinity of God’s love and goodness and to doubt the power of Jesus sacrifice to forgive all sin. I hereby relinquish everything that is not of God and I pledge my allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ, affirming him as my Lord and Savior and declaring that the cleansing power of his sacrifice is stronger than any sin I could ever commit.

    Anxiety might plague me, Lord, but I praise you that you are stronger than any unwanted feeling, doubt, worry, guilt, fear or disgusting thoughts. Moreover, 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 persistent anxiety that harasses and confuses me is my opportunity to grow spiritually stronger, just as having to keep running uphill is a chance to grow physically stronger. Faith is more precious than gold (1 Peter 1:7) and 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 plague me and confuse me, you have pledged never to leave me nor forsake me (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 confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

    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 concluding that just because I feel guilty, you must have lied when you made this promise to cleanse all who confess their sin to you. Despite these horrible feelings, however, I make you, not my feelings, my God my spiritual authority and source of truth. Since you, in the above Scripture, declare me purified from all unrighteousness, then I am purified from all unrighteousness, no matter what I experience and how powerfully I might be tempted to think otherwise. So I hang on to your truth, refusing to contradict you, no matter what feelings and doubts rage within.

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

    The just shall live by faith (KJV, cited four times in the Bible – Habakkuk 2:4. Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38). So I choose to live by faith, not feelings. I hereby renounce feelings, or anything less than you alone, as a reliable source of spiritual truth.

    The perfection of divine love means that you passionately love even your worst enemies; more fervently yearning to forgive them than any human is capable of craving anything. You recoil at the thought of in any way letting your beloved Son’s agonizing sacrifice for the sins of the entire world be in vain. You want no one to perish (1 Timothy 2:3-4; 2 Peter 3:9; Ezekiel 33:11).

    You tell us to forgive seventy times seven and yet I keep worrying that you will tire of forgiving me, as if perhaps you were a hypocrite. The truth is that you love me far, far more than any human has ever managed to love himself or anyone else. Driven by infinite love, you passionately long to keep on forgiving me and to lavish your mercy upon me for all eternity. Since this is your burning desire, propelling you to the extreme of the cross, I was wrong to ever beg you to forgive me, as if there were any reluctance within you to cleanse me. You are eager to forgive; your reluctance is in giving signs and feelings because that makes me spiritually vulnerable by fostering a dependence upon means that the Deceiver can easily replicate and manipulate. Your word declares that it is faith, not signs and feelings, that is the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1, KJV). I repent of playing into the devil’s hand by seeking such things instead of simply accepting your loving forgiveness. I acknowledge that signs and feelings are the Devil’s playthings – his way to entice us to get our eyes off the cross and the integrity of your character. He cannot touch spiritual truth but he can toy with signs and feelings. Faith is our only shield; our sole protection against his trickery.

    So I commit myself to start honoring you by stubbornly clinging to you, no matter how many doubts, fears, worries, guilt feelings and unwanted thoughts scream within me.

    I cease right now from insulting you by wanting signs, feelings or assurances as proof that you love and forgive everyone including me who comes to you in the name of Jesus Christ. I renounce all attempts to get such things. The integrity of your character is all that I need. I resolve from now on to live as you have called all your children to live: by sheer faith, and nothing else.

It is very common for people suffering from an anxiety disorder to not realize they have anxiety and therefore to have no idea that it is driving their fear that they are unforgivable, or is causing them to think ugly thoughts that are quite contrary to who they are, or is causing them to fear that they have a hard heart, have not repented or whatever. It is therefore most important that you understand anxiety disorder and for this you need to read Scrupulosity: Worried about Salvation, Blasphemous Thoughts, or Severe Guilt Feelings.

People suffering from anxiety disorder (OCD) keep seeking assurance that they are accepted by God but no matter how dramatic the assurance is (even if delivered by 10,000 angels) any assurance given lasts only a few hours or days. As I explain in my webpages, here’s what I have to tell people who keep seeking assurance or keep finding new scriptures etc to worry about. It will help you understand how the mind of someone suffering anxiety acts:

    I am desperate to help you but despite what one might expect, my very many years of experience with hundreds of Christians asking such questions has proved over and over that answering your questions will not end up helping you.

    Your questions will end up being literally endless. This is the nature of the tricks your mind is playing on you. You will never feel sure, no matter what experiences you have (angel visitations, or whatever) and no matter how well you know God. It is obvious from your questions that you suffer from excess anxiety – a medical condition – and this anxiety will remain no matter what I say or anyone else says. So, unfortunately, the unavoidable fact is that I would be wasting your time and mine answering your questions. You will feel sure that an answer will give you peace – and it might for a day or so – but the doubts will then start up again. So what you need is not answers to your questions but an understanding of the real source of your anxiety – OCD.

    OCD is called the doubting disease and it goes to absolutely ridiculous lengths. Your OCD takes a religious form but to understand it, consider someone who checks locks over and over because of OCD. He locks the door and is sure it is locked. Then in just a couple of minutes’ time he begins wondering if he really locked it. The doubt grows until, rather than put up with the doubt, he decides to “put his mind at rest” by checking. Phew! It’s locked. He is now at peace and can get on with life. But then in a couple more minutes he begins to wonder if maybe the door had not been correctly locked. He puts up with that nagging thought for a while but the worry grows stronger and stronger until he is again convinced that the only hope he has of finding peace is to check all the locks. It would only take one check and then he would be really sure and will never have to check again that night. He checks and feels so much better. Then a couple of minutes later . . .

    What feeds this ridiculous addiction to checking is that checking temporarily feels good because it relieves all the anxiety. But, like all addictions, the good feeling is short-lived and it just inflames the yearning for more. The only way to break this addiction – and any other addiction – is to stop feeding the habit – refusing to ease the anxiety by seeking reassurance that everything is okay.

    Someone whose OCD focuses on religion, rather than on locks, will keep seeking reassurance over and over that he/she really is saved but no matter how often he/she asks and what convincing proof he/she receives, doubts will quickly return.

    When people keep writing to me about this, I am forced to tell them: Like everyone else with OCD, you will never be able to ask enough people or get answers that satisfy you. No matter how certain you are that one would suffice, not even a thousand angelic visitations would prove enough. No one should keep pandering to your OCD. It will not only wear them out but in the long term it will not only end up achieving nothing for you, it will actually make your OCD worse.

    To reassure someone with OCD is like buying drugs for an addict, when what is needed is for the addict to simply endure the craving for drugs because giving him the drug will give no more than temporary relief and it will then end up increasing the craving. You simply have to accept as a fact of life that you will be repeatedly harassed by doubts, fears, anxiety, guilt feelings, etc, and learn not to believe them, no matter how convincing they feel.

    The only permanent help is to seek medical help (in itself this will not be a complete cure but it can help) plus break the addiction to seeking assurance. Like the breaking of any addiction, this will be agonizingly tough and there will be severe withdrawal symptoms – anxiety – but every time you give in, it will strengthen the addiction. You simply have to hold out, putting up with anxiety and refusing to relieve it. Eventually – after days or weeks – the anxiety will begin to fade, but do not expect it to disappear. The longer the anxiety lasts, the more our wonderful Lord will use it to build within you faith that far exceeds the puny faith of those whose supposedly great faith is artificially propped up by feelings.

    So for me to feed your OCD by answering your questions would be for me to act like a drug pusher. And don’t you dare feed it – and hence inflame it – by, for example, asking other people, going to other websites etc.

    All of this and much more is carefully explained in my website and it is important that you keep prayerfully reading it until you fully grasp this concept because I know of nothing more I can say or do to help you understand than what is fully expounded in those webpages.

If you wish to communicate with others who struggle with feeling unforgivable, or have unwanted thoughts, you can email the_scrupe_group-owner@yahoogroups.com about joining The Scrupe Group. It is Lutheran, which some of you might find a little strange.

If beyond the critially important webpages listed above, you would like still more help, see:

Not to be sold. © Copyright, 2020 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 www.netburst.net Freely you have received, freely give.