Thoughts on the Unpardonable Sin

Since people in the Group found this helpful in dealing with the Unforgivable Sin, I thought I'd post it here.

1. Blasphemy, by its very definition, must be spoken out
loud. "Blasphemous thoughts" are thoughts that would be blasphemy if uttered. No matter how nasty a thought may be, thoughts cannot be blasphemy unless they are uttered. Even if the thoughts somehow could be blasphemy,...

2..... Jesus says in the very statement in which He speaks of the Unpardonable Sin that ALL blasphemies will be forgiven, whatever their content- but that THE blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be. It is obvious from this that since THE blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is not included in "ALL blasphemies," it must be something very different from merely saying something nasty about God (again, thinking something nasty about God, if it is not uttered out loud, cannot be blasphemy in the first place). It is unique.

3. Since Jesus says categorically that He will never, under any circumstances (the Greek says mh ouk, an intensifier that means "No way, Jose!") cast out anyone who comes to Him, it is obvious that nothing that does not prevent a person from wanting to come to Jesus can be the unforgivable sin.

4. It follows from that that a person who wants to be forgiven cannot have committed the unpardonable sin. If you recall, Hebrews makes that very point: a person who has committed the unforgivable sin cannot be restored to repentance.

5. In any event, "pop up" thoughts are not sins of any kind, which means that regardless of their content, they do not need forgiveness. And it is in the nature of OCD that if we fear that "pop up" thoughts come from us, it will "feel" to us like they do. That does not change the fact that if we hate the thought, it either a) is an OCD thought, in which case it is not even a sin; or b) since we hate and fear the thought, we have repented, cannot have committed the unpardonable sin, and are forgiven.

I'm afraid you just can't get around it. Even if a thought you hate or that you wish you hadn't had is sinful, no matter what the origin, all you have to do is to accept Jesus's forgiveness and you have nothing to be afraid of. You have repented. Then, whatever else may happen, you may be certain, first, that you have not committed the unpardonable sin; and secondly, that you are forgiven.

If its OCD, it's not a sin; if it's a sin, it's forgiven- and if you hate the thought, that is proof that you have not committed the unpardonable sin.

Any way you look at it, if you're worried about having committed the Unforgivable Sin, you have no reason to be.

Comments

  1. The writer David Justice delightfully explores this enigmatic concept in his book Murphy on the Mount. A private investigator just happens to read about this concept of the "Unpardonable Sin" and the "Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit". He deals with growing angst over the issue as he also has to solve a mystery. Here's my discussion of the book:
    Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit - The Unpardonable Sin

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  2. But what if whilst resisting such thoughts you inadvertently say one out loud?

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  3. Read the rest of the post.

    If you want forgiveness, you have not committed the Unpardonable Sin.

    You should also be aware that for an individual with OCD, "resisting the thought" is the worst possible strategy. God designed the mind to include thoughts, not to exclude them. To try not to think a thought is to guarantee that you will think it. The famous illustration is what happens when you try not to think of white elephants for thirty seconds. It is impossible!

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  4. I am a sufferer of OCD, and someone who holds christ on the cross dearly and deeply in my heart. Thank you, for this piece, for it has brought peace to my heart that may last a lifetime.

    God Bless you deeply.

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    1. Me too i almost say it but it stopped i think God stopped me from my thoughts to say it but it not said beecause it is in my thoughts Thank You Lord and for the message God Bless You.

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    2. Trying not to think the thought is what keeps it coming back. Ignore it. It means nothing. It thrives on attention.That's the way the human mind works

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  5. I just came across this site a week ago, which was my first introduction to "scrupulosity". I just thought I was going crazy. Thanks for the resources! I am now reading Ian Osborne's book "Can Christianity cure OCD?" Great book.

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  6. Amy, you made my decade.

    Dave, I quite agree. Dr. Osborn's other book is also great. For those who don't know, he's a Christian psychiatrist who actually has OCD.

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  7. That is beautiful, I kinda have the same thing, and sometimes avoid going to church cause of it.

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    1. Don't. The Law is for the proud; the Gospel is for the sorrowful. Remember that, and whatever you may hear of the Law will be a help in your effort to live a life pleasing to God, but it will no longer be a threat.

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  8. As a sufferer of this unpardonable sin obsession, I have now turned to John 6:37 and obsess about that. I know He won't cast out those who want to come to Him, but I fear this sin somehow prevents me from TRULY coming...like those with spurious faith who reach the end of life and hear we didn't REALLY hope in Him. Scary.

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    1. That's a common kind of OCD reaction. Of course, it doesn't mean anything. How can one "kind of" come? You either come or you don't. If you want His forgiveness, you have it. Its as simple as that. Don't let your OCD complicate it.

      You don't REALLY hope or believe or SORT OF hope or believe. You do, or you don't. You're also not saved by coming to HIm. You're saved by HIm. Get your eyes off of yourself and on Him, where they belong. It's not about you. It's about Him.

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  9. I am afraid.. I have had horrible blasphemous thoughts about HS and Jesus that i NEVER want to think. I am also worried if i have said something so horrible that God does not want or can't forgive me. Is there a way to know for sure that you have not committed this sin? I want to belong to Jesus, but I am afraid that he will not accept me

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    1. Yes. If the thought that you have committed this sin bothers you, you haven't committed it. If you want to belong to Jesus, you do. The Unpardonable Sin springs from a condition of the heart such that it rejects Him so so stubbornly and so finally that the Holy Spirit ceases to strive with that person, and the very fact that you're bothered by the thought of having committed the unforgivable sin and want to belong to Jesus means that He is still in your heart and still working there.

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  10. So it is not just some blasphemous words that people say about HS?. I fear if i have said something about Him and being guilty of an eternal sin.

    You are saying that the person who truly commits this sin has no worry and he does not want to belong to Jesus?

    Is the HS same thing as conscience?

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    1. Right. Remember he begins by saying that ALL blasphemies can be forgiven. But "THE blasphemy against the Holy Spirit" is a great deal more than words that may be said. It's the final and irrevocable rejection of Jesus, to whom the Spirit testifies.

      No, everyone has a conscience. The conscience is merely what be believe to be right and wrong. The Holy Spirit is God, the Third Person of the Holy Trinity, Who comes to us in the Word and changes hearts that want to be their own gods and want nothing to do with the real one into hearts that believe Christ's promises and trust Him. It's only by the power of the Holy Spirit that any of us can believe; apart from Him we're "dead in trespasses and sins."

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    2. Thank you for your reply.

      So in summary:
      the sacrifice of Jesus is perfect and covers any sin you can imagine if you only repent and turn to Jesus?

      It is the work of the HS to lead us to Jesus and if someone commits unpardonable sin the HS leaves this person alone and this person has no remorse or worry and he cannot be restored to repentance?

      Well, Jesus did say that he won't cast anyone out but are there any exception?

      I have worried that Jesus rejects me even thought i want to come back.

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    3. Right. There are no exceptions;

      One suggestion: see a doctor about selective seratonin reuptake inhibitors. Sounds like you may have a touch of OCD.

      Another suggestion: Join the Scrupe Group. The link is at the top of the page.

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    4. Thanks. You are right i am diagnosed with OCD and i have a medication for it. It all started with non stop blasphemous thoughts.

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  11. If you accidentally say out loud these blasphemous thoughts to other people can you still be forgiven? When i was talking to my brother i think that i had a slip of a tongue. Does God understand that i don't want to say anything bad about him?

    I want to repent but i am afraid that my sins are too great to be forgiven...

    Didn't Jesus said that the Pharisees were guilty of an eternal sin and they would never be forgiven?

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  12. You already have repented. And yes, you can. God is not trying to damn you on a technicality. He went to the cross to save you from hell.

    Jesus knew the condition of the Pharisees' hearts, but actually no. He didn't say that the Pharisees had actually committed the Unpardonable Sin, though they were certainly in danger of it.

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  13. Thoughts can't hurt you. But trying not to think them will always cause them to come.

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  14. I have suffered from these horrible blasphemous thoughts about HS since last september. I was in my support group and i had to talk to a total stranger. When we were chatting i had slipped one of my blasphemous thoughts out loud. I want to belong to Jesus but i fear that Jesus rejects me because that one slip of a tongue.

    I read a blog where a man said that God and Jesus spoke to him and they said that if you commit the unpardonable sin there is no forgiveness for that. I am so scared. Does God understand the pain and suffering i have?

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    1. You might want to read the post again, and also the other comments on this post.

      First, I seriously doubt that God (and Jesus IS God) talked to that person. Secondly, yes, the unpardonable sin is unpardonable; that's why it's called that! :) But the unpardonable sin is not something you say. It's regarding the Spirit's witness to Jesus as evil and persisting in that attitude until you are beyond the point where repentance is possible.

      If you are worried that you committed the unpardonable sin, you haven't. You have repented if you're sorry for whatever you said or did, and if you had committed the unpardonable sin you would not be.

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  15. Could you please explain why worry is a sure sign that you have not committed it?

    Didn't the original greek word mean speaking against?

    That man claims to have several apparitions from God the father and Jesus and he said that if anyone speaks against the HS there is no forgiveness. I'm so scared. I have Blasphemous thoughts running around in my head and i am afraid that what if i have said some of my thoughts out loud.

    I don't want these thoughts but i can't get rid of them. I am diagnosed with OCD and i have a medication but they don't really help all that much.

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  16. If you are upset about something you've done, you've repented. And if you recall, Hebrews 6 explains why the unpardonable sin is unpardonable: the person who has committed it cannot be restored to repentance. Remember, it's the Holy Spirit who works repentance in us!

    As I pointed out above, Jesus explicitly says that ALL blasphemies will be forgiven. Not all OTHER blasphemies. ALL blasphemies. But THE blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be. Clearly the unpardonable sin is not ordinary blasphemy, as in saying something derogatory about God. It's blocking the Holy Spirit's ability to work in our hearts by regarding His work as evil, and doing so to the point where the heart becomes completely calloused against His influence. The unpardonable sin is not unpardonable because God is unwilling to forgive it, but because the person who has committed it is unwilling to be forgiven.

    Jesus says quite clearly that He will never turn away ANYONE who comes to Him. Clearly, then, if you can come to Him, you have not committed this sin. Conversely, if you have committed it, you will not be willing to come to Him.

    Stop TRYING to get rid of them! Close your eyes and for the next sixty seconds think of anything you want- except purple bears. Ready? Ok. Go!

    How did you do? You couldn't think of anything but purple bears, could you? That's because God created our minds to retain information, not to exclude it. The very act of trying not to think a thought ensures that you WILL think it.

    So stop trying. If the thoughts come, let them come. Let them be there. Don't react to them in any way. They are harmless. They are not even sins, since they're the result of bad wiring in your brain, and don't come from your heart. The more attention you pay to them- the harder you try not to think of them, and the more significance you give them- the more you will think them. The less attention you pay to them, the less they will come.

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  17. How about my case? My fear is of my actual blasphemies. The ones born out of bitterness, fear and anger (and ultimately, unbelief). My life is consumed with worry, and fear, in good part born of chronic fatigue and sleep problems. I get mad and curse God; I say things I won't repeat here. I do this willfully and with my eyes wide open. I even swear that I'm done with Christianity and determine to never return, but I always come back. And I feel welcomed back. But it starts all over again.

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    1. If you come back you've repented, and Hebrews 6 says that a person who has committed the unpardonable sin can't repent.

      It's the Holy Spirit Who brings about repentance- and who causes you to care. So if you care, you believe. And if you believe, you cannot have committed the unpardonable sin.

      By definition, nobody who is afraid of having committed the unpardonable sin can possibly have done so.

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    2. Thanks! I need to remember that Jesus said, "him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out!"

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  18. I had today horrible thoughts about HS. Does God understand that i don't want these thoughts?
    I want to repent but i don't know what does it really mean.
    What is the biblical meaning of repentance?

    Was Jesus's sacrifice really perfect? Is there any sin that Jesus's blood does not cover even if you beg for mercy and want to repent and belong to him?

    When i try to pray and ask forgiveness it feels that Jesus does not want to hear me because of my blasphemous thoughts that i don't want.

    Did Jesus ever reject anyone who came for him for forgiveness of sins?

    I fear that i have messed up my life so badly that Jesus does not want to forgive me anymore :(

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    1. Take a deep breath and read the article.

      Yes, God knows that you don't want the thoughts. In fact, He knows that none of us can control the thoughts that come into our minds. In fact, He knows that the reason that you have them so often is that you try not to have them.

      You have nothing to repent for, since you haven't committed a sin. And that being the case I'm not going to enable your obsession by even discussing repentance.

      Jesus's sacrifice was perfect and there is no sin which is not forgiven to all believers whether they beg and plead or not. But again, what you are talking about is not a sin.

      What you feel does not reflect reality. What you feel has nothing to do with reality. What you feel is simply a feeling. Christ's sacrifice and promises are objective facts which remain true no matter how you feel about them.

      Jesus says point blank, to translate the Greek literally, that He will "never-no, never" reject anyone who comes to Him.

      Your fear is a symptom of mental illness. The truth is that Jesus underwent death by torture in order to forgive you and there is nobody in the world that He does not want to forgive even more than they want to be forgiven.

      What you have to do now is trust Him and bet the farm on His promise rather than continue to enable your obsession by asking for reassurance, which prevents you from trusting Him.

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    2. Thanks Robert. What did Jesus mean when he said that "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them"

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    3. Fallen human beings by nature want to be their own little tin gods. They want what they want, and they want no part of God telling them what they should want or do or be like. We lost the ability to choose God in the Fall.

      But God changes our hearts. He enables us to believe. In fact, He works faith in our hearts through the Word and the Sacraments. When the Father sends the Holy Spirit through these, our hearts change and our wills are freed.

      Another way to look at this is that in our natural state we have only our fallen natures. But in baptism we receive a new nature- one that loves God, trusts Jesus, and wants to please God. The life of a Christian is a constant civil war between the Old Self and the New Self. The Old Self remains with us until our dying day. but by God's grace we daily claim our baptism again, drowning the Old Self so that the New Self can take his place, burying the Old Self so that the New Self can arise. We call that process "repentance."

      To say that we are saved by grace alone is simply to say that God changes us, we don't change ourselves. We don't make a decision for Christ; in another place He says, "You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you." God creates faith in our hearts through the Word. Every impulse toward Him is His doing, His gift.

      That's a great comfort, because it means that our salvation isn't in our own weak, fallible human hands. It's in God's hands. We can mess up. We can drop the ball. But He can't, and won't. Faith is simply leaving our lives and our eternal destinies in the hands of Jesus where they are safe, instead of trying to dot all the "i's" and cross all the "t's" and do it ourselves. We will always mess things up, in ourselves. But God can and will keep us safe.

      And the whole thing begins when we believe- not because of a choice which may or may not be sincere, and may or may not be adequate in a hundred other ways, but because it is God Who works within us "to will and to do His good pleasure."

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    4. So my very desire to be with Jesus means that the Father is drawing me to him. Thanks Robert.

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  19. Is the Epistle to the Colossians reliable even if we do not know for sure who wrote it?

    I have found these passages comforting. When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.

    The Scripture says that the writer was Paul but Scholars have questioned Paul's authorship

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    1. "Scholars" question just about everything, whether there's anything to question or not. The blatant and obvious silliness of "The Jesus Seminar" is an extreme example, but never allow your faith in a text to be shaken merely by the fact that certain scholars question its authorship.

      Historical Grammatical scholars tend to accept Paul's authorship; historical critical scholars tend not to. Remember that the difference is that historical criticism by definition rules out the supernatural whereas historical grammatical criticism is open to the possibility of it. For Historical Grammatical scholars, the Bible is the Word of God; for Historical Critical scholars, it's basically just another human book which may possibly contain the Word of God to some extent. Maybe.

      Both embrace literary criticism. It's not that Historical Grammatical scholars don't also take seriously the tools by which dates and authorship are established; they just don't assume that the fact that a book mentions an event prophetically means that it must have been written after the event took place. So more is involved here than what the evidence indicates. The more thoroughly one buys into the historical critical method the more abandon one is apt to display in reaching conclusions which have less to do with the evidence than with precisely one's presuppositions regarding the nature of the text.

      Historical grammatical scholars see the text of Scripture as inspired by the Holy Spirit; Historical Critical scholars see it simply as just another human document. So it shouldn't be surprising that the former treat the text with more reverence than the latter and are less rash about deciding that long-accepted beliefs about authorship are wrong. Both ask the same questions, but Historical Critical scholars are far more willing to reach more radical conclusions on the basis of less evidence.

      The thing to bear in mind is that the Church closed the canon in the Third Century. No council or synod made the decision; it was a consensus spontaneously reached by the entire Church as to which books contained apostolic content and which did not. The conclusion was firm enough that it wasn't until the Council of Trent and the Counter Reformation that the Roman Catholic church bothered to actually define the contents of the canon! So if you accept the notion that the Holy Spirit was involved in the process of the Church's definition of the canon of the New Testament, you're on solid ground in trusting the authority of Colossians whether or not Paul was the actual author. And again, conservative scholars still believe that he was.

      So the short answer is that you can trust the canon. It's been believed "always, everywhere and by all" that Colossians is apostolic in content. Highly questionable conclusions by scholars not necessarily committed to the authority of Scripture in any case shouldn't shake your trust in what the Church has always embraced, with the Spirit's guidance and by common consent, as the inspired Word of God.

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  20. What did Paul mean when he wrote that Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

    I have suffered from unwanted blasphemous thoughts. Does that verse mean that because i never ever want to think them, it is not me but the sinful nature that lives inside me?

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    1. No, because the unwanted blasphemous thoughts are not sins. They are the consequence of a neurological disorder and in fact come precisely because you try not to think them.

      Paul was talking about real sins- things which spring not from a medical condition but from the evil in our hearts. Every Christian is a walking civil war between the Old Self and the New. Paul is talking about his Old Self, which continued to plague him (as it does all of us) despite the desire of his New Self to please God with what he does. Unfortunately the Old Self has other ideas. It wants to please itself.

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    2. Thanks for answer. What if you accidentally say that thought out loud even if you don't want to. Would that be sin?

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    3. I don't know. But anyone who wants to come to Jesus can still be forgiven, right?

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    4. Yes you do. You're seeking reassurance, which is a good way to stay enslaved to your OCD. Do you really think God is out to get you if make a mistake?

      Yes, anyone who needs forgiving gets forgiven if he comes to Jesus. Or better, if he believes that for Jesus's sake he is forgiven.

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    5. Could you please explain this verse? for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable.
      Does this mean that God never takes away person's salvation.

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    6. It absolutely means that. We can reject Him, but He will never take back His promises.

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  21. Perhaps I should add that God will not force anybody into heaven if he or she is bound and determined not to go there.

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  22. I am a sufferer of OCD and obsess about having committed the unpardonable sin. I read that this sin is attributing the HS to being evil, and now my brain won't stop repeating that phrase over and over again. I hate the thoughts and wish they'd go away. I know the HS is good and holy but my mind keeps pushing untrue and evil thoughts into my head. I feel hopeless and doomed for hell. Does God know that these thoughts are from my OCD and not me? I'm scared and am living in constant fear that I'm condemned

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  23. Read the article and also the other articles on this subject on the blog. Also the other questions and answers above yours. You cannot have committed this sin if the thought that you might commit it bothers you. It is NOT a thought, and the very act of trying not to think a thought will always MAKE you think it. Let the thought be there and ignore it.

    The unpardonable sin is hardening one's heart against the Holy Spirit's work to the point that He no longer seeks to work repentance in you. Hebrews specifically says that it is a characteristic of this sin that the person who has committed it cannot repent, Given that you are in agony over the thought that you might have committed it, I don't think that's the problem, do you?

    Read my answers to the question above yours. They're the same for you.

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  24. Hi my names Jamirah and I'm 13 years old. Every since I've searched up what blasphemy against the holy spirit meant. I got all types of thoughts like "I hate God" "I reject Jesus" You blasphemed against the holy spirit Jamirah now your definitely going to hell" "You called the holy spirit demonic" PLEASE HELP ME. Even though I read that I will be. It feels that I won't be

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  25. What you feel is irrelevant. It means nothing. You get the thoughts because they are the last thing you want to think and you are trying not to think them. That MAKES you think them. Try for the next minute to think of anything in the world but onions and see what happens.

    Couldn't think of anything but onions, could you?

    Read the post above. Read the other posts on the subject of the Unpardonable Sin on this blog. Read the comments. You are no different from all the other people who have this irrational fear. Nobody who is afraid that he or she has committed the unpardonable sin can possibly have committed it.

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  26. Hi Robert. Have you ever suffered from these disqusting blasphemous thoughts? I just worry because i have had these worst imaginable thoughts and it sickens me. It all started when i first found out the unpardonable sin verses. I only hope that Jesus understands that i would never ever want to think these thoughts.

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    1. Yes. Be comforted by the knowledge that it's well-established in psychology that: 1) everyone has random thoughts, which mean nothing; 2) that they can have almost any content; 3) that if one is afraid of them and tries to censor them, they are apt to assume the very form of which that person is most afraid; 4) that the harder one tries not to think of them, the more frequently they will come, and with more intensity; and 5) that the problem of fearing and trying to control one's thoughts is pretty much the definition of an "obsession," as the term is used in discussing OCD.

      Jesus is God, and God made the human mind. Believe me, He knows it inside and out. He also knows something which should help people with OCD who have this problem: that the very fact that the thoughts disturb the person who has them proves beyond any doubt that they are thoughts the person does not want and do not reflect the content of that person's heart.

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  27. Hi Robert. Could you please explain what Matthew 12:37 means?
    "For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned."

    This verse has been giving me anxiety because i thought that this verse says that people can do or say something sinful and Jesus says that they have crossed the line and there is no forgiveness for those people even if they want to come back and repent.

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  28. Words and works show the same purpose: they provide evidence of the presence (or absence) of faith in the heart.

    Your interpretation would seem to be more than a bit of a stretch, given the number of times Jesus says that He will never turn away anyone who comes to Him, that all believers will share heaven with Him, and that nobody can even come to Him unless drawn by the Spirit. Good example of just how irrational the thoughts OCD foists upon us can be.

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    1. Rob, you wrote, "if its OCD, it's not a sin; if it's a sin, it's forgiven- and if you hate the thought, that is proof that you have not committed the unpardonable sin."

      I keep struggling with this "backdoor spike" where I'm not experiencing anxiety, even when I force the words to come to mind. I feel like I could say these words all day long against God. Why is that? My mind feels so numb, that I'm not sure if I even hate the words or not. Have you experienced this? Any ideas? Does faith come back eventually after leaving the thoughts alone and allowing them to be there?

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    2. I'm not a therapist and I don't even play one on TV, but could it be because you're used to feeling guilty? And why do you assume that faith is gone? Do you think that it's a feeling? Really?

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    3. Good question! I don't believe it's about a feeling and I see your logic in that question, and it helps me by reminding me of it's not about feelings but rather faith in Christ. I guess I worry alot about the harding of heart because I feel like I get bitter towards God because of my OCD. It's difficult to not feel abandoned right now.

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  29. Yes, you're a sinner. Welcome to the club!

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