In light of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s understandable why individuals with mental health disorders like obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are struggling with their symptoms. When it comes to people with OCD, in particular, hand-washing and other compulsions may be exacerbated as a result of the fluctuating pandemic.
While some people understand that their OCD is a mental health disorder that leads to obsessive thoughts and compulsions, others believe they have committed the unpardonable sin or that they haven’t repented enough and are being punished. But what does the Bible say about OCD?
To clear things up, God does understand OCD and empathizes, helps, and comforts those with this disorder and other forms of mental illness. God would never punish someone with OCD, but unfortunately, many people born with this condition believe this to be the case.
Many people who have this condition often wonder, “is OCD a sin?” If you’re one of these people, rest assured that OCD is not a sin, and religion is not a cause.
Obsessions and compulsions can take many forms. Some can’t remember whether they turned the stove off and feel as if they have to check it repeatedly. Otherwise, their house will catch fire, and their loved ones will die. Others believe that they’ve committed an unforgivable sin or that they’ll never be able to repent enough.
Rest assured that God understands the inner workings of the human mind and heart better than any human ever can, and this means He understands how those with OCD feel whenever they struggle with obsessive thoughts and compulsions.
There’s even a subtype of OCD known as religious OCD or scrupulosity, which is characterized by compulsions and obsessions linked to a set of religious beliefs or beliefs about mortality. Those who struggle with this type of disorder may grapple with recurring doubts about their faith or salvation, intrusive and unwanted “blasphemous” or sinful thinking, or other thoughts.
To cope with these symptoms, the individual may engage in religious rituals or compulsions like seeking reassurance from others and repetitive prayer. Individuals with religious OCD may also fear not having enough faith, going to hell, committing a sin, experiencing unwanted sexual or inappropriate thoughts about church leaders or God, and more.
Understandably, this can be highly distressing and enough to convince the individual that they don’t have God’s understanding or forgiveness.
What does the Bible say about OCD? What’s the truth? The truth is that “Yet God, in His grace, freely makes us right in His sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins” (Romans 3:24). When we accept and understand God’s grace, forgiveness, and love, no power, not even ourselves, could take that away.
As for forgiveness, God gives that to us freely when we get to know Him. As Titus 2:11 reads, “For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people,” as well as Ephesians 2:5, “That even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!).”
However, this can be difficult for a person with OCD to absorb. In addition to “sinful” or “blasphemous” thinking among those with religious OCD, other forms of OCD may also cause intrusive thoughts about killing oneself or others, harming others, stealing, or other harmful and sinful acts.
Especially for someone who believes in God, one might feel plagued by the guilt of these thoughts and struggle with the concept of God’s forgiveness. But again, remember that “God so loved the world,” which includes you. No matter what you’re going through, God offers His forgiveness, love, support, and guidance to all who know Him through Jesus.
If you’re combatting this disorder, here are some bible verses for OCD that can help you cope with symptoms:
2 Timothy 1:7: For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-control.
1 Peter 5:7: Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.
Psalm 4:8: I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.
Isaiah 41:10: So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Psalm 55:22: Cast your cares on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.
1 Corinthians 14:33: For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.
Psalm 94:19: When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.
Psalm 34:4: I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.
We offer a Faith in Recovery program to patients which focuses on topics like managing addiction and mental illness from a Christian or faith-based perspective. When it comes to OCD, we know that faith-based support can make a world of difference in both mental and spiritual healing.
Our Florida mental health rehab offers residential treatment for disorders like depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and more. Our OCD treatment can help you or a loved one better understand symptoms and develop healthy and effective coping strategies.