Thoughts That Keep Bothering Us

While driving many people have had the thought ‘What if I would steer into the oncoming car?” only to abandon the thought right away and forget about it. This does not at all mean that you are suicidal when compulsive thoughts like these occur to you. But there are also millions of people to who occur intrusive thoughts. These can be religious from brawling in church to blasphemy. They can be sexual. They can involve hurting others. They can be discriminatory. When thoughts like these increase one can become a little anxious, or even obsessed to downright OCD. To be clear, I am not talking about psychiatric ‘voices’.

Now I tell you, do not be afraid of such thoughts. Do not fight them in the same compulsive way they bother you. The Lord is infinitely greater than our misfits, also sinful thoughts. Remember that and let it sink in when they intrude on your mind. Christ has died for His children and they are covered by His blood, no matter how bad the ideas that fight us. The apostle Paul mentions ‘fears within”. And these thoughts can be scary. You are not alone. Again, millions of people are bothered by compulsive thoughts. Do not allow your guilt to overwhelm you. Do not let them spoil your joy in the Lord, which is your strength.

Personally I think that in my case much can be explained in the way of where such thoughts come from. Something horrible happened to me years ago and I became not only upset, but blasphemously angry with the Lord. Far worse than Jonah and Job. And later I felt that I had betrayed the Lord in a worse way than Peter. I even doubted my salvation at occasion because of this. Things got complicated by insults by family and fellow believers. And before you know it, you are at war with the devil. “Submit to the Lord and resist the devil and he will flee from you.” I did say this to myself many times. But it did not help. If anything, things got worse.

And then you need help. Get over your shame and ask people to pray for you. And again, do not fight compulsive thoughts with the same compulsivity as they bother you. Again, the Lord God is infinitely above your, in his eyes, petty emotions. If need be, seek counsel from a psychologist and in some cases accept medication. Again, do not be afraid. Try to sing spiritual songs. Enjoy nature. Relax. You are not in imminent danger and you are not the only one.

Worse is when you are suffering from audible tourettes, even cursing tourettes. When you are a Christian then I hope your fellow believers are understandable people! In such a case you are saddled with your daily cross and you will have to accept the inevitable. However in most cases people are constrained by compulsive thoughts alone. One kind of these is worry about loved ones. In my case it got so extreme that when a car accident was reported on television, I automatically thought about my children.

I also tried the following praise prayer whenever an intrusive thought bothered me: “You are gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and full of mercy. You are holy, holy, holy.” But that did not do the job sufficiently either. It did help a bit though. Matters became even more complicated by sexual thoughts. A simple solution, though, is to turn your head away and not to look a second time. This happened to me even years after watching soft porn on a weekly basis. I am afraid that this is going to stay with me for a long time and that all I can do is watch myself and not to get obsessed with it. The Lord has died for me and He is infinitely exalted above my sins and sinfulness.

I advise you, and myself, to keep praying until the Lord gives a breakthrough and deliverance. And having others pray ardently for you as well. Watch out for fanatic exorcists. They do more harm than good. The Bible exhorts us to forgive one another and to pray for one another, so that you may be healed.