Saturday, 19 September 2009

God’s transforming grace and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)


One of the big themes of OCD is the need for certainty. It has been described as the ‘doubting disease.’ This disorder is linked to the demand for control or mastery, a need for order and an expectation of perfection. There is a difference between actual sin and potential sin. OCD has an it’s ‘all up to me mentality’ closely connected to guilt. Some OCD strugglers also experience a fear of man.

OCD sufferers can be reminded that everyone must live with a degree of functional certainty. If they sit on a chair they trust that it will hold them. To rely on Jesus is to be able to conquer remaining doubt, just as it did for the Father whose son Jesus healed (Mark 9:14-32, especially 9:24). If an OCD sufferer gives up the need to control his anxiety and his world and casts himself on the grace and providential care of God, he can be learn to lose this disorder.

What does Scripture say about OCD (indirectly)?

Psalm 139 tells us of God’s complete knowledge of us and his detailed supervision of our lives. We are all held in providence. These verses should be of wonderful inspiration:

·“You know when I sit, when I rise, you understand my thoughts from afar. You watch when I walk or lie down, you know every detail of my conduct. A word is not yet on my tongue before you, Yahweh, know all about it. Yo fence me in, behind and in front, you have laid your hand upon me.” (v: 2-5)

·“If I speed away on the wings of the dawn, if I dwell beyond the ocean, even there your hand will be guiding me, your right hand holding me fast.” (v 5-6).

·“Your eyes could see my embryo. In your book all my days were inscribed, every one that was fixed is there.” (v 16).

·“Such amazing knowledge is beyond me, a height to which I cannot contain.” (v 6).

·“For so many marvels I thank you; a wonder am I , and all your works are wonders.” (v 14).

The psalmist is happy to leave ultimate control in the hands of God. Safety is not found in my own reasoning or ritual. I am called to live responsibly before God, but I don’t have ultimate responsibility or oversight of my life. Psalms 104, 121, 127 and 131 are also useful.

Michael R Emlet has written a wonderful booklet called: Freedom for the Obsessive Compulsive 
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