Question:

Hello,

Thank you for the opportunity to write you. I like your site because some of the information is really good and helped me to find out that I have a little bit of religious OCD. Even if my situation was worse, I found out that I am mentally ill. What a great start.

First some informations about me. Maybe it will help you to understand my questions. I am 20. I was a motivated guy, loving and friendly, always laughing. People liked to spend time with me because I liked to help them out. I had goals in life. I was involved in some projects, which attempted to help children in my country through sports. Lots of people used to say me that I am a good guy, but this is not why I did all this. It was just my character or the Holy Spirit.I always believed in good since I was 11. I read prayers and so on, but then I met my girlfriend and because of her I found Jesus.

I started traveling. I have been away from home now for almost a year. I started to think about my beliefs and started growing in my faith, so maybe I found God while I was traveling. But I also found Him because of my girlfriend. I started looking up questions and reading on the Internet. But the Internet is full of hypocritical people and false teachers. It was a really bad idea to get my information from the Internet. Now I can't find any balance.

Now to my questions:

Question 1:

I am always afraid I will lose my salvation. I can't become perfect, I just can't, and because of this I am afraid of losing my salvation. This is a big problem because I can't live a normal life anymore. I have turned into an anxious person who is depressed. People around me have noticed and started asking me what's happen. How do I deal with it? I mean what if I am believer for thirty years, following Jesus, and one day I did a sin and died? I am going straight to hell. Why would God do something like this? I know God hates sin.

Question 2:

This is the hardest question. I don't know how to handle the situation with my girlfriend. I found Jesus because of her, so I have to thank her a lot. I was not a good boyfriend, but she always supported me and helped me. Even now when I am traveling and I will be away from her almost a year, she has been waiting for me. After I got stronger in my faith I realized what kind of gift God gave me. However, I have been with her more than two years together and we have not had sex, but my girlfriend says it is time for it and I am thinking the same. Her mother moved away from her and she has her own apartment. I am going to move in with her. The problem is I don't have a marriage license. My girlfriend does not want to marry with a marriage license, but she would marry in a community wedding. Because of my religious OCD and my fear that God only sees my bad behaviors and wants to punish me, I am in a situation where I think I need to decide between hell or my girlfriend.

And, no, sex is not the reason I want to marry her. She is the best companion I could have.

Question 3:

I think this question is a result of my religious OCD. Maybe it sounds funny. I have lost a lot of hair, even though I am only 20. It really makes me sad, so I found a solution for a semi-permanent toupee. I had it done, and it was a good experience. I stopped being concerned about my hair loss and could focus on more important stuff. However, my religious OCD drove me crazy and I shaved my head because I thought God will send me to hell, which was a really the sad part. It was because of one sentence in Corinthians where Paul speaks about head-covering, even though I know he means a veil and this hair system is not a veil.

Conclusion:

I hope you can help me get a normal life. At the moment I am handling my religious OCD well, but I still wish to be a normal person again without fear and with lots of motivation. If not, I don't know what is going to help me, maybe suicide . I am just sick of all of this difficulty. I am always struggling with hell, buthell is already on earth for me. I can't do anything anymore because I am depressed and anxious.

Then the question with my girlfriend. Even the university where I thought I could enroll easily, didn't give any answer regarding the subject I wanted to do.

Everything is just bad. I don't have faith or happiness -- just nothing. Why is God doing this or leading me into a situation like this? It was not what I thought about Jesus. I thought he is like a friend I can talk to.

Thank you and sorry for these long questions. I chose you because you know a little bit about medicine and about marriage. I hope one day I will be fine .

God bless you.


Answer:

In many ways fear of God is appropriate. "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28). But that fear is also balanced by the knowledge that God loves us. Notice the very next passage: "Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows" (Matthew 10:29-31). So which is it? Fear or do not fear? The answer is actually both.

Fear alone is a useless emotion. If you do nothing because of your fear, you become like the foolish servant: "Then he who had received the one talent came and said, 'Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.' But his lord answered and said to him, 'You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest" (Matthew 25:24-27). Fear that locks you in place, doing nothing but worrying is harmful. Actually, I could argue that this man did not fear his lord enough.

Fear is useful when it becomes a motivation to change, improve, and to keep us from going back into sin. "Yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice, equity and every good path" (Proverbs 2:3-9).

It should be similar to the way you see your earthly parents. You love them but at the same time you don't want to get them mad at you because you fear what they could do to you, so you learn to behave. It should be no different with God. I love Him with all my heart and know He loves me, but I am wise enough also to be afraid to cross God, so it motivates me to stay in the paths of righteousness.

No one is perfect. God isn't expecting perfection out of us. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. ... If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us" (I John 1:8, 10). What God asks of us is effort, a striving not to sin. "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?" (Romans 6:1-2). Sin sometimes happens despite my best effort; yet, I don't give up because I sinned. I don't wallow in it. I find sin disgusting, so I pick myself up and work on changing (II Corinthians 7:10-11). I don't hide the fact that I sinned, I face it down and admit my errors to my Lord (I John 1:9).

I know that God doesn't want anyone lost (II Peter 3:9), so the reason I continue to live is so I can be of service to my Lord. I don't have to be concerned about a last minute sin. I trust God and while I live I work to be a better servant. "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).

This then is the answer to your second question. To have sex with your girlfriend without being married to her is a sin (Hebrews 13:4). Therefore, moving in with her before you two get married is not an option because the temptation will be too great. "But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion" (I Corinthians 7:8-9). How you get married doesn't matter so long as you get married and satisfy whatever are the laws of your country (Romans 13:1-7).

Notice that instead of looking at what God requires of you and then working to make that happen, you are letting your emotions get in the way. You imagine things that the Bible doesn't say. You make up rules for yourself that the Bible doesn't give. You end up making your religion impossibly hard and then wonder why God is doing this to you. It isn't God. It is you.

A toupee is not what Paul referred to when he talked about a head-covering. You actually know this, but you let your emotions override your reason.

Now here is a question for you: If Jesus said that it is wrong to worry (Matthew 6:25-34) and Paul said not to be anxious about anything (Philippians 4:6-7), then what happened to your fear of going against God's commands? Instead of being depressed, you should be work on changing to be the child of God that He wants you to be.

Thank you for your answer.

Yes, I know fear is a part of life. It is a good mechanism for protection. But not the fear I have. I am afraid even touching the Bible because I think I may find something which will make me afraid. I know it sounds terrible. I try to handle it.

I was even afraid to study because I read that if you have lots of money you will go to hell. Or if you have expensive stuff or go out with your girlfriend to eat something fancy. I think if God gives us blessings, we can use them. If one day I have lots of money, I can share it for help and will not put it over God. I want to help my family, especially to eliminate all their debts, so that my grandmother doesn't need to work hard anymore.

I am speaking with brothers and sisters. I think I just ruined my basic understanding of God because I read a lot on the Internet. I have a God in my mind who wants to punish me because of every mistake. I think it is time to do it like Paul, study for three years with the Holy Spirit, and no searching on the Internet.

The task with my girlfriend will be the hardest. She would like to marry in a community or just by living together. No need for comment on this situation.

That I can wear a hairpiece is good to know and helps me to be more self-confident. It helps me at work and in other situations -- for example, speaking about God. It is better if someone is self-confident and spreading the message. I know, maybe it sounds weird, but I am really young and have terrible hair loss. I was even one time estimated to be more than ten years older than I am. This hairpiece is not for picking up girls. I hope I will be a light on this earth again and handle my emotions, which become the biggest problem.

Thank you. I remember a beautiful day in my life where I found out about the grace of God. I just wanted to keep His commands because of my love for Him.

Thank you again.

It is surprising how often the Bible speaks of God's love, and yet people insist on seeing God as being against them personally. I don't know if it a desire to punish ones self or something else, but it is a whole false view of God. See: God is Love.

If you would notice, the fears you list all stem from what you don't know. If you didn't just take people's word and checked things out for yourself from the Bible, you would be far calmer. "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).