I'm not sure if my thoughts are sin

Question:

I saw a web site that makes going to heaven seem really difficult.

I have religious OCD and I get blasphemous thoughts constantly and repent all day long. Some of the thoughts feel like I want them. What should I do? If I'm not sure if my thoughts are really sin, so I ignore them, but will I still be condemned?

When I get a genuinely bad thought, I don't always feel sorry, so I ask for God to help me feel sorry. Is that good enough for repentance?


Answer:

In some ways reaching heaven is difficult. "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it" (Matthew 7:13-14). But people who have religious OCD, or scrupulosity, make it harder than it truly is. "Do not be excessively righteous and do not be overly wise. Why should you ruin yourself?" (Ecclesiastes 7:16). The problem is that people with religious OCD add extra requirements that God never gave and then they find that they can't met the demands that they make on themselves.

Passing thoughts are nothing more than temptations. To be tempted is not sin. While you say you are ignoring these thoughts, you are not truly ignoring them. You focus on them, you feel you need to pray about them and ask God for forgiveness of them, and in doing so, you give more credence to these thoughts than what they deserve.

All that needs to be done with a temptation is to reject the very idea and move on with your life.

Sorrow is not repentance. Sorrow is usually what motivates a person to repent. "For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter" (II Corinthians 7:10-11). Repentance is when you change how you behave and change your attitude toward the acceptability of sin. Thus, a person who is stealing repents by giving up stealing and no longer considers that stealing is all right in some situations.

You are having difficulty with repentance because you are trying to repent of things that are not sins. Sin is when you break the law. "Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness" (I John 3:4). It implies that sin is a choice. Random thoughts are not a choice you make. Where your choice comes in is whether you accept the thought or dismiss it because it is wrong.