Are people with OCD double-minded?


I am now 73 years old and have struggled with severe OCD since I was about 12 years old. I am a member of the church of Christ and have worried about the obsessive/compulsive thoughts that I have from having religious scrupulosity. I have read some of your very helpful advice and have listened to your sermon about blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Thank you for going into detail about this subject.

The struggle to control my thoughts has been intense yet at times. The OCD has been more controlled. I have wondered if the Bible's warning about being "double-minded" would also include aspects of OCD. I want so much to be a true Christian, so it is very sad and disturbing to me that I am not able to control my OCD at times which puts me in this category. I have a daily spiritual battle with thoughts that I attempt to avoid or at least get rid of as soon as possible.

I pray for God's forgiveness, attend church services, study the Bible, and confess my struggles in my determination to repent too. I have discussed my OCD with others such as church elders and several family members. I have also requested their prayers. I pray for the "peace that passes all understanding."

Thank you very much for considering my question.


"Double-minded" translates the Greek word dipsuchos, which literally means "two souls." It refers to an indecisive or wavering person. In James 1:8, it is referring to a person who is asking God for a blessing but, at the same time, doesn't believe God will really answer his prayer. "But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways" (James 1:5-8). In James 4:8, it refers to a person who wants God to forgive him of sin but, at the same time, doesn't want to let go of his sin.

Thus, these verses are not really about doubt but about wavering between two conflicting beliefs.

OCD is about avoiding risk, so the person does things compulsively in the belief that what is being done will make what is desired more certain. In your case, you are compulsively trying to keep an absolute tight reign on your thoughts -- so tight that you believe you have sinned if the passing thought of sinning crosses your mind. Thus, you behave as if being tempted to sin is a sin in itself.

The Bible teaches that a strong desire to sin that reaches the point where you justify sinning in your mind (i.e. lust) is wrong because you are mentally giving approval to sin. Yet, that is not what you are doing. You know sin is wrong.


Thank you so much, Mr. Hamilton. I appreciate your help in clarifying my question with your thoughtful answer.

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