Question:

Hi,

I would first like to mention that I often struggle with compulsive or intrusive thoughts. An issue that I've particularly been dealing with is a compulsion to condemn myself by making "deals" with God. These thoughts would often range from "If I do (random activity), then God please to that". Recently I was compelled to condemn myself by telling God in my mind that "I promise to do whatever if you permanently ban me from my hobby of being a car enthusiast," and "I promise to do this if you permanently ban me from enjoying the rewards of Heaven when I die." These really upset me because one is something that I am very passionate about and is very close to my heart, and the other pertains to what God has to offer in the next life. In doing this, have I completely lost my right to enjoy these things forever? Would God respond to such requests?

Answer:

What you are claiming is that men can bind God by their thoughts. There was a time when Moses really wanted God not to destroy the Israelites. "Then Moses returned to the LORD, and said, 'Alas, this people has committed a great sin, and they have made a god of gold for themselves. But now, if You will, forgive their sin -- and if not, please blot me out from Your book which You have written!'" (Exodus 32:31-32). God's answer was that it wasn't up to Moses to decide the criteria upon which he is saved. People are lost due to sin (Exodus 32:33).

Jesus said not to make vows (Matthew 5:34-37). Our word is enough. You can't bargain with God. You can ask God for mercy or favors, but it is completely up to God whether He decides to grant your request. Offering to give up something to get God to listen to you is just a rehash of an old idolatrous religion. Worshipers of Molech had the idea that the greater thing you gave up, the more likely Molech would grant your request. What you've been doing is treating God as if He was some idol to be manipulated.

I know you feel compulsions and these compulsions lead you to place yourself in situations where you can later condemn yourself. However, you don't have to give in to the temptations. Realize that God cannot be manipulated, no matter what you offer to sacrifice. God says He answers the prayers of those who do His will, not those to endure the most self-inflicted pain (I John 5:14-15). Therefore, stop making ridiculous promises that God isn't interested in and that you aren't able to keep. Start following God's laws, which includes not making promises. Apologize for making foolish vows and then move on with your life.

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