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O.C.D. in Religion

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a modern term to describe those who feel the need to anally repeat things over and over.  Activities can include locking doors, washing hands and thorough routines similar to a superstition.  This repetition serves as a method to ease anxious tensions.  Unfortunately, most individuals don’t rest until several minutes have past with some wasting an hour of their day displaying the same pattern of behavior.

The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders. When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles, Mark 7:3-4.

After reading through the gospels, Pharisees, religious leaders and teachers of the law in Jesus’ day appear to portray O.C.D. like tendencies.  Oblivious to their condition, Jesus brings this to their attention in Mark 7:6-9.  Somewhere along the way, these respected individuals began to over-emphasize human traditions by de-emphasizing God’s commands.  In the process, faith became legalistic, following a set of rules rather than purifying their hearts before a God full of grace.

Jesus replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “ ’These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, ” Mark 7:6.

Not much has changed since AD 30 as a segment of Christian churches are more concerned about being a watch dog than converting hearts and minds to follow Christ, Romans 10:9-10.  Using their places of worship like a bully pulpit, sermons are forcefully preached to control their congregations, trying to maintain power as well as squash those with contrary views.  Unfortunately, theology can be divisive, leading some pastors to follow in the same footsteps of the Pharisees.  May those who struggle with religious OCD, see the error of their way, come to the light and be transformed by the Holy Spirit.

by Jay Mankus


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