Being a Christian has its difficulties, that’s plain to say. Doing your best to live a decent moral life, while putting forth every effort to accomplish the will of God for your life can present many opportunities for the enemy to attack. It’s one thing to be attacked “BY” the enemy, it is certainly another to be attacked by those in the ranks, who are supposed to be on your side. Before I continue, there must be a caution placed here…being a church member isn’t the same as being a Christian. In other words, you are not a Christian, because you attend church regularly. On the contrary, you attend church faithfully, because you are a Christian. That being said, let us continue…
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (O.C.D.) is an issue for anyone who suffers from it, especially if it is major. Include trying to please God with that and BOOM, you have a ticking time bomb for problems in any church. In short it is defined as “having a tendency towards excessive orderliness, perfectionism, and great attention to detail.” WebMD presents it in the following way:
“Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a type of mental illness. People with OCD can have either obsessive thoughts and urges or compulsive, repetitive behaviors. Some have both obsessions and compulsions.
OCD isn’t about habits like biting your nails or always thinking negative thoughts. The disorder can affect your job, school, and relationships and keep you from living a normal life. Your thoughts and actions are beyond your control.
An obsessive thought, for example, is to think that your family members might get hurt if they don’t put their clothing on in the exact same order every morning. A compulsive habit, on the other hand, might be to wash your hands 7 times after touching something that might be dirty. Although you may not want to think or do these things, you feel powerless to stop.”
This article is not to pick on anyone who may suffer from OCD, but simply to introduce the issue as a possible culprit responsible for a lot of problems in the local church, if not kept in check. The apostle wrote in 1 Corinthians 9:27 about bringing his body under subjection… that includes the mind. The human mind is a mystery in and of itself. Powerful enough to create illusions, inventions, tales, and etc. The human thought process is a difficult process for anyone to understand, let alone control. Psychiatrists and psychologists alike study for years, only to suggest things to help someone.
OCD can become a serious problem for anyone, even the Christian. Taking into consideration the definition of the disorder, we can quickly surmise the problems incurred if it isn’t controlled by some means. The obsessive thinking about things can build into an array of issues like gossiping and backbiting. Imagine how someone who has OCD becomes fixed on something and obsesses over it until they have convinced themselves of something that isn’t even true. Now imagine them sharing this obsession with others. Can you see how problems may arise from something that wasn’t even a real issue?
Now, if we add to the obsessive behavior the compulsive behavior. Imagine this individual walking into church and things not being the way they think they should be. It could range from the way the church is cleaned, to the way the preacher presents the message. It could possibly be the way the song leader leads worship or how the piano player misses a note from time to time or the way the bulletin is arranged. Seemingly these are not major issues, but this compulsive behavior can make them become something that ruins the experience for many in the church.
Many times people simply overlook the quirky personality traits of others, however there are others who are unable to do so and actually act upon them, maybe to just appease the obsession. I wonder how many ministries, reputations, possibly even churches have been ruined because someone obsessed so much over something that it literally controlled their life. They become compelled to do something about it, making rash and uninformed decisions, resulting in broken relationships throughout their entire life.
In conclusion, we want to present just a few suggestions:
1) NEVER act upon hearsay, nor emotion…they will be wrong every time.
2) NEVER act without doing your own investigation
3) NEVER obsess upon one outcome, simply because someone you “trust” suggests it to make sense.
4) OCD a disorder, seek help if you feel it is controlling your life
– the ebemy WILL use your weakness against you and others
5) NEVER allow someone else’s obsessions or compulsions to cause you to act or react…you will be just as guilty
Something to consider. Paul wrote to Timothy about busybodies in 1 Timothy 5:13, calling them tattlers and speaking things they ought to speak. Could it be that these suffered from an obsession to be involved in matters that didn’t concern them? They were idle, which is where obsessions are usually bred. Maybe idleness is a precursor to becoming overly obsessed.