Thursday, September 15, 2022

Intrusive Thoughts - Part 3


What is the unforgivable sin and have you committed it?

~~Watch the Video~~


  • Introduction
  • Traits of Wholeness
  • Review Intrusive Thoughts Part 2
  • More Strategies For Dealing With Intrusive Thoughts
    • Don’t Own the thought: Cognitive Defusion
    • Therapy
    • Exposure Therapy
  • What Is The Unforgivable Sin?
  • 10 Common Questions About the Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit


  • Phillipians 4:8
  • Mark 3:28-29
  • Mark 3:20-35
  • Matthew 12:32
  • Mark 3:28-30
  • John 15:26
  • 1 Timothy 1:12-13
  • Romans 10:13
  • Hebrews 6:4-6
  • Matthew 11:20-24
  • John 15:21-25
  • John 6:44

Phillipians 4:8

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, think about these things.


All Christians have unwanted intrusive thoughts from time to time. A typical reaction to them is "Ugh! How could I have thought something so awful?"

Thoughts that invade your mind it cause a lot of

  • Guilt
  • Doubt
  • Suffering
  • Anxiety and stress

The thoughts are usually around a topic that is very important to you.

One troubling thought that Christians have is “have I committed the unforgivable sin?”

We will discuss these thoughts today, and dive deep into that specific thought.

Traits of Wholeness


Neither myself nor any of the participants are licensed clinical professionals.  These are opinions that we believe to be inspired by the Holy Spirit, and/or personal life experiences.  This is for educational purposes not medical advice.

We are in our series called Seeking Wholeness

How can we be:

  • Spiritually healthy
  • Emotionally healthy
  • Mentally healthy

Dealing with life’s current stresses and also being healed from experiences/wounds of the past

We’re not just supposed to have eternal life

  • We’re supposed to have: joy, peace, patience, and self control here on earth

Learning not just what The Word instructs us to do, but learning how to implement it in our lives

Traits of Wholeness

  • Authenticity
  • Honesty
  • Kindness
  • Not seeking external approval / validation
  • Living by values and principles
  • Setting Boundaries
  • Taking ownership of your responsibilities
  • Living with purpose and passion
  • Optimism
  • Confidence
  • Healthy relationships with others
  • Not losing control of your emotions
  • Free from addictions
  • Addressing Conflict with truth and love
  • Vulnerability
  • Not critical or Judgemental
  • Not jealous
  • Genuinely applaud the success of others
  • Forgive those who have wronged you in the past
  • Know that you’re worthy of receiving love
  • Not afraid to fail
  • Able to manage irrational fear, worry, and anxiety
  • Selfless encounters with others
  • Not manipulating others trying to control their actions/reactions
  • You care about how others feel
  • Patient
  • Don’t give into peer/social pressure
  • Can communicate directly
  • Don’t take responsibility for other people's emotions
  • Take responsibility for your own emotions
  • Slow to anger
  • Ability to maturely express your wants, needs and desires
  • Being led by the Spirit

We want to become aware of our issues and empowered to manage/fix them.

Review Intrusive Thoughts Part 2

What are Intrusive Thoughts?

Intrusive thoughts is a psychological term that refers to unwanted thoughts that cause distress or discomfort.  

An intrusive thought is an involuntary, unwanted image, phrase, or impulse. They are very common; nearly everyone has them from time to time. Sometimes they are of a violent nature, other times they are sexual. Often they are blasphemous or induce great fear of having done a ritual incorrectly. They can be quite disconcerting, especially when they are completely contrary to what a person actually believes.


“What if I’ve committed the unforgivable sin”

“ what if I stand up and start screaming in this quiet auditorium “

“what if I accidentally press the gas pedal and ran over a pedestrian“

You’re thinking about doing something that you

  • don’t want to do
  • Don’t plan to do

It goes against your morals and desires

It’s normal to have unwanted thoughts that intrude into your awareness.  

  • they are unwanted because they are objectionable in someway

Example: what if the elevator cables breaks

You Can’t Eliminate Them Completely

It is unrealistic to think you can eliminate intrusive thoughts. But we can learn how to deal with them quickly and keep them from taking over our mind.  

Facts About Intrusive Thoughts

  • They aren’t a sin
  • God knows your heart
  • They can come from your flesh, or Satan
  • Show what you value

Strategies to Deal With Intrusive Thoughts

Don’t Focus on Eliminating Them

The natural reaction to intrusive thoughts is to try to eliminate them altogether or to reduce the anxiety that they caused.  

This causes you to worry even more about the thoughts.  

Distract Yourself

  • Shift of attention
  • Find a Positive Distraction

Reject the Thought

Ignore the Thoughts

Stop Trying to Control Them

Take it to God: Pray

Desiring God Strategy

  • View it as harassment.
  •  It is not the end of the world
  • Renounce the thought
  • Turn your mind to an alternative truth that is based in Scripture
  • Ask God to liberate you from this harassment

More Strategies For Dealing With Intrusive Thoughts

Don’t Accept the thought: Cognitive Defusion

Cognitive fusion is accepting every thought that passes through your mind.

  • It’s when you think something, and you just believe it.

We need to learn to notice our thoughts without accepting them

Example: what if it starts raining

  • You wanted to wear your suede shoes
  • It’s 100 degrees of dry heat outside

I am having the thought that…

“I am having thought that I am stupid“ versus “I am stupid“

Cognitive Defusion Exercise

  1. Notice all the thoughts to come to your mind
  2. Add in front of it “I’m having the thought that…“
  3. Now add “I noticed that I am having the thought that…“
  4. Notice what other thoughts are popping up

“I’m having the thought that I am awkward “

Thoughts And emotions are experiences that you are having…

They aren’t necessarily reality

You are not your emotions

Give your thoughts a name

Example: Billy Bob

“ ahh man that goes Billybob again“

Singing and silly voices

Repeat the thought in a silly voice

“I can’t go to that party because I’m so nervous“

Symbolically put your thoughts onto an object

give them a tangible form

Bruce Lee example: 

visualize yourself writing the thought on paper

Crumbling it up and throwing it into a fire


If your ruminating thoughts are taking over your life, you may want to consider therapy. A therapist can help you identify why you’re ruminating and how to address the problems at their core.

Sometimes intrusive thoughts can be more than spiritual. If Scripture memorization and prayer don’t significantly diminish harmful thoughts and inclinations, the body’s own chemistry may be at work. Intrusive thoughts are a symptom of obsessive compulsive disorder, post-partum depression, and attention deficit disorder, among other things. Just as God has provided trained professionals to advise in spiritual matters, He has provided us with doctors and counselors to help with the physical. If intrusive thoughts become particularly debilitating, realize that “the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:24) may require the humility to ask for help.


Exposure Therapy

** this is not for everyone or every type of intrusive thought **


  • taboo like fears
  • phobias

Exercise: Don’t think about a purple alligator

Trying to avoid thinking of something forces you to think about it

In order to not think about a thought, you have to think about the thought that you were not trying to have

Snake on a Pole Example

In a story of Numbers 21,  God instead of getting rid of the snakes, told Moses to put a golden snake on a staff and when people looked at it they wouldn’t be poisoned by the snakes.  

  • Instead of just getting rid of the snakes

You have to look at your fear…face your fear

You confront the thought by

  • purposely thinking about it
  • maybe even saying it out loud

It will make you anxious at first. Overtime you will realize the thoughts of tolerable you can also learn to manage the anxiety that the thoughts caused you.  

you don’t need to neutralize them. Lean into them. Leaning and shows you that you don’t need your safety behavior to protect you from the anxiety.  

How do you get over the fear of public speaking?

Example: Fear of Hitting Partner with Wine Bottle

  • Think of scenarios that could result in the outcome that you fear.

  • Practice writing out “I feel like hitting my partner over the head with the wine bottle“

This will take the scary taboo thought and make it less threatening

  • The next step is to hold the wine bottle in your hand and swing it in the air

Situational exposure therapy

  • Then… Hold the bottle in your hand with your partner near you

Sit with the anxiety

  • Do some deep breathing
  • While holding the bottle

Imaginal exposure therapy

Picture doing these things in your mind

Teach Your Mind to Get Bored With Intrusive Thoughts

  • Habituation and exposure
  • Repeated attention to the intrusive thought we reduce reactivity overtime
  • Should be done without answer seeking
  • A way to reduce avoidance

The more we get exposed to something that we’re afraid of something and it doesn’t harm us the more we get comfortable with it

The best way to increase the frequency of a thought is to try to not have the thought


Research has shown the thought suppression is ineffective

Over the last hundred years all branches of psychology have realized how effective exposure therapy is. if you get people to confront that which they are afraid of, they don’t get less afraid… They get braver

Intrusive Thoughts Not a Thought Problem

We shouldn’t think of intrusive thoughts as a thought problem.  

  • It’s a behavior problem

So the solution isn’t to try to control and fight your thoughts

It’s to control your behavior

The goal of stopping intrusive thoughts is not to stop the thoughts but to stop the behaviors that you were doing because of them.  

Stop trying to answer the question that you are trying to answer.  

Stop trying to solve the problems you’re trying to solve

When we solve the behavior problem… We break the cycle.  exposure and response therapy allows for a new behavior in the brain.  

The content of the thought is not the problem that you are experiencing.  

By engaging in the correct behaviors repeatedly you are creating new circuits in the mind.  

The more you engage in behaviors that reinforce the thoughts The more your brain figures it doesn’t need to keep telling you. You break the emotional connection.  

The more you engage in behaviors that reinforce the thought… The more your brain thinks that this must be important.

By doing the exposure therapy you break the emotional connection to the thought itself.  

What Is The Unforgivable Sin?

Mark 3:28-29

28 “Truly I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons and daughters of men, and whatever blasphemies they commit; 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”

“Have I committed the unforgivable sin” is one of the most common questions pastors get from online ministry and in person.

The unforgivable sin is not

  • Murder
  • Abortion
  • Homosexuality
  • Adultery
  • Persecuting the church

10 Common Theories of What the Unforgivable Sin Is

What are some definitions that you’ve heard of the unforgivable sin?

  • Calling the works of the Holy Spirit the works of Satan
  • Telling Jesus Christ to his face “you have an unclean spirit“
  • After witnessing miracles
  • It is a state of willful determined opposition to the power of the Holy Spirit.  
  • Rejecting the gospel
  • When they mocked Jesus Christ while He was dying on the cross
  • Saying something sacrilegious about God or the Holy Spirit
  • Repeatedly doing the same sins
  • Displays we see in hyper charismatic churches
  • Denying the displays in the hyper charismatic churches
  • Being unwilling to ask for forgiveness

Christians can’t commit what Jesus calls “blasphemy of the Holy Spirit”

 –Desiring God

Worrying about whether one has committed the unforgivable sin is one of the clearest evidences that the troubled person has not committed the sin. for those who committed are so hard in in their hearts, they do not care that they commit it

—RC Sproul

The unforgivable sin is being a believer but not a Christian

 –Michael Leadon

E.g. Satan

Scripture Regarding the Unforgivable Sin

Mark 3:20-35

20And He *came home, and the crowd *gathered again, to such an extent that they could not even eat a meal. 21And when His own people heard about this, they came out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, “He has lost His senses.” 22The scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.” 23And so He called them to Himself and began speaking to them in parables: “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24And if a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but he is finished! 27 But no one can enter the strong man’s house and plunder his property unless he first ties up the strong man, and then he will plunder his house.

28“Truly I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons and daughters of men, and whatever blasphemies they commit; 29but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— 30because they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”

31Then His mother and His brothers *came, and while standing outside they sent word to Him, calling for Him. 32And a crowd was sitting around Him, and they *said to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are outside looking for You.” 33Answering them, He *said, “Who are My mother and My brothers?” 34And looking around at those who were sitting around Him, He *said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! 35For whoever does the will of God, this is My brother, and sister, and mother.”

Old Testament Unforgivable Sins

In the Old Testament law there were sins that were unforgivable

There was no forgiveness for blasphemy

  • You are stoned

If you committed murder you were stoned

In the Old Testament says that you can blaspheme God by taking the name of the Lord in vain

The Parables

Beelzebub is a Philistine deity

The word means “lord of the flies”

They use it to refer to Satan… Who is the Lord of the demons

  • Beelzebul in some versions

How Can Satan Cast Out Satan

23 And so He called them to Himself and began speaking to them in parables: “How can Satan cast out Satan?

“ how can Satan cast out Satan? “Is the main point of the parable

Parable - house against itself

Parable - tie the strongman

The point of the parables was that this it doesn’t make sense to say Jesus’ power is from satan

  • Implying they were knowingly mischaracterizing Him

The Markan Sandwich

What is something we find in Mark and not in any other books?

Markan sandwich

  • Jesus’ family says He’s crazy let’s get him out of here
  • Jesus warns the scribes and Pharisees about the blasphemy Holy Spirit
  • Jesus’ family tries to get them out

Fig Tree Markan Sandwich

Jesus’ Family Slandering Him

21 And when His own people heard about this, they came out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, “He has lost His senses.”

[saying] = legō - which is in the imperfect

  • They were continually saying
  • They were spreading rumors about Jesus

Jesus’ family was spreading rumors that He was crazy

They were blaspheming Jesus

Scribes and Pharisees Slandering Jesus

22 The scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying [legō], “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.”

saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,”

The scribes said

  • He’s not just crazy
  • He’s possessed by Beelzebub

They had

  • The Old Testament witness
  • Jesus doing miracle in front of them
  • John the Baptist (he was a confirmed prophet)

Scribes knew

  • Blind received sight
  • Lame people walked
  • Leprosy cleansed
  • Deaf hear
  • Dead raised up
  • Gospel preached to the poor

In their worldview, they know that this is proof of the Messiah

They knew exactly what these miracles meant. It was overwhelming proof, and they  knew it.

Distinction Between the Two

Matthew 12:32

“And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

Son of Man = The Messiah = Jesus

Jesus is saying that the two offenses are not equal

  • Not believing the words of Jesus, the man, is forgivable
  • Not believing the Holy Spirit is unforgivable

One of these scenarios is forgivable; one is unforgivable

Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit

Mark 3:28-30

 28 “Truly I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons and daughters of men, and whatever blasphemies they commit; 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”-- 30 because they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”

  • It says the Jesus was saying this because they were saying “he has an unclean spirit“

Verse 30 makes clear that the unforgivable part relates to them saying “he has an unclean spirit”

So the scribes committed the unforgivable sin

  • His family didn’t

All Sins Will Be Forgiven

  • All blasphemies will be forgiven
  • Except against the Holy Spirit

Why the Scribes’ Sin Was Unforgivable


  • Saw the signs that Jesus is the Messiah
  • Knew what the signs meant
  • They spent their life waiting to see those signs
  • Have enough knowledge and evidence to know Jesus is the Messiah
  • Still claiming the work of the Holy Spirit to be the works of Satan

The Holy Spirit’s Job

John 15:26

“When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, namely, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, He will testify about Me,

The Holy Spirit testifies that Jesus is the Messiah

The work of the Holy Spirit is to point people to Jesus and his word

If the Holy Spirit clearly convicts you that Jesus is the Messiah and you deny it…it is unforgivable

The Ignorant are Forgiven

Paul’s blasphemy

Did Paul commit blasphemy?

1 Timothy 1:12-13

12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, 13 even though I was previously a blasphemer [blasphēmos] and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief

  • You can’t commit the unforgivable sin in unbelief

Paul had previously blasphemed, but it wasn’t held against him because he did it out of ignorance and unbelief.

So the unpardonable sin is not just declaring the works of the Holy Spirit to be the works of Satan.  

  • You have to know that that is a lie

If you blaspheme the Holy Spirit in ignorance you can be forgiven

A Christian doubting Jesus isn’t the unforgivable sin

Summary of What Is the Unforgivable Sin

Romans 10:13


  • Everyone who calls Jesus Lord will be saved
  • No matter what sin you’ve committed
  • All your sins are forgiven

If you believe in Jesus you cannot commit the unforgivable sin

The unforgivable sin is knowing beyond the shadow of a doubt that Jesus is the Messiah, but denying Him because of your hardened heart.  

It is being a believer, but not being a Christian

You know Jesus is the Messiah, but you choose not to follow Him

Who committed it

  • These Scribes and Pharisees
  • Satan
  • Fallen angels

Hebrews 6:4-6

4 For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.

It’s unforgivable if you

  • Have been enlightened
  • Made partakers of the Holy Spirit
  • Tasted the good word of God
  • Experienced supernatural signs/gifts
  • Knew they were of the Holy Spirit
  • Then fell away

The unforgivable sin is knowing beyond the shadow of a doubt that Jesus is the Messiah, but denying Him because of your hardened heart.  

Scriptural Support of This Definition

But still don’t follow Christ

Matthew 11:20-24

20 Then He began to reprimand the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent. 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that occurred in you had occurred in Tyre and Sidon [Sodom and Ghomorah], they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 “Nevertheless I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. 23 “And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will be brought down to Hades! For if the miracles that occurred in you had occurred in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. 24 “Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment, than for you.”

They saw first hand proof of Jesus being Messiah and denied Him

John 15:21-25

 21 But all these things they [the world] will do to you on account of My name, because they do not know the One who sent Me. 22 “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 “The one who hates Me hates My Father also. 24 “If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. 25 “But this has happened so that the word that is written in their Law will be fulfilled: ‘THEY HATED ME FOR NO REASON.’

They were in sin because

  • Jesus spoke to them
  • They saw undeniable proof
    • Jesus did miracles no one else did

John 6:44

 “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.

The unforgivable sin

God drew you near to Him (via the Holy Spirit)…and you refused

The unforgivable sin is knowing beyond the shadow of a doubt that Jesus is the Messiah, but denying Him because of your hardened heart.  

10 Common Questions About the Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit

Is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit a figure of speech that was already known at the time?


Is this the same as apostasy?

If a person is Christian and they leave the church and start talking bad about the Holy Spirit.


Can Christians do it?

Not if they believe, and accept Christ as their savior.

Can unbelievers do it?

No, not if they don’t believe Christ is the savior.

Can it be done today?


Can it be undone?

Apparently No

It implies that your heart is hardened to a state that you won’t return to God

If you return to God then you weren’t in that state in the first place

Is it simply a rejection of the gospel?


How do you know you haven’t done it?

If you accept Jesus as your savior

Are secessionists guilty of the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit?


Merely denying the validity of a specific working of the Holy Spirit isn’t committing the unforgivable sins

Are continuationists committing the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit?

No, calling something the Holy Spirit that is not, is not the unforgivable sin

Instructor: Michael Leadon


What are intrusive thoughts and how can you deal with them

ADAA got anxiety

What exactly is the unforgivable sin?

Mike Winger

What is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit? Have I committed it?

Melissa Doherty

How to overcome intrusive thoughts

The OCD and anxiety show with Matt Codde

What is the unpardonable sin?

Tiff Shuttlesworth

Can a Christian blaspheme the Holy Spirit?

Desiring God

What is the saying of blasphemy of the Holy Ghost?

Robert  breaker

Intrusive thoughts and overthinking: The skill of cognitive defusion

Therapy in a nutshell

the unforgivable sin

Epiphany Evangelical Lutheran Church

Unforgivable sin

Catholic life TV


The 4 Step Method

It is important to understand the nature of your intrusive thoughts in order to cure them

different strategies work for different people

“don’t think about it “may work for some

Just like “don’t eat sweets“ may work for some but not others

Intrusive thoughts typically center on doubt, ambiguity and uncertainty


  • Am I gay?
  • Am I a pedophile?
  • Do I really want to punch my mother?
  • Do I have breast cancer?

Finding the question will enable you to use the next tool…

the four step method

~ give yourself grace

~ don’t judge yourself

  1. Acknowledge the fear may be true
  2. Acknowledge the fear may not be true
  3. Rest in not knowing
  4. Resolve not to seek the answer
  1. Try to postpone immediately googling the answer or asking someone
  2. Postponed coming up with a mental list of why this isn’t true

You don’t try to prove to yourself that the intrusive thought is not true

Based in principles of

  • Mindfulness
  • Acceptance based coping
  • Exposure and response prevention

This does not erase the thought from coming back. You may have to do this repeatedly over time.

It’s not the thought that’s damaging it’s the behaviors that rob you of your life

  • Compulsive behaviors
  • Analyzing

Romans 3:21-26

21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 but it is the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in God’s merciful restraint He let the sins previously committed go unpunished; 26 for the demonstration, that is, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Acts 26:11 (NASB20) “And as I punished them often in all the synagogues, I tried to force them to blaspheme; and since I was extremely enraged at them, I kept pursuing them even to foreign cities.

Proverbs 15:13

13 A joyful heart makes a cheerful face,

But when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken.

Romans 12:2

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Miracles of Jesus

Luke 7:18-23 (NASB20)

18 The disciples of John also reported to him about all these things. 19 And after summoning two of his disciples, John sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are You the Coming One, or are we to look for another?” 20 When the men came to Him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to You, to ask, ‘Are You the Coming One, or are we to look for another?’” 21 At that very time He cured many people of diseases and afflictions and evil spirits; and He gave sight to many who were blind. 22 And He answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: people who were blind receive sight, people who limped walk, people with leprosy are cleansed and people who were deaf hear, dead people are raised up, and people who are poor have the gospel preached to them. 23 “And blessed is anyone who does not take offense at Me.”

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