Christianity -- Christian Living/Unforgivable?

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QUESTION: I have a problem.  I think that I have committed the unforgivable sin of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.  I am being tormented by worrying about this.  I was diagnosed with OCD and anxiety a few years ago, and I think this is really latching on to this.  I am also pregnant, and I doubt the hormones are helping.

A few nights ago, I was in a bad mood for no particular reason except that I was getting frustrated with being pregnant.  I am nearing the end of the third trimester and I'm just uncomfortable.  I was feeling very tired and grumpy, and I had that feeling that I was not going to be able to fall asleep.  I've heard other pregnant women joke about pregnancy insomnia being God's way of preparing you for the sleepless nights of having an infant.   Anyway, as soon as I thought that, I said to myself in my head, "Well, that must just be a part of God's evil plan."  I was absolutely disgusted by the thought!  I do not think that God is evil at all!

Ever since then, I've had this horrible pit in my stomach and knot in my chest.  I have asked for forgiveness, but I am afraid that I am like the Pharisees who accused Jesus of casting out demons by Satan.  I know that Jesus said that all sins and blasphemies will be forgiven, but the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, and even though I didn't refer to the Holy Spirit in my thought, I blasphemed Him by default since He is part of the trinity.  I feel like I blasphemed all three persons of the trinity by referring to God as evil.

I am so scared that I will not be saved because of this.  I want to believe what the Bible says, that if I confess my sin then He will be faithful to forgive me, but He also said that blasphemy of the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.  I've messed up so bad!  I know that Jesus is my only hope for salvation because He is Lord and He died for me, but I'm afraid that Jesus can't forgive me for this evil blasphemous thought against Him.

I am so upset!  I did not want to think that thought, or at least I think I don't.  It makes me afraid that maybe I'm losing my mind and don't know what I really believe.  I know that Jesus is the only way, and I long for His forgiveness and for Him to be my savior.  I wish I could go back and unthink the thought.  I hate it so much!

ANSWER: Hi Amanda, rest easy my sister.  :)
The sheer fact that you regret it tells me that you didn't commit the unforgivable sin.

There's a huge difference between a rash thought/statement and one that you take ownership of.  Blaspheming the Holy Spirit is something ingrained in the heart of the person to where it permeates a person's whole attitude towards God 24/7.  It doesn't sound to me like you live your life with a vile hatred of God all the time to where you have no love for Him whatsoever.  That kind of person constantly plots ways of getting back at God, doing evil to others, and hating God so much that he hates people who are made in God's image.  The unforgivable sin isn't a shallow sin, it's a deep one.  And God knows the difference between what pops in our heads and what we take ownership of.

By way of illustration, a few years back I was painting some Buckthorn stumps with a herbicide and as I poured the herbicide into a paint tray, there was a voice commanding me to "Drink that."  Of course, it would have sent me to the hospital if I had, so I didn't do it, but it made me think that sometimes ideas pop in and circulate around our brains and in our ears and in our mouths...and yet, it's a totally different thing than taking ownership of it.

Here's another illustration--this one from the Bible:  Do you remember when Peter had just confessed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and then promptly turned around and told Jesus that He shouldn't go to Jerusalem?  You can read the full story in Matthew, but the punch line is Matthew 16:23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."

Boom! But Peter didn't commit the unforgivable sin even if he was called Satan for that moment.  Worse, Jesus was the one calling him Satan. --Ouch, that's a hard one to live down.

Jesus will forgive you for that thought --even if you said it in your mouth in addition to your head.  He knows the difference between thoughts you take ownership of and cultivate and ones that arise from hormones going every which way and a total lack of sleep.  You're understandably anxious.  Pregnancy is a huge life event and sleepless nights are part of that pattern that will continue well after your baby is home with you.  Many women I know, myself included, remained light sleepers even after our kids have gone off to college.  :D
Sleeping with one ear awake is part of being a mom, I guess...

All this to say, you can be kind to yourself.  God tells us that no one can snatch us out of His hands...not just once but twice:  John 10:28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand.

Once saved, always saved.  That's how it works.  
So you can rest easy--as easy as you can given the third trimester.  Thank Jesus for His forgiveness and for understanding our human nature and how thoughts pop up out of nowhere. But He knows more than our thoughts and our words, He knows our hearts.

Be blessed tonight.  If I can be of further reassurance to you, please let me know.  It's why I'm here.  
In His grace, Barbara <><

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for answering so quickly! Your answer was very reassuring. I have another question. If someone did blaspheme the holy spirit, is it unforgivable because Jesus won't forgive our it wasn't covered by his death, or because the person who committed the sin won't want to ask for forgiveness our even care? If someone did blaspheme the holy spirit and then asked for forgiveness, could they be saved?

I do believe in eternal security. I know that I can't lose my salvation. However, this has made me Weiner if I Egbert was really saved to begin with. I feel like a really saved person wouldn't think such a blasphemous thought about their God and savior. I keep telling myself that Jesus said that he won't cast out anyone who comes to him, and I've come to him, so therefore he won't cast me out, and also that whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. I'm a whoever, and I've called on him to save me, because he is the only savior. I still doubt whether our not I have genuine saving faith. I'm afraid that I will be one of the ones that Jesus tells to get away from him in Matthew 7. How do I know if I have saving faith?

These worries are making me very anxious and upset. I am so afraid that I won't be a highly patent because of these struggles.

Answer
Hi Amanda,

I’m glad you found some reassurance there.  :)

Now, to answer your other questions: if a person blasphemed the Holy Spirit, that heart is such a dark and evil place that the last thing it would ever do is repent.  It’s more like how Satan’s heart is: fixated on bringing God down.  The one who blasphemes the Holy Spirit hates God and everything God stands for.  That one would never apologize or seek forgiveness.  That person would try to get God to apologize or bring Him down and gain the upper hand on Him.  Once a person has totally abandoned and abused the only One who can save, they will remain unforgiven only because they steadfastly refuse to come to God.

It’d be kind of like asking, “Could a non-pregnant woman give birth to a baby today?”  If she’s pregnant, she could, but if she’s not pregnant, there is no way she’ll give birth to a baby today.  Giving birth requires pregnancy.  Asking for forgiveness requires a willing heart.

While I fully believe in eternal security, I will say that I am living as though I’m 100% convinced I’m saved…even though humility says that I won’t know for sure until that day when I see Jesus.  In other words, I’m not God and I know people’s hearts can deceive them [mine included], so I’ll just humbly act on my confidence in God instead of living as one who doubts God’s goodness.

I still make mistakes and sin.  I still get angry with God sometimes and feel frustrated…but none of those are salvation issues.  They’re sin issues and obedience and response issues that happen in the course of human life.  They’re not the pattern, though.  They’re less frequent as time goes on.

Evidence that I’m on the right track would be that I love Jesus, I display the fruit of the Spirit [Galatians 5:22-23], I do good works, I want to learn more about Jesus and to share Him with others. I enjoy worshiping God, and I’m growing more loving every day—toward God and others.  I obey His word to the best I know how and repent when I fall short.  And I remain confident that no sin I could ever commit is too big for the blood of Christ to cover it…so long as I have the desire to ask for forgiveness.

So my recommendation would be for you to assume that since you’ve asked for forgiveness and for Jesus to be your Savior, you’ll just press forward as if you are 100% confident because your confidence is in God and not in what you do.  Therefore you can respond by loving God and neighbor, worshiping Jesus, and learning more about your Savior.  Sound like a plan?  

Hope this helps!  
Be blessed today!
Barbara <><

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Barbara Shafer

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Barbara Shafer (Seminary Gal now also at http://seminarygal.com ) I am an Evangelical Christian who is willing to answer faith questions in a thoughtful, researched manner. In particular, my heart`s desire is to assist those who need answers regarding suffering and those seeking to reconcile the Christian faith with the field of science. SeminaryGal.com

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I have a Masters of Divinity degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. I particularly enjoy apologetics (defense and explanation of the Christian faith) and systematic theology (understanding how the Bible itself supports various aspects of Christian doctrine). Both of these play a vital role in the "nuts and bolts" of evangelism... but the heart of Christian evangelism is love and compassion. A turning point for me was when I experienced the loss of my daughter Julia. Since then, my heart has been to help people who struggle to understand the Christian faith (and those who may be questioning the goodness of God) in light of the problem of evil and suffering. I've been informally answering Bible questions via other Internet avenues for over 10 years- to skeptics and believers alike. Thank you for blessing me with these opportunities.

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Master of Divinity, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

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