The Scrupulosity Sufferers

The Scrupulosity Sufferers

Sunday, August 5, 2001
| Colossians 3:1-11

For many unfortunate victims, faith and religious practice have become a terrifying and compulsive-obsessive experience. This is not what the apostle had in mind when he urged the Colossians to "put to death" whatever belongs to our earthly nature.

Susan has a secret sin.

Susan is a good Ohio woman who, in her late 20s, began to take her faith seriously - compulsively so. Yet the more she practiced her faith, the more she questioned the efficacy of her efforts. Her doubts came daily, nagging her relentlessly and causing her constant pain. "I'd kept it a secret from my children, from my parents and from my husband," she admitted.

For Susan, sin is everywhere. And she is the first among sinners. The one who most needs to confess ... again ... and again ... and again.

She figured she was the only one who had this condition - viewing the world through a sharp and precise moral prism, seeing sin in every situation, and magnifying transgressions whenever they surfaced. But she is not alone. In fact, there are tens of thousands of people - possibly hundreds of thousands of people - who suffer from this very thing.

Clinical psychologists have given her obsession a name. They call it the "scrupulosity obsession," or the "doubting disease."...

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