A reader recently sent in the following question about blasphemous thoughts and the unforgivable sin.
I got your book on the unforgivable sin. What advice can you give for those who suffer with blasphemous thoughts? I have not said anything but they are still upsetting. I am going through a lot of stress right now. I have been having this issue about 2 years now. Any advice is appreciated. I was told just not to accept them (or cry-which I have done). God bless you.
I am glad you got the book. There is so much more I could have said about the unforgivable sin in that little book, and hope to revise and expand it in the future. Maybe this question will get a greater treatment in the book.
What is a Blasphemous Thought?
First off, I am not sure what you might consider a “blasphemous thought.” As I have had hundreds of personal and online conversations about the unforgivable sin over the years, I find that lots of people have some sort of idea about what constitutes blasphemous thoughts or actions, but which are not really blasphemous at all. The reason most people have these ideas is because they heard a sermon, read a book, or had a pastor tell them that certain actions or thoughts were blasphemous. But when we really look at the what blasphemy is, we find that most of these sermons, books, and pastors were simply misinformed or were trying to control other people to act or behave a certain way.
So, to take an extreme case as an example… I have sometimes talked with people who say that they were told that it was blasphemy to question something their pastor taught. They were told that the pastor is “the Lord’s anointed.” Often the pastor will quote Psalm 105:15 as a way of showing that to touch, harm, or question “the Lord’s anointed” is some sort of affront to God. Therefore, to question or challenge the pastor is considered to be some sort of blasphemous challenge to God Himself.
This is an extreme example, to be sure, but it does happen (more than we realize!). But a moment’s reflection reveals that in these cases, the pastor is usually just trying to control people to conform to his own desires, wishes, and commands.
However, I would say that easily 95% of the teaching out there about the “sin of blasphemy” falls into this same category. Usually, what is being taught as blasphemous is not blasphemous at all! Sure, those certain behaviors or actions might be sinful, but there is a vast ocean of difference between sinful thoughts or actions and blasphemous thoughts or actions.
But here’s the thing… I am just going to go out on a limb and guess at what blasphemous thoughts you might be having. Though there is a whole variety of things that people think qualify as blasphemous thoughts or actions, in my experience, there is one main thing that people think is a blasphemous thought.
And it is this… when most people think they have thought or said something blasphemous, it is because they thought or said these words:
F*** you, God! I hate you!
Probably there is not much worse that could be said toward God, and I hesitate even putting such a thing on this blog. If anything qualifies as a blasphemous thought, this is probably it. (Though even here, nowhere does the Bible say that such a statement is blasphemous. In Matthew 12:31-32, when Jesus accuses the Pharisees of being close to committing the unforgivable sin, this is not what the Pharisees were saying, and is not even close to anything they ever would have said…)
So the statement above is not a blasphemous thought, but is still pretty bad, but I wrote it out for a purpose.
If you are saying or thinking these sorts of things toward God, there are two things God wants to say to you in return.
God Wants You to Know He Loves You
The first thing God wants to say to you is this:
Oh yeah? So you hate me, huh? Well guess what?
I love you.
Yeah, that’s right.
I. Love. You.
No matter what, I love you.
No matter what you say or do, no matter what you think, no matter how hurtful your words or thoughts, I will love you forever. My love for you will never change, will never diminish, will never fade away.
Say what you will. Do what you will. I forgive you for all of it, because I love you.
How do we know God says this to us, no matter what we say to Him? Because the Bible tells us over and over that He loves us no matter what. While we were yet sinners, God sent His Son Jesus to die for us (John 3:16; Rom 5:8). Love is the essence of who God is (1 John 4:8). Before you were ever born, God knew every sin you would ever commit, every word you would ever say, and all “blasphemous thoughts” you would ever think. And He sent Jesus to die for you anyway! Why? Because He loves you!
More than anything else, God wants to let you know that He loves you and will always love you.
The God you Hate… God Hates Too
But the second thing God would want to say to you in response for any angry or hateful thought you might have about Him is this:
Hey, I understand. In fact, the god you claim to hate is the god I hate too.
The only reason you are having those thoughts or thinking those words is because you thought I was a certain type of god, and I have not turned out to be that way. Your life is going in directions you didn’t think it would go, horrible things have happened to you in life, and you think I did these things to you. Someone told you some wrong things about me, which are not true, and you (rightfully) resent who you think I am for doing these bad things to you.
If I were you, I would resent me too.
But I didn’t send this pain, tragedy, hardship, or evil into your life.
Remember what I told you before? I love you!
I might discipline you out of love, but when I do, I will make it clear to you what I am doing, and why. Everything else that happens is because the world is full of sin, and the enemy is out to steal, kill, and destroy. Bad things happen in this world, and I am so sorry you have to experience them.
When these bad things happen, my role, my job, my task, is to do what I can to love you through them, to be with you in the pain, to suffer alongside you. This is one reason I sent Jesus. It is also why I sent the Holy Spirit. I am not a god who sends suffering into your life; I am the God who suffers with you in life. I am not a god who sends pain so you cry; I am a God who cries with you in your pain.
And regarding what you thought before… you know, those words you said in your head. Thank you for saying them. Really. Many people either try to deny the painful experiences they are facing, or they clam up about their pain and refuse to talk to me about it. But not you. You are honest about your pain and are willing to talk to me about it. Even though your words are hurtful, they show that you continue to want to talk to me and have a relationship with me. Most people just give me the silent treatment. But you haven’t done that. You continue to want to talk. I want that too.
So let me begin by showing you who I really am…
I am not sure if this exactly answers the question that was sent in to me, but in my years of experience as a pastor, author, and blogger, I have found that most people who have fears about blasphemous thoughts and blasphemous words, usually have one of two things going on in their life (and often both). They either have a religious leader who is trying to control them, or they have a warped and dangerous ideas about who God is and what God is like.
Once we can see that God is not like the angry, fire-hurling deity that is often taught in some churches and by some pastors, but instead looks remarkably like Jesus who loved, accepted, and forgave everybody (except for the religious leaders who tried to use religion to bar the way for people to come to God), it is then that we begin to see how much God loves us, and that no matter what we say or do, His love for us will never change, never waver, never diminish.
It is not a blasphemous thought to think that you hate God. In fact, if you think you hate God, go talk to Him about what you are feeling, and why you feel that way. He loves to have these open and honest conversations with us about who He truly is and how much He truly loves us… no matter what.
Only once we see the love of God, will the thoughts of anger and resentment toward God begin to disappear. So if you are having blasphemous thoughts or ideas toward God, don’t feel bad about them or fear that such thoughts will make God stop loving you. Instead, take those thoughts to God, and say, “God? Do you see what think about you?” Then sit and listen to see what God says in return.
The last thing God wants is for us to shut ourselves off from Him. So if we are having blasphemous thoughts toward God, the best thing we can do is talk to God about them, so that He can show us how much He loves us, and how the God we think we hate is not actually the God He truly is.