One sign of being scrupulous is a lack of trust in God’s mercy. It is somehow a choice but the disorder contributes as well as this is a compulsion.
When we feel we commit a sin, the tendency is to overanalyze if we really did it. We convince ourselves that we did not but the urge to confess always prevails. We want an absolute assurance that we are free from transgressions.
Trusting in God’s mercy has been my issue ever since I was a teenager. I always felt God punished me for being a bad person. I carried this mindset up until college, relying on myself by doing things, not in conflict with the Lord. And if I thought I violated, I would be remorseful unreasonably depressing me. It was a painful feeling.
Moving forward, to view God as merciful and compassionate takes so much courage and a lot of exposure (ERP Therapy).
As blind to our own perception, proof of God’s love and mercy can be our antidote to this. And one thing that could help is the Scriptures. It can point us in the right direction for through this we know who God is more.
Here are the bible passages that show God as a loving and merciful Father.
The Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32)
Whenever I think of how merciful God is, this parable always comes into my mind first.
“Then he said, “A man had two sons,
and the younger son said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’ So the father divided the property between them.
After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation.
When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need.
So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine.
And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any.
Coming to his senses he thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger.
I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”’
So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.
His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’
But his father ordered his servants, ‘Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast,
because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.’ Then the celebration began.
Now the older son had been out in the field and, on his way back, as he neared the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing.
He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean.
The servant said to him, ‘Your brother has returned and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
He became angry, and when he refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him.
He said to his father in reply, ‘Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends.
But when your son returns who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’
He said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours.
But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’”
The Parable of the Lost Sheep (Luke 15:1-7)
This passage speaks volumes to me since it talks about the tax collectors, I am not one, but St. Matthew is, who is a patron saint of accountants.
“The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to him,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So to them he addressed this parable.
“What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it?
And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy
and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’
I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.”
The Story of a Woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11)
This verse shows that God does not condemn us as long we repent and sin no more.
“Then each went to his own house, while Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
But early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area, and all the people started coming to him, and he sat down and taught them.
Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle.
They said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery.
Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?”
They said this to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger.
But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Again he bent down and wrote on the ground.
And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders. So he was left alone with the woman before him.
Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
She replied, “No one, sir.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”
- Mark 6:34 – “As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.”
- Matthew 14:14 – “When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick.”
- Luke 6:36 – “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
- Matthew 9:13 – “Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”
With these bible passages, we can really say how merciful God is. We just need to trust in Him and change our lives to be holier.
As scrupulous myself, I know the darkness of seeing God as punishing.
It is fearful!
But, let these stories and verses above remind us how He loves us despite our shortcomings.
He cares for us. He sees us as His children.
The next time you are in doubt, imagine you are the prodigal son or the tax collector or the woman who got caught, and rest in God’s mercy.
For the best resources for scrupulosity, you might want to check this out.