Fear of Sinning

In a society that seeks to define civilization in terms of order there is often a religious underpinning that guides the behavior of its citizens. These guiding principles are known as laws, but there can be a secondary grouping of inner directives that cause people to act in certain ways. To violate these inner laws or principles would be to sin in religious terms. When an individual has a profound fear of sinning they are said to have Peccatophobia.

If you are inclined to dismiss this fear as superstitious nonsense you should know that this fear encompasses a strong desire on the part of the peccatophobe because they are in fear of disappointing their deity or in perpetuating bad behaviors they have tried unsuccessfully to stop.

In this respect these individuals may also struggle with a fear of hell or separation from god.

What Causes Peccatophobia?

In virtually all instances this fear is the result of a belief system accepted as a point of guidance and self governance.  This is often introduced by a family member or friend, but can be a lifestyle sought because the individual believes there is something more that should be guiding their life than personal choice.

This does not mean that organized religion is bad or without positive benefits, but the fear of sinning may be caused by misunderstanding the primary message of the religious directive – self-governance is not always possible, but can be something you continually strive for.  The fear of sinning can be offset by the ability to forgive yourself when you come up short of your expectations or those of your religious persuasion.

Symptoms of Peccatophobia

One symptom of a fear of sinning is for the sufferer to constantly work to find ways they can sooth their conscience by attempting to do good things for others. This is often done as a means of attempting to make amends for what they consider bad behavior.

Other symptoms include…

  • Nausea
  • Dread
  • Anger
  • Personal frustration
  • Self-Condemnation
  • Anxiety
  • Trembling
  • Crying
  • Profound disappointment

The thought of disappointing one you so wish to impress with your passion for purity means that some individuals will leave their religion in disgrace believing they feel they are too imperfect to be acceptable.

Consider that there are local, state and national laws we are asked to follow. Sometimes we fail and break the law. The punishment may be a fine or jail time, but there comes an end to the service required for reparation. That doesn’t mean you move to a different country because you broke a law, you simply work to refrain from breaking that law again.

How to Overcome the Fear of Sinning

Simply put the greatest cure for this fear is forgiveness. This is something you may need to offer to yourself. A therapist or counselor can help you come to terms with how to forgive yourself and move on knowing that every human has the capability of poor personal behavior.

The fear of sinning is also known as…

  • Sinning fear
  • Peccatophobia
  • Personal behavior fear
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