Combating Bad Thought Patterns with Scripture

Recently, a friend and I were discussing how our children (ages 6 and 9) were developing bad thought patterns. Both our kids have begun saying things like "I'm a bad kid," "I'm no good at anything," "Nobody loves me," * and so on. (And no, they don't hang out together.) I was completely taken aback to hear my young child speak this way - especially since I'm certain no person has been telling her these things about herself. My friend and I both agree our children have developed a habit of listening to what Satan says about them, instead of listening to what God says about them.

 While it's vital for parents to tell children who are speaking this way that the child's thinking is incorrect, that they love the child, that the child is wonderful, and that God loves them, clearly this wasn't enough to get either of our kids. Scripture, we believe, is the answer - whether the one with bad thought patterns is a child or an adult.

The Power of Scripture
When Jesus was tempted by Satan, his defensive weapon of choice wasn't fleeing, nor was it his supernatural powers - nor was it even prayer. It was reciting Scripture. If speaking Scripture was important for Christ, how much more so it is for us! And if we have particular areas of weakness, then we ought to focus on memorizing Scriptures covering those areas.

Finding Scriptures
Finding Scripture to combat bad thought patterns isn't always simple. But often, a search for keywords related to the issue conducted on a site like Bible Gateway helps. You can also Google the matter. For example, you might try the search: Bible verses about self worth. Once you find a website claiming to quote the Bible, I recommend looking up the verses in your print Bible (or at Bible Gateway), just to make sure they are quoted accurately. It's also an excellent idea to read the quotes in context.

Helpful Scriptures
If you or your child is struggling with some of the negative thoughts my child is, here are a few Bible verses to read and memorize.

"I'm just a bad kid:"

"I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well." Psalm 139:14

"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." Ephesians 2:10

"Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows." Luke 12:7 

"...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..." Romans 3:23

BUT "...there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1

"I'm no good at anything:" 

 "Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will succeed." Proverbs 16:3

"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind..." Romans 12:2

"Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28 

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes..." Proverbs 3:5-7

"Nobody loves me:"

"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love." 1 John 4:7-8 

"See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him." 1 John 3:1 

"I love those who love me; and those who diligently seek me will find me." Proverbs 8:17

"Give thanks to the God of heaven, for His lovingkindness is everlasting." Psalm 136:26


"I wish I'd never been born:"

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" Jeremiah 29:11

"Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body." 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

"He [Satan] was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies." John 8:44

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

* If these thoughts are accompanied by depression, please also seek professional help.
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  1. What a wonderful post! I think this can work well for adults as well. I have never thought of this before now. I have always heard memorize scripture but never thought of this context. Thank you for posting this! :)

  2. Thank you for this post! I've just been searching for scripture to help overcome wrong thought patterns for my wife who is suffering from depression. It was very useful! God Bless

  3. This is actually very helpful, hence its a continuous read. Thank you for this post. God bless.

  4. Thanks for the post, just want to let you know its Matthew 11 not 1.

  5. The last verse is Matthew 11. Sorry for not being clear the first time. Thanks again.

  6. Thank you, Janien! I've corrected my error.