Throughout my Christian walk, I have always regarded my thoughts as sin, even sometimes the temptation itself and agreeing with it was a sin. I have come to believe that the line is a bit more blurred. For example, if a thought wasn’t tempting nor enticing to us, then it wouldn’t be temptation, would it? It would simply be a thought, that would be easily dismissed.
Now, I totally understand that a thought indulged in could in theory lead to a physical acts, but not necessarily. Many people can dream of slugging someone and never do it, and during a length of time may become friends with that person. Was that sin? I am not so sure. Maybe wanting to slug someone was merely a temptation, and refraining to do it all those years proved as such. But we controlled our behavior. Now, many would consider that a sin and condemn the person for having such thoughts.
So, here I am feeling dejected one day many years ago, because there are certainly some thoughts in my life that, were they acted upon, would be sin. Then, of all people, a non-believer started a conversation with me. A co-worker, actually. I am not entirely sure how the conversation started, but somehow I talked about a thought and how, if they are indulged in, are harmful, evil and just as bad as the deed. He then said something that floored me. “So if you think about giving someone a million dollars and don’t actually do it, is that the same as doing it? Do you get credit for that?” Wow… What an eye opener. I dare say, a light turned on bright. I chuckled, because it seems we are totally willing to accept and take credit for bad thoughts, we condemn ourselves, but we don’t ever think of taking credit for merely thinking good things, nor should we. We should neither condemn nor praise for thoughts and temptations in our thought life. One might even say, a temptation is only that, until a physical act occurs which is giving birth to sin.
I was curious what others had thought about it. I know, almost universally, most will disagree with my position because westernized Christianity has jumped onto the bandwagon that almost anything is a sin. But I am curious if you can justify the reasoning, and if you can’t, how much potential shame and false guilt exists in the lives of believers by having such convictions? I often wonder if some people are harder on themselves that Christ will ever be. Some people give more grace to everyone except themselves. I can’t remember what this is called, but there it is an OCD obsession. Ahh, yes Scrupulosity. Many religious people suffer from scrupulosity, and I dare say that is NOT the work of God.