There is a nasty trap of the devil I fall into much too often—it is the trap of believing that my life of faith is so much more about what I say and do rather than about what I think. I'm tempted to believe that if it’s sinful thoughts and not sinful actions, it’s not nearly as bad.
Jesus Christ makes it very clear in today’s Gospel: either you’re with Him or you’re not; there is no wishy-washy, lukewarm middle ground. As He stands before these people, Scripture also says, “He knew their thoughts . . .” (Luke 11:17) These two themes are intertwined very closely in my life.
One of the ways I am most often found to be against God is in my thoughts. I believe the lie that sinful thoughts are not as bad as sinful actions, and so I live that wishy-washy, middle ground. Today’s Gospel causes me to pause and reflect on the interconnectedness of these two in my life as I work toward being with God in all that I do. Do I think the best of people or the worst of people? Do I have more thoughts of charity towards others or thoughts of malice? Do I consistently fester in envy of the successes and blessings of other women? Do I dwell on worry or dwell in hope and trust? Lustful thoughts, prideful thoughts, angry thoughts . . . when we let these kinds of thoughts dominate our minds, we let the devil reign.
Satan loves when our thoughts are consumed by fear. He thrives when our thoughts are so obsessively self-absorbed with our own struggles, complaints, wants, and needs that we barely take a moment in a day to consider those of our neighbor. He rejoices when we tear other women down in our thinking, because when we let him dominate our thoughts, we are not with God at all.
God stands before us, just as He did with those in the Gospel, and He knows every thought of charity, of peace, of kindness. He knows every thought of jealousy, of contempt, and of judgment. If I want to be with God, I must learn to take control of my thoughts—to stop immediately when my thoughts turn sinful. When I feel these thoughts creeping in on me, I stop my thoughts and allow God to reign with that one simple prayer:
Jesus, I trust in you.
If we wish to be with Christ, we must be with Him completely—in our every action, our every word, and in our every thought.
Emily Wilson-Hussem planned her whole life to become a sports reporter but turned out to be a Catholic musician and speaker at the hand of God. She lives out of her suitcase and travels across the world speaking to people of all ages. The heart of her ministry is offering encouragement to teen girls in search of their true identity, and she loves ever second of it. She is the author of I Choose the Sky. You can find out more about her here.