Q. Does God forgive for evil thoughts they we may have from time to time? Sometimes I feel so guilty because I feel like I can’t control my thinking sometimes. And if there was something bad I thought about someone else, when I’m around that person I feel so guilty if I want to throw myself at the mercy of that person even though they don’t know I may have had thoughts. Does God forgive me for these things? How can I control my guilt that burdens me often? I know guilt and faith cannot abide at the same time, but is it that the bad things I’ve thought I must continue to feel guilty about those things. What does God want me to do with the thoughts and the guilt?
“To think bad thoughts is really the easiest thing in the world. If you leave your mind to itself it will spiral down into ever-increasing unhappiness. To think good thoughts, however, requires effort. This is one of the things that discipline – training – is about.” – James Clavell, in his novel “Shogun”
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.”
“For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.”
It is really not possible to answer this question for you, or anyone else completely without knowing something about your physical health. If you are ill, or if you are taking medications you may lack the capacity to control your thoughts.
Nearly everyone recognizes that when they have a cold or the flu they do not function mentally as efficiently as they do when they are well. The same is certainly true of people suffering from more serious illnesses.
Medications can often effect the way we think and feel. If you are taking medications, or are ill and have these thoughts you should talk to your Doctor.
It is also not possible for me to address this question without knowing something about what you allow your mind to dwell on. If you listen to rap music all day and spend hours in front of a Television set, I can guarantee you that your mind will be full of evil thoughts. If the reading material you choose is ungodly, your thoughts will be ungodly.
I often find that my attitude about the condition of the world is adversely effected by the amount of Network News I have been exposed to.
A normal, healthy person has the capacity to determine what he or she will allow his or her mind to dwell on.
If you are a Christian, you have several advantages over others with regard to mind control.
First of all, you can know for certain that God loves you and cares about your struggles to think and do what is right. He is the one who provides the Christian with the POWER to overcome:
18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might
20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,
21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.
This passage tells us that God wants us:
1. To be strengthened in our inner person.
2. That by our faith we let Christ live in our hearts every minute of our lives.
3. That we are rooted and grounded so deeply in love that we are unshakable.
4. That we become fully aware of the complete work of God in Christ and the kingdom.
5. That our lives, our hearts, and our minds be filled with God’s fullness.
9 ¶ And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment,
10 so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ;
11 having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
Here were learn that God’s will for us is to:
1. Have a growing love that becomes the foundation of our knowledge and our ability to make wise decisions.
2. That we approve of things that are spiritually excellent.
3. That we become genuine and without blame when Christ returns.
4. That our lives be filled with the fruits of righteousness.
5. That our existence give praise and glory to God every day that we live.
Therefore, when we STRUGGLE with the difficulties of life, and we overcome them, we become stronger. Any experience in life that leads us closer to God, that deepens our ability to trust God, that causes us to rely on God brings blessings so unique, so powerful that is hard to express them with words.
Secondly, know for certain that you can find a solution to your difficulties when you look to God:
1 Cor. 10:13
“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”
This is NOT a promise that is given to all people. This is a promise given only to the Christian. You can know when you are in the midst of temptation that you can overcome BECAUSE God knows what you are going through and he has provided the way for you to overcome.
It’s not the thought that is sin, it is the dwelling on it, or the acting upon it that becomes sin.
13 ¶ Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.
14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.
15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.
Bad thought are like the rain. It comes and it goes. When it rains what you need is an umbrella, something to shield you from the rain. For the Christian, the umbrella is the Word of God. In the rain, if you fail to use your umbrella you get wet. For the Christian, when bad thoughts come, you must turn to the Word of God.
“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
21 Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.
22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.
23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror;
24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.
25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.
Therefore, the secret to controlling your thoughts is to make certain that you direct your thoughts back to the Word of God. When bad thoughts surface ask yourself:
1. Would God be glorified by this thought?
2. Will this thought help me to be a better person?
3. Would I want God reading my mind at this moment?
If the answer is “NO” to these questions, here is what you should do. Open you Bible to Philippians
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!
5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Pray and meditate on God’s Word. Memorize this passage and recite it when bad thoughts surface.
Will God forgive?
1 Jn. 1:9
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Confess and pray to God for forgiveness. As you do as His Word instructs your guilt will turn to peace.