555 Difficult Bible Questions Answered

420. Does a Truly Converted Person Have Evil Thoughts?

Thoughts of evil may enter the minds of even the most saintly. So long as we are in the body we are subject to temptation, and there can be no temptation without a thought of the evil that is suggested. Every time we hear or see or read of an evil word or act we have the thought of evil. These thoughts are stored in the brain, become items in the great storehouse of memory, and are apt to recur to us at any time. There can be no sin in a thought itself; it is only our feeling about the thought and our decision what to do with it that has any moral quality. When our hearts have been filled with love for God and love for people we find this love making us repel the evil thought and turn toward the good. It is helpful to remember that what makes a thing evil is that it will harm somebody. When we love people, we shall not want to harm them in body, mind or soul, and the thought of love will conquer and expel the thought of evil. It is in this sense that "love is the fulfilling of the law," and that "perfect love casteth out fear," as well as other sinful emotions. We may thus bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.