We know that they are wrong but somehow those evil thoughts just keep popping in our heads. One, it’s partly how we were raised in our society where everything is okay and vices are encouraged. People look at each other with lust and that, society tells us is good. We see what others have and we want it too, or even more or better. We are relying for external validation instead of the Holy Spirit that lives within us. Everywhere we are constantly being told that bad is good and that we can’t help those evil thoughts in our head because it’s just instinct.
“Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2
It’s not just instinct. It is a learned behavior – which is great news! Learned behaviors can be unlearned and replaced with other behaviors. We see this all the time. People want to quit smoking so they start taking walks on what was once their smoke break. People want to quit drinking too much soda and so they substitute carbonated water. Just as easily as people can be trained in one way they can be untrained the same way.
“Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8
Not quite as simple as that but nearly. Every time an evil thought comes into your head, immediately replace that thought with something pure and good. Think up something ahead of time and have it ready.
If you look at someone with lust in your heart, ask yourself what is their favorite color. This, one, makes you think intellectually and not emotionally and, two, it reminds you that they are a person not an object.
If you have a habit of thinking the flippant internet taunt of “Oh, just kill yourself.” Picture when you think it, what if this person was my best friend, my father, my grandma that someone said this too. Whether it is just in your head or on the keyboard – there is a real living soul on the other end of that thought. Remind yourself of it.
All evil thoughts are like all sins. They are selfish. If we strive to always remember that people are real, that they are all beloved of God, and have a soul; it is far easier to relearn those evil thoughts and turn them to good ones.
Peace be with you.