Good Thoughts vs Bad Thoughts

It is said that faith and good intentions alone do not suffice, that they must be followed by good works in order for them to count.

Why, then, can having bad thoughts or bad intentions toward someone, yet with no.intention of ever doing anything and followed by no action or bad works still count as being sinful?

It seems as though sometimes a person isnt even safe within their own mind.


There can be “sins of thought” without any intention to carry them to external act or actual external act.

(though* distinguish* too - “temptations” or even simply "unwanted thoughts --that is-some thought that happens we do not consent to when we realize it is wrong…)

Or yes “bad intentions” that too (as opposed again to some temptation)


1853 Sins can be distinguished according to their objects, as can every human act; or according to the virtues they oppose, by excess or defect; or according to the commandments they violate. They can also be classed according to whether they concern God, neighbor, or oneself; they can be divided into spiritual and carnal sins, or again as sins in thought, word, deed, or omission. The root of sin is in the heart of man, in his free will, according to the teaching of the Lord: "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a man."128 But in the heart also resides charity, the source of the good and pure works, which sin wounds.

128 Mt 15:19-20.

Sin as stated is any offense against the lo Commandments. They vary in degree, mortal and venial, there are also faults, uncharitablness, impatience, etc. Jesus said that any one who consents in his mind to lust has already committed the act. The consent to the pleasure of lust mentally is a serious sin. Many lustful ideas go through our minds even at Mass. We can’t control that, but every time they do and we don’t consent to them, and cease to dwell on them, we actually merit grace. Remember the devil can effect our imagination. So do Holy Angels. Discern between the two. We sometimes find ourselves fantasizing, as soon as we are conscious of it, we must stop. Its no sin. Fill our minds with good thoughts from good sources, lives of Saints, the Bible, and even nature. We draw from our minds what we place there, good quality things.

I think bad thoughts toward someone is really unforgiveness one has. “…in my thoughts and in my words” tells us of our sorrow of having bad thoughts toward others. We probably justify our bad thoughts toward others because its only what we think. But I would say that it harms our relationship with God.

Amen brother: I found that if we try to understand the influences that affect us and our neighbor we can actually arrive at a forgiving attitude toward ourselves and others. I used to judge people by their actions. If I saw them doing what I knew was immoral then I might get angry at them in my mind. The Good Lord showed me that they weren’t completely responsible for their acts, no matter how serious they appeared. If that person had not experience conversion to Christianity they were handicapped. This is what Jesus came to redeem us from. Sin has affected all . We are born in sin. Without the redeem grace that comes from Jesus, we are handicapped. I did an injustice to them. taking my Faith in Jesus for granted and expected others to be like myself believing in Jesus. Many don’t, so how could they not do immoral things., they don’t have the strength to resist the grip that Satan has on the unconverted world. We can empathize, and sympathize with them because we ourselves are affected just like them and its only by the grace of God that we can make it. Even good people are subject to faults and expose themselves to the judgement of others. When a person has some serious fault, others don’t realize these faults are not intentional and are “accidental” but they are judged as intentional. Jesus says we must not judge, but we can discern to see what spirits are involved.

When I have those unwanted bad thoughts, how exactly do you get them out of your mind fast enough to stop it being a sin?
Somebody says that if you dwell on the thought then it becomes a sin, well what if you’re trying so hard to not think about it, you end up thinking about it even more.

Sin involves -the will. Consent.

An unwanted thought can fly as fast as it wants across your mind – and there be no sin.

The mere fact that a thought comes to one -or returns-- or continues to bother you --does not mean one has sinned per se in any way.

All sorts of thoughts can happen to us out of the blue…

the fact that a though happened to one- does not mean per se there was any sin.

And for mortal sin one needs not only grave matter, but full knowledge and deliberate (complete) consent…

(Anyone can have difficulty at times with such unwanted thoughts --in temptation etc. And they are not a new thing. Though some need some medical/professional assistance in this area…such as medication etc due to their particular difficulty with thoughts)

For the next few moments --try real hard NOT to think of Apple.

then scroll down.

What did you think of?

An apple.

Even though your will was against it -you did not want to think of an apple.

The best thing to do with such thoughts is not to so much fight them directly but more indirectly --and not fear that they will come…simply if they come do not consent and simply and* calmly* turn to something else…(or it may be best to keep doing the good thing one is doing…like they come out of the blue when your at work …keep working …etc)

As one Carthusian in15th Century -wrote --to the effect:

~Ignore those thoughts like one would ignore a hissing goose or a barking dog. One does not stop to argue with a hissing goose or a barking dog does one? No - one keeps on walking…and at most laughs at them… ~

Obsessive thoughts or obsessions are thoughts that haunt us. Because of concupiscence, a leaning toward the sensual, which makes us susceptible to sins of the flesh (an effect of original sin) these thoughts are ever present in our lives. The late St.Padre Pio stated that this concupiscence always was present . So first accept this fact that we all have this struggle perhaps all our lives. This leaning towards the sensual is not a sin. When these obsessions occur and are associated with feelings then we are in danger of sinning. We must do all in our power to distract our minds by diverting our attention to something outside ourselves (get out of our own mind set, obsession. We can tell the devil to go back to where he came from in the Name of Jesus, and do something physical to dispel the physical tensions that exist in us at the time. Do something interesting to you, music, work, physical expenditure of energy in a wholesome way. Do not be spiritually lazy, spiritual sloth, use every available means of grace. Read the Bible, lives of the Saints, much more interesting the the “Life of Harry Potter” Truth is stranger and more interesting than fiction. The supernatural lives of the Saints is more interesting than the fictitious magical life of Harry Potter for example. Jesus said that if one could not contain himself that it was better to marry, not to alleviate his passions but to direct his passions as God intended, as a means of grace and salvation. Know thy self and your weakness. We are all weak and we need Jesus, and to love Him. If we rely on His love for us He will resolve our problems… I remember a story about (I think) St. Catherine of Sienna. The devil appeared to her in the form of two people copulating. She cried out to Jesus to help her. ( one knows what this scene can do to feelings and how we can feel being part of the scene) The scene continued and she kept crying for help. The scene disappeared finally. Then Jesus appeared and she said " Where were You when I needed You, and Jesus said, I was here all of the time, I was in your will. He gave her the strength to resist even though her feeling were intense. Praise God. We by the power of the Holy Spirit become spiritually strong where our minds are given the power of self control that Adam and Eve lost by sin. Our reason by grace becomes strong to control our passions. This weakness may cause us to fall, we are human, but get up again, be reinstated in grace. Every time we fall and get up again we become stronger, Satan sees this, and he will back off, but he will strike again when he sees that we let our guard down. Don’t let your guard down, and get reinforcement from Communion, Satan fear this the most, because He knows the presence of God is in you. May the love of Jesus be your strength

Forgive me Bood Angel I addressed you as if you were Catholic, so you couldn’t avail yourself of some of the means of grace, but I will pray that God moves you to the Truth.

A couple of things that I have found that often help me are:

  1. Changing the thought to something good–if it’s a bad thought about someone else, I may pray for the person, or if I’m having thoughts of revenge, I might think about something nice I could do for someone instead (perhaps even for that person). Or, as someone else said, try thinking of something else entirely, such as work or a hobby you enjoy. Sort of like “changing the subject” in your mind. :wink:

  2. Prayer! Make the sign of the cross and ask Jesus for His protection. Pray to St. Michael, pray to your Guardian Angel, pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary or to Saint Benedict (patron saint against temptations), or ask the Holy Spirit to help you. Or, if necessary, all of the above!

*St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here, ever this day, be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.*

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