(from previous post of mine)
Regarding unwanted thoughts
While Jesus makes it clear that one can sin in ones thoughts…just because some lustful thought or other like thought happens does not mean that one has sinned…
What should we do with unwanted sexual thoughts or other “bad thoughts”? Those pesky temptations that can come …even though we are not seeking them or doing anything wrong to bring them etc…
What about mortal sin?
For a mortal sin one needs a grave matter …full knowledge AND deliberate consent!!!
Deliberate consent…full consent needs be given in order to commit a mortal sin.
A. If you do not want the thought…it the thought displeases you: such can be a sign actually that you did not give any consent or do not give full consent.
B. Even if you felt a temptation for the thought – and were drawn to it involuntarily —but rejected it and maybe even turned right to God : again a sign not full consent (if there was any).
C. A temptation can even be very strong or the thoughts very often – but this does NOT mean one has consented!
Remember --for it to be mortal there must be that deliberate consent! Complete consent
What to do? on the spiritual side–relax first of all and remember the above.
Next – know that the more one fears the thoughts the more likely they are to come… or said another way --the more a person stress about seeking to avoid the thoughts the more likely he will have a problem with them.
for example: for the next 10 seconds try NOT to think of an apple.
tick tock …
Ok what did you think of?
Most likely an apple.
So it is best to ignore them and just not consent and then turn your attention to some other good thing…for instance whatever good you are doing.
Simply do not consent and move on…
Another point – thoughts can just happen --they are the stuff with which we think…it is up to us to consent and take them further or not. And just because they return or almost “think themselves” does not mean per se that one has given ANY consent.
They can be annoying…but need cause no actual harm …
Now difficulties with thoughts can happen to anyone…and has for centuries…nothing new!..but I will note too that “some” have a condition known as OCD (I knew someone with this once…it was a painful experience)…and thus should seek further professional help to live a more peaceful life…(they can experience ego-distonic thoughts that feel like they force their way in -rather unwanted painful thoughts…)
Also some suffer from scrupulosity and ought to have a regular confessor.
(he can direct one in “acting against scruples”).
There is a story from the desert of the early Centuries of the Church where a younger hermit when to an older one with the problems of thoughts happening to him all the time…the older hermit told him to go outside open his cloak and catch the wind.
The younger hermit said such is not possible…
the older hermit replied --neither is it possible to stop all the thoughts that can come to you…your choice… is say yes or no.
(and best to say “no” – by turning to something else)