Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Thoughts that Unnerve you

Do you ever have thoughts that unnerve you? Thoughts that seem to jump out of nowhere and shake you to your core? Not necessarily thoughts that you struggle with or areas where you know you have issues, but thoughts that T-bone you like crossing the train track too late?

Are they thoughts about your spouse? Thoughts about your job? Your kid? Your new car? Your God?

I get those thoughts sometimes. Often my head will physically jerk to clear my mind. It's hard to keep from judging myself for them. I mean seriously, where did that come from?

When we deal with the issue of those unnerving thoughts we must remember a few things. First, tiredness, stress, and sickness will make you more susceptible. Second, these thoughts should be viewed like a temptation. Temptation itself is not a sin, all men are tempted (1 Cor 10:13), but what you do with that thought matters. Do you dwell on it? Maybe roll it around in your mind for a while? Third, it shows you the true wickedness of your heart. Ecclesiastes 9:3b says Also, the hearts of the children of man are full of evil and madness is in their hearts while they live... This passage is not differentiating you from the bad people, it's putting you both in the same category. That thought is real. Unnerving thoughts are little snapshots of what you are truly capable of.

When you judge others for their actions, remember that it is by the grace of God you are not there yourself. Remember that the ground is level at the foot of the cross. We are are equally condemned, and those of us that are saved are equally so. How great is our God that he saves us from ourselves!


  1. I get these thoughts, too, but we're both in good company. The Desert Fathers and monks of Mt. Athos got these kinds of thoughts all the time and called them "logismoi". Some come from inside and reveal the inner darkness of the heart, but many come from outside, from the Evil One, and are meant to distract us from prayer. It doesn't matter how ridiculous a thought is, if we stop praying to mentally argue with it or react in horror-- the devil wins. Eastern Christians have one response to any thoughts like this, to continue praying, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner". We must not be distracted from the command to 'pray without ceasing'. No books or apologetics-- which the Early Church wrote for outsiders, not Christians-- can take the place of this. Take care, Zach.


  2. Interesting! I had never read anything where this type of stuff was dealt with. Thanks Matt.