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July 7, 2021

The Scary Places Our Thoughts Can Lead Us

Thought Life: Part 3


Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. -Philippians 4:8


As far as I’m aware, I only know one convicted murderer.  We went to church together in Dallas.  His name is Bill, and he’s currently serving a life sentence in a Texas State Penitentiary for shooting his wife.  And yes, it was premeditated.  Very much so. 


I’ve reflected on Bill’s sad story many times over the years.  His decision to shoot his wife began with a simple thought. Where did it come from?!?  I wonder if he dismissed it the first time.  How long did it take before he started seriously considering the idea?  Eventually he committed to the decision and it led to an elaborate plan to murder his wife.*


These were obviously not “Plan A” thoughts, and clearly fall into the “Plan B” category.  [For more on this read last week’s post.]


It wasn’t just one thought that led to Bill pulling the trigger.  It was a series of thoughts, repeated frequently, until they very tragically led to him shooting his wife.  He could have stopped that thought train at any time.  He spent hours thinking things through and fantasizing about the outcome as he formulated his plan—with his wife out of the picture he could marry the woman he was having an affair with. 


There were so many things Bill could have done to prevent that fateful day from happening.  But he was committed to his plan, born from a single thought, that he allowed to grow until it resulted in an irreversible tragedy.


Consider the following quote, recently shared by a friend:


“Watch your thoughts, they become words; watch your words, they become actions; watch your actions, they become habits; watch your habits, they become character; watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”


Yes, murder is an extreme example. 


But ask yourself, have you allowed your thoughts to take you down a dark and scary road?  Or to a negative place that taints your outlook on life and robs you of joy?  Is it time to get off that thought train before it picks up more speed?  Are your thoughts leading you to better habits and actions?  Are they shaping your character for the better?


I’ll close with the words of the Apostle Paul, who admonishes his readers in 2 Corinthians 10:5 “to take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”  We must do the same.


Next week’s post won’t be so gloomy as we look at the beautiful places our thoughts can lead us.   



*Bill was a cyclist and on a long group ride he left the group long enough to circle back to his house.  He had a pistol hidden in his jersey.  He broke in through a window to make it look like a burglar and then shot his wife as she looked directly at him. [He’s haunted by her look of fear, shock and disbelief.] He got back on his bike and rejoined the group after hiding his gun in a drainage ditch.  He came home after the ride to “discover” his wife dead on the floor.  He called 911. 


That was his plan and it obviously was not a perfect one.  He’s currently serving a life sentence in prison.  It was clearly premeditated, which means he had many opportunities to bail on his murderous scheme.  I’m sure he thinks about that every day of his life. 




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