Emerson said, “The thought is ancestor to the deed.”
In a certain state, a family had operated the bank in a small town through three generations, and the family had an honored name. Then came the great depression, and the young banker, who had been financially overextended, was hard pressed for money.
One night, all alone in the bank, the thought came to him that falsifying the books offered a way out. He resolutely put the thought out of his mind, but it returned again and again, the resistance becoming less vigorous until, one night, his hand finally performed the deed with which his mind had dallied.1
James 1:14, 15, “Temptation is the pull of man’s own evil thoughts and wishes. Then, the evil thoughts lead to evil actions” (TLB). “Think of evil,” said William James, “down among the nerve cells and fibers, the molecules are registering it, storing it up against us when the next temptation comes.”2
Parable of the Fish
Said the hook to the struggling fish, “I am very sharp.” Said the poor captive fish,
“I know that, but too well. But let me tell you, it was not owing so much to your sharpness that I am captured, as to the bit of bait by which I was tempted.”
Said the hook, exultingly, “It is the way all hooks succeed. There must be trickery in order to have deadly decoy. Had you seen my point, and been aware of the danger, you should have wisely kept out of the way instead of so readily swallowing the worm.”3
“Temptation is a fearful word.
It indicates the beginning of a possible series of infinite evils. It is the ringing of the alarm bell, whose melancholy sounds may reverberate through eternity. Like the sudden sharp cry of ‘Fire!’ under our windows by night, it should arouse us to instantaneous action, and brace every muscle to its highest tension” (Horace Mann).4
© 2016 D & L Publications, All rights reserved
- Norman Vincent Peale, You Can Win, Garden City Books, Garden City, NY, Copyright 1938, pp. 41, 42
- Robert G. Lee, Sourcebook of 500 Illustrations, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI, Copyright 1964, p. 188
- Adult Teacher Supplement, 1966, Third Quarter, Gospel Publishing House, Springfield, MO, Copyright 1966, p. 22