In Romans chapter 1, the apostle Paul describes the spiritual and moral downfall of the human race. It began with the rejection of God and centers on the wicked imaginations of the heart. “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (Ro. 1:21). The result was idolatry and moral perversion (Ro. 1:23-28). The downward path centers on “vile affections” and “a reprobate mind” (Ro. 1:26, 28). These are the product of allowing the mind to dwell upon filthy and wicked things. When a person allows his mind to dwell upon evil, allows himself to entertain and pursue evil in the imagination, he opens the door to every evil thing. FBI profiler Robert Kessler, who has studied many serial killers, says, “My research convinced me that the key was not the early trauma but the development of perverse thought patterns. These men were motivated to murder by their fantasies. ‘It is a development,’ one killer reported, ‘Getting tired of a certain level of fantasy and then going even further and even more bizarre.’ All the murderers that we interviewed had compelling fantasies; they murdered to make happen in the real world what they had seen over and over again in their minds since childhood and adolescence. As adolescents, instead of developing normal peer-related interests and activities, where they couldn’t completely control what went on, the murderers retreated into sexually violent fantasies, where they could, in effect, control their world” (Kessler, Whoever Fights Monsters, p. 110). This is a very loud warning in the internet age and the video game age, when every type of vile imagination is available at the click of a mouse or the swipe of a finger. We cannot control what comes into the mind, but we can control what we willfully put into our minds, and we can control what we allow the mind to dwell upon. It has been said, “You cannot keep a bird from lighting on your head, but you can keep him from building a nest there.” It is far better to be too careful than not careful enough.
(Friday Church News Notes, March 12, 2021, www.wayoflife.org, email@example.com, 866-295-4143)