“Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?” – Matthew 9:4
When the Lord found it right to reprimand the Pharisees and Scribes, they had not at that time killed or deceived or robbed anyone. Not only that; at that time they had offended no one, even by words.
Why, then, did He upbraid them, when they had committed no offense either in deed or word?
This is another of those great tidings that Christ brings to the world. It is precisely evil thoughts that are the origin of all sin, for, before a man speaks or acts sinfully, he thinks sinfully.
Thought is the causative sin; other sins are only resultant sins.
He who wishes to exterminate the latter must uproot the former. He who wishes to stop a flow of water must first drain the source.
Let no one, then, justify himself by saying: “I am not a sinner, for I have never killed nor robbed nor profaned nor lied.”
For lo, we are full of murderous, plundering, blasphemous and deceitful thoughts. If we have not sinned in deed, that is simply a matter of the mercy of God and external circumstance. Had God slackened His hold and the opportunity presented itself, we would have committed all the sins that were in our thoughts.
A snake is not poisonous only when it bites, but also when it does not bite; it carries the poison in itself.
So not only is the thought evil; it is the source of sin, the beginning of sin, the seed and root of sin. This is why the all-seeing and all-knowing Lord thus reprimanded those who thought evil:
“Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?”
O all-seeing and all-knowing Lord, help us to cleanse our hearts and minds from evil thoughts, that so our words and deeds may be pure.
To Thee be glory and praise forever.
– Homily on the most discerning prophet