Thoughts are a powerful factor, either for good or evil, in our influence upon our fellow beings. Figuratively, we should do our thinking as much as possible in the sunshine. Thoughts which are not regarded as wicked or filthy may yet have a most pernicious effect. Discontented thoughts may make as much misery for him who harbors them, and for his neighbors, as thoughts which are viciously impure. I have never known it to be established beyond doubt that discontent had actually soured the milk in the cellar, but I have seen a great many things in the house decidedly turned by it. Content on the other hand, sweetens and brightens all within its reach. The cheerful look, the happy, winning smile, the loving word and the kindly deed may all be traced to contented thoughts. If we have occasion to speak or write to a friend or brother we should never begin and enumerate our trials, necessities and woes, or bewail our fate, merely for the sake of doing so; better to throw a wet blanket on him at once. Let us rather recount God's mercies and help our friends to do likewise. Then shall we and they be blest with happiness and contentment and glory redound, through our thanksgivings, to the Giver of all good.
It may be asked, Can we control our thoughts and keep them in the proper channel? Can we prevent evil thoughts from coming into our minds? Apropos to this, my mother used to tell me, "You cannot hinder the birds from flying around your head, but you need not allow them to build nests in your hair."
Paul, who kept his body under by the aid of a pure and vigorous mind, and by the spirit of grace, speaks of bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. We can keep our minds pure and free by constantly putting pure, clean food for reflection into them. As a sack filled with wheat has little room for chaff or other refuse, so the mind that is stored with good things cannot harbor evil thoughts.