Another quote from “The Imitation of Christ”, this time on coping with temptation.
“Resist at the beginning; the remedy may come too late. For first there comes into the mind an evil thought: next a vivid picture: then delight, and urge to evil, and finally consent. In this way the Enemy gradually gains complete mastery, when he is not resisted at first. And the longer a slothful man delays resistance, the weaker he becomes, and the stronger his enemy grows against him” (Ch 13, p41)
I wonder how much our personal morality might be affected if we cut off the temptation at source. It is the dwelling on it that makes it more attractive as we try to rationalise it away, and makes the giving in so much easier. This, I think, is the thinking behind Jesus’ statements in the Sermon on the Mount when he says “If an eye causes you to sin, pluck it out”