Smaller dams – upstream: Dealing with temptation

There was a great effort to build a giant dam just above a powerful waterfall.   However, the efforts had been in vain so far and two people had died and several had been injured.  Everyone was frustrated—and scared.

The chief engineer and the construction contractor stood on the shores of the raging river below the waterfall talking animatedly.

“You’ve got to make this work!” screamed the engineer.

“We’ve been trying!” replied the construction boss.  “I’ve got guys dying here.  Your plan isn’t working.”

Off by the shore of the river stood a very old Native American slowly shaking his head.  The engineer noticed him.

“So you think you’re so smart!” he yelled at the Native American.  “What would you do?”

The old Native American turned his head to face the men and said simply,  “Smaller dams, upstream.”

The engineer threw up his arms in disgust.  “What does he know?” he sputtered.

“Wait a minute,” said the construction man.  “I get it.  What if we constructed a bunch of smaller temporary dams all up and down the river upstream.  That would slow the flow of the water considerably and we’d be able to manage building the big dam here.  He’s right.”

Understanding dawned on the engineer.  “Good idea . . .” he muttered to the old Native American.  The man simply smiled and gazed back at the river.

Sometimes we exert tremendous effort to fight sexual temptation—or any kind of temptation–when it hits full force.  Sometimes we fail and then beat ourselves up over our failure.

The key is to build small dams UPSTREAM.

So BEFORE we are in the grasp of that temptation, stop it earlier.  When we first feel lonely or sad or stressed or depressed, build a DAM.  Stop and realize that those feelings can lead to temptation to sin.  STOP the thought process right there and substitute in a positive one.

And BEFORE we find ourselves in a compromising situation, build a DAM.  Stop and realize that you’re not in a good place.  MOVE, leave, turn off the computer, walk away, turn on the lights, whatever you need to do to change the environment.

And BEFORE we feel feelings of sin starting to enter our minds, build a DAM.  Take control of your thoughts.  STOP and insert good thoughts – read something good, sing something, look at beautiful art, just think clean, virtuous thoughts.

If we would pay attention to building dams upstream, that torrent of temptation would be much easier to tame.

Smaller dams, upstream.