Walking on the Fence

The near occasion of vice is the “Fence” which divides us between the Land of Life (Virtue) and the Desert of Death (Vice). And this is no literary exaggeration.

Many people often walk on top of this fence without even knowing it. Some are completely innocent, the un-awakened by vice, temptation bites them, they lose their balance and fall headlong into the Desert of Death. Even the best intended are susceptible because we humans have lost our equilibrium. We all have an inclination towards vice. Because of this, being up on that fence is a dangerous place for us. Many of us have such a poor sense of balance (weak wills) that not only can we fall due to weakness, sometimes we choose to deliberately jump in.

If a meteor comes too close to the earth, it is pulled into the planet’s gravity and ultimately destroyed as it burns up in the atmosphere. So too, many people have no intention of succumbing to vice; but by putting themselves near beguiling situations, they are pulled in as the gravity of temptation is too strong to resist.

We fail, we feel remorse, we repent… but then we do nothing to rectify the lifestyle or situations which got us into trouble in the first place. Within no time, we leave the sure paths of Virtue, and climb right back up on the Fence of Temptation. We say to ourselves, “I can handle this!” But then we become mesmerized by the glamour of vice, we lose our balance because of our weakness, and fall headfirst into the very place we swore we never would go again. We find ourselves broken and guilt-ridden. We kick ourselves in the butt for being so weak.

We must uproot those things which bring us into the near occasion of vice. We simply have to stay further away from the fence. Get away from it. We still have affections toward our inclination for vice, whether we admit it or not. We even make matters worse by creating the false illusion that we are stronger than we really are. We mistakenly believe that we can approach the fence because we are strong. We are wrong.

If watching TV draws you into sin, leave it off. If you can’t leave it off, call the satellite company and cut it off. Same with the computer. If you have serious problems with pornography or online gambling etc., move your computer to a visible place. Or if that is no solution, get rid of it. Yes, get rid of the computer. If you have a group of friends who lead you into sinful activities, then politely get out of that group. Don’t let yourself be led astray: Bad company corrupts good morals. Avoid shopping for groceries when you are hungry. Shop with a list, rather than compulsively. Walk a different route to work to avoid lustful images. Anticipate inflammatory words from antagonists, and avoid drawing them out. Reduce your credit card limit, or cut up the card altogether. Don’t keep alcohol in your house if you can’t control drinking. Avoid idle, silly, and risqué conversation. Avoid gossip, including that in entertainment magazines and radio and television talk shows. Speak only when necessary—listen more.

Order and discipline your day as much as possible to avoid compulsiveness.

These are all ways in which we can avoid the near occasion of sin. These are all ways that will help you stay off the “Fence” between Virtue and Vice.