Door chains. They give the appearance of security, but do they really help? Experts will tell you that door chains cannot be tampered with from the outside, but once the door is opened, the chain will do little to deter entry from a determined intruder. The best one can say is that they "provide some measure of evidence of forced entry" after the fact.
In other words, use the chain when your only goal is to keep a wandering child or elderly loved one from getting out, but forget about it if your goal is security.
Like a hostile intruder, temptation is best kept at bay if we never open the door to it. Thomas à Kempis said it this way:
We will do better in dealing with temptations if we keep an eye on them in the very beginning. Temptations are more easily overcome if they are never allowed to enter our minds. Meet them at the door as soon as they knock, and do not let them in. One simple thought can enter the mind and start the process.
The process works like this. First, the thought is allowed to enter into our minds. Second, the imagination is sparked by the thought. Third, we feel a sense of pleasure at the fantasy, and we entertain it. Fourth and finally, we engage in the evil action, assenting to its urges. This is how, little by little, temptations gain entrance and overcome us if they are not resisted at the beginning the door!. The longer we let them overcome us, the weaker we become, and the stronger the enemy against us.
Too many of us have opened that door, thinking the chain of our own "self-control" offered some measure of saftey, only to succumb to the intrusion, our damaged, broken lives--like a dangling, broken chain--left as evidence of sin's intrusion after the fact.
Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471) was an Augustinian monk and contemplative who achieved great impact on generations to come by his consummate life's work, the editing of Groote's diary, THE IMITATION OF CHRIST.