Temptation: Who is immune? Who should be held accountable?
In the news today, another pastor has fallen to sexual harassment and misconduct. This is a theme becoming all too common in our society. Figures of prominence, who we look to as moral heads or father figures, who we perceive as seemingly incapable of doing wrong, are brought down, shamed, and shunned by society because of temptation. These people, seemingly moral compasses to mass society, are hit in an area where they are too weak, and they slip.
Who is to say they weren't tempted in other areas first (maybe many other areas) and flourished. Maybe they stood firm against temptation, until they were hit in a weak moment or in a weak spot, and then the devil pounced on them.
Although these figures garnish massive headlines, they are not unique. We are quick to cluck our tongues ("Tisk, tisk, tisk. They knew better."). In reality, however, they were just unfortunate enough to have their "dirty laundry" aired in such a public way, on such a public platform.
We live in a fallen world. If you read and believe the Bible, this is fact. Even if you don't read and believe the Bible, this is fact.
We hear of temptation many times in the bible. Jesus says to the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane, "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” In Capernaum He also preaches, "Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!" He even stipulated that we are to pray, "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one."
Paul wrote of temptation several times in his letters to the church in Corinth. "But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband." "No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it."
To Timothy, Paul wrote: "Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction." Is this not the same throughout the ages, including today!
Then there is, perhaps the most famous temptation of all: Eve. "When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it."
Even Jesus, Himself, was not immune to receiving temptation! We know the story. Jesus was lead by The Holy Spirit into the wilderness. He was starving and exhausted. At His most weak point, the devil came to Him. The devil preyed on His moment of weakness, and tried to use it to his evil advantage. Jesus was tempted; He was tempted to the point of breaking. Jesus was, however, able to stand strong, and He defeated the temptation. He went on to save us all through His steadfastness and His blood shed on the cross.
The point is: ALL OF US - EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US - IS TEMPTED AT ONE POINT OR ANOTHER. The temptation may be small - "Should I eat this second helping of food even though I'm really full?" - or it may be on a grand, public platform - "So-and-so was found unfaithful in their marriage."
Does this temptation make a person inherently bad? No, of course not. One moment of weakness does not define a life. We are so quick to condemn, chastise, and ruin a life over one moment in time. Maybe we should love them through this temptation, knowing we are all capable of falling to this sin of temptation.
I am most definitely NOT saying the sin of falling to this temptation is okay. Temptations can cause hurt and destruction. What I'm saying is, maybe we should try to love, forgive to the best of our ability, and gently guide the person who has fallen. Most likely, this person knows they have fallen, and they are crying for help. Can we help them through this painful time instead of throwing them away?
Show compassion and forgiveness instead of judging and pointing fingers. Know a wrong has been committed, but work through the hurt and pain to the other side.
The Bible speaks a lot about temptation, but it also speaks of forgiveness.
Lord, let us show this forgiveness and compassion to those in need. Let us overcome the hurt and possible shame so that we might be a light and strength to those who have had a moment of weakness. Remind us that we are not the cause, but we can be the help in this situation.
By: Amanda Marie, Director of Social Media Marketing