The Last Temptation of Me

Don’t let anyone under pressure to give in to evil say, “God is trying to trip me up.” God is impervious to evil, and puts evil in no one’s way. The temptation to give in to evil comes from us and only us. We have no one to blame but the leering, seducing flare-up of our own lust. Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby: sin! Sin grows up to adulthood, and becomes a real killer. [James 1:13-15]

Here are a few sayings that mess with your head every time, “God is tempting me” and “There but for the grace of God, go I.” Both assume something the Divine is not. The Divine is not setting you up for failure, and the Divine gives everyone the same grace. What both those saying do is take the blame off us, and place it on the Divine.

There but for the grace of God, go I: When was the last time you used this one? Maybe when you saw a very poor person walking down the street? You looked at them, and said, “There but for the grace…” When you did, you took the responsibility of another human off your shoulders, and placed it one the Divine. You basically said, “Because I have more, God must have put on me so much grace, and since this person has so little, God must not like them as much as me. God put them in this horrid position, who am I to help them out of it?”

God is tempting me: Why? Why would the Divine tempt you? In today’s reading we read James telling us that the Divine never tempts, the Divine never tests.

Both those situations are on us, and not on the Divine.

James puts it in a rather strong, direct way – and sometimes we don’t like strong, direct ways so we try hard to just gloss over his words, “We have no one to blame but the leering, seducing flare-up of our own lust. Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby: sin! Sin grows up to adulthood, and becomes a real killer.” While we are quick to place all this on “Them” we need to remember our part, and we need to remember that this lust, this greed, is alive in us – so when we don’t what to help, it is not that we can’t, it is that we don’t want to give-up anything we have and give it to another – it’s all mine.