Monday, March 5, 2012

Christ's Temptations versus My Own

This being Lent, I have been thinking, off and on, about Christ's temptations while in the wilderness. His temptations were very great; mine are small compared to his. But he was the Son of God and so that makes sense.

Not only are my temptations smaller but they are not always easy to identify. I can go through a whole day and not realize how many times I have been tempted and how many times I have given in. I'd love to say that I've resisted them all, but now that I look at the matter, that is not so.

For example, there is the temptation to "fit in" with friends and neighbors by simply sharing stories about others. Now, I try never to repeat a story that is a blatant lie. However, there are many times when each of us hears something about someone we know. That news might be partly true but greatly exaggerated. Sharing that still helps spread a partially-untrue story about someone. I must learn to recognize that type of thing in time. I must keep my ears open but my mouth shut when that happens.

Another thing is the temptation to turn down a request to help another person. If I truly cannot help, that is one matter. However, if I know in my heart that it is no big deal, just a minor inconvenience, then I must learn to resist the temptation to find an excuse not to help.

There are tons of examples like these every day.

There are times when my doing something will give bad example to others, for instance.

And there are times when I am tempted to spend on something that I do not need but which I simply want. Right now, finances are tight. Even giving in to a simple order from McDonald's while running errands, would be wrong. Oh, I know some well-meaning friends might say it's no big deal to spend $1.72 for a breakfast burrito and a senior decaf, but that money, right now, would buy a loaf of bread, or half a gallon of milk, or two cans of tuna.

I honestly believe that each of us knows in our heart what our biggest temptations are. We know which of those are hardest to resist.

This Lenten season, I need to try to overcome the urge to give in to at least one or two of my habitual temptations. I know in my heart that I would feel so much better if I did so.

Sweet Lord Jesus, you understand so well what it feels like to face worldly temptations. I am nowhere near as pure in heart as you are, and so I need your help in resisting some of my earthly temptations.

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