Lead us not into temptation

I’ve seen ongoing discussion about this concept of God leading us into temptation. Apparently the Italian Bishops are rewording this part of the Our Father to be something like “do not let us fall/be abandoned to temptation” and received approval from the Pope.

It does seem just a bit cruel to imply that a loving God might lead us into a path which could result in our demise.

Yet.

We find in the Gospel of Matthew:

Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

Matthew 4:1

Isn’t this saying that Jesus needed to be tempted, as a path to His eventual glorification? The subsequent three temptations we see as His power over evil. Denials which we are to emulate.

So maybe … maybe … there’s triumph in being faced by temptation. Maybe it’s for the good of our souls, even thought we’d rather not have to face it.

When I was teaching our kids how to drive, one of MY challenges was to figure out how much guidance to give them. Errors in judgment were inevitable, but if I protected them too much, they wouldn’t learn how to navigate this complex and dangerous new world.

My challenge was to let them actually make some mistakes, and experience the consequences, so they would learn much more deeply. But to do this in a way where they weren’t placing themselves or others in mortal danger.

It’s one of the most difficult things I’ve done as a parent. It can be terrifying.

So I’m wondering today whether God might actually lead me to the brink of temptation. My prayer is that He then gives me the strength and courage to walk away from it, and to form a life which is more aligned with what He wants for me.

God loves me, but part of that love might be for me to experience tough lessons.

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