In the midst of acknowledging the truth about our struggles and challenges and admitting the truth about the Lord, sometimes people confusedly think that temptation comes from the Lord. Yet, against this confusion, St. James writes, “God is not subject to temptation to evil, and he himself tempts no one.” (Jas 1:13) Rather, what comes to us from God is only good, in fact “all good giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.” (Jas 1:17) So what then is the truth about temptation?
The truth about temptation is not found denying temptation. Following the counsel of the Lord, we know we ought to avoid the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod. (Mk 8:15) This may describe the point of view of those who deny that they experience any temptation, and instead insist that their exercise of secular or religious authority is in no way influenced by any disorder in their hearts. That is the denial that puffs oneself up, rather than seeking to truly be built up by the Lord. So what is the truth about temptation
The Psalmist admits the truth: “My foot slips.” The truth about temptation that we are called to admit is that we experience it. Enticed or lured by our narrow desires to treat creatures as if they were the God who alone can fully satiate our longings, we are tempted. And yet in admitting that truth, the psalmist also admits the greater truth of God’s gift, “When I say, “My foot is slipping,”
your mercy, O LORD, sustains me;
When cares abound within me,
your comfort gladdens my soul.” (Ps 94:18-19)
May we with the psalmist be open and honest about our temptations, so that we may share with the psalmist in God’s mercy and consolation.