I’ve been thinking about different kinds of temptation lately – and something just struck me about the whole category of “mental” sins. When I say mental sins I am distinguishing them from those obvious and tangible sins like murder, rape, theft, adultery . . . although of course we do know that those things launched their careers as the purely mental sins of hatred, lust, or greed. Right now I’m talking about the sins that come to roost in your head like discontent, moping, anger, self-pity, or the inability to forgive – basically those sins that, one way or another, interfere with joy.
They seem to always be provoked by an external trial of some sort – and that trial can be big or small, real or imagined. Maybe your house is too small, or your husband isn’t a spiritual leader, you don’t have a husband and wish you did, your best friend turned sour on you, your kids colored on the couch, you don’t have money to pay the bills, you were abused, or you are struggling with a crippling illness. Whatever it is, whether it is a genuine trial or just an imagined trial that could be filed under the category of first world problems (you don’t have very many followers on Instagram), the point is that this is the moment at which the temptation sprouts.
But here’s what I’ve noticed – there are always two things in play. The objective trial is one thing – the temptation to sin about it is another. But temptation is a master of disguise, and what it usually does is pretend to be the trial itself. I think that falling for this little ruse can often be why we struggle with something that just seems unconquerable – we’re looking at and fighting against the wrong thing and that’s why we don’t get the victory. Read More