Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Temptation of "If..."

My dad pointed out an interesting Biblical fact as we were engaged in a deep theological and philosophical discussion. Temptation is activated by the word "If". His source for this proposal was the temptations of Jesus Christ in the desert as found in Matthew 4:1-11

Verse 3: "If You are the Son of God command..."
Verse 6: "If You are the Son of God throw..."
Verse 9: "... if You fall down and worship me [Satan]."

This "If" of temptation continued at the crucifixion in Matthew 27:40 where leaders as they passed by Jesus nailed to the cross, hurled abuses at Him saying:

"If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross."

I imagine the temptation on the cross was incomprehensibly robust. Immediate relief verses Eternal satisfying joy - The Nobility of Character.

How many times have we received the "If" suggestion. It is oh so tempting when the suggestion is presented to you as, "Hey this is an proven, easy to get ..." When properly translated the tempting suggestion actually says, "If you do to this less than honorable thing you will become very wealthy, happy, powerful, etc. right now, but you will have to pay for it much later at an extremely towering cost to your reputation and the generations that follow." It is significantly more easy to agree with the "if"; however, it takes incredible courage to resist and say no to the "if" of temptation. "If" carries quick gratification with long-term harm, whereas honor carries some sacrifice followed by long-term peace and fulfillment.

The answers to these "if" temptations can be found in maintaining a long-term perspective. How will this effect my reputation and those around me 5 years from now, 10 years from now, 50 years from now, 150 years from now, etc. Eternity is .... Respect is worth it and lasts for eternity, shame is burdensome and lasts for eternity (unless one is forgiven - see Rom. 1:16-17).

Contrast the man who wrote the legendary hymn "Amazing Grace" to the CEOs of the recent banking meltdown. How must the city manager of the city of Bell in Los Angles county, California justify his actions? What is the status of his reputation and of his generations to follow? Somehow I do not see a long-term vision of respect, honor, duty, etc. from these disgraced "leaders".

The "morals" of a self-love do not produce a virtuous society of citizens. It is time for our leaders, both locally and nationally, to return to a "Nobility of Character" and actively teach (in words and deeds) this to the generations to come. Without the "Nobility of Character" we are seduced "by the Dark Side" of the Temptation of If.

Eagle Driver
check 6

No comments:

Post a Comment

Email address is required; however, your email address will not be used for any purpose other than validation. Thank you for your comment - Eagle Driver.