Trials and Temptation

(David Lynn)

“Didn't He say he sent us to be tested? Didn't He say the way would not be sure? But didn't He say we could live with Him forevermore, well and whole if we but patiently endure? After the trial we will be blessed, but this life is the test”
- The Test by Janice Kapp Perry

The last two months, I have felt tested beyond anything I have ever dealt with in my life. Scarily enough I am finding this harder to deal with than my turbulent adolescence in my parent's home... although I think that is because I didn't expect to be so threatened in my life ever again. However, it has happened and I am unsure what to do. In some ways, I think I feel almost bipolar- my moods change constantly depending on my thoughts which are headed in almost any direction as I try to cope. And trying to deal with the outside forces bombarding my mood and emotions has been almost impossible. In the past when I have needed to try and cope with severe problems, I have been reminded of a Bible verse:

1 Corinthians 10:13 - There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

The first time I heard someone describe this Bible verse was in Sunday school and it was misquoted. Many people have shortened this verse to mean that “Heavenly Father will never give you more than you can handle”. Just my opinion, but that is absolute bunk. First of all this verse uses the words “you will not be tempted”. Second, God does not 'give' us the problems that we face- most of those problems come from ourselves as consequences or from other people and their free agency. I know that it can be comforting to smile through our tears and repeat over and over that we can handle it, but it is just false doctrine. The other (and main) reason I think that this statement is bunk is that it tends to be used by others to justify their good fortune- “I am good and that is why I have money... she is bad and that is why she is having problems with money, children, etc...”) By using this justification, it allows people to divide others into 'us' and 'them' and permits them to justify allowing suffering and allows them to feel comfortable either not helping and/or judging.

I can not accept that. I can not accept that some people are poor because they are bad. I can not accept the idea that rich individuals are closer to perfection – not to beat a point into the dust but.... Tiger Woods anyone? And so I find myself frustrated with this platitude and others that seem to mostly justify not doing anything about bad things. I take the scripture verse at face value- Heavenly Father will not allow us to be tempted past our endurance. Trials, however, are different from temptations no matter how you splice it.

I believe that temptations are personal- it may hurt or cause consequences for others, but your sins are your own. Isn't that listed in Article of Faith number 1? Trials, however, are meant to be faced with others. We are on earth so that we can be tested but also to make the test easier for us around us. If we allow ourselves to become so insulated and arrogant that we do not help each other... well, what is left to enjoy in life. If we only help those we love... a lot of people will be left out to struggle alone which is not what our Father intended. We can not allow ourselves to be so self involved that we do not ask ourselves a question – “Is Heavenly Father hoping to use me to ease this burden?”

We can not make it alone- only be helping each other can we hope to make it!

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