Resist temptation


Sunday, December 09, 2018

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'Tis one thing to be tempted,

Another thing to fall.

— Shakespeare

Temptation is the fire

That brings up the scum

Of the heart.

— Shakespeare

Why is it that people are only tempted by things that are bad? Never will you hear, “Oh, I was tempted to go to church, but I resisted.” Those two quotes above certainly add to this fuel, for both of them allude to falling from grace, and scum of the heart.

Clearly, temptation is not a good thing and is mostly spoken of in a negative light. And yet it is so pervasive in our lives. We are tempted almost every day, and only the very strong can resist those ills.

Did I say strong, did I mention ills? Sometimes it's the strongest among us who fall preyfor truth be told, those ills can come in a very soft, seductive, sensual, sweet-smelling way.

Resistance is futile, say the Borg, and that's why a very wise man once said, “The only way to overcome a temptation is to yield to it.” Was he really that wise, or was it merely a cop-out statement to justify weakness and give in, yielding to temptation, and then making excuses for falling?

Temptation comes in all forms. it swirls around us like a misty fog; it beckons and seduces us like Sirens in the night who lure hapless sailors to their doom. It caresses our skin with a soft, sensuous touch; it draws us in with that come-hither look that few can resist, and it ensnares us into its web like a spider does the fly. Ultimately, the result is the same, destruction, damnation, despair.

Temptation, that's what I'll lure you into today, right after these passing-mark responses to 'Grading sin'.

Hey Tony,

You are right. There should be a grading system for sins. What sort of sin would a newborn baby be guilty of?

Charles G

Hi Tony,

It seems there are different types of sins, starting with the original sin of disobedience by Adam and Eve. There are also the seven deadly sins invented by the early clergy to scare their congregation, but which do not appear to be listed in the Bible. All sins can be forgiven, except one — the unforgivable, the unpardonable sin. Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sin and every slander they utter.” The exception He said, “Whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of eternal sin.”


The Bible can be so scary with all those references of punishment, no forgiveness, death and destruction; but there's also hope and a promise of salvation. Still, intermingled with that is temptation. Temptation can be resisted.

It was Jesus who spent 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness where he was tempted by the Devil himself who offered Him everything. Those now-famous words, “Get thee behind me Satan,” have endured centuries, and are still relevant in today's world of multiple temptations.

Even so, many, if not most people still yield to temptation, which makes me wonder if the whole thing is fair or not. Is it a colossal set-up, contrived to make us fall? Or is it meant to test our faith and will? “To punish me for what you make me do seems most unequal,” said Shakespeare.

Things that are tempting are usually so alluring, inviting, intriguing, intended to break down the strongest resistance. Usually they do not come barging in headlong, but sneak in like a thief in the night and catch people when they're most vulnerable.

For example, most people would never steal. Of course there are persons who are born thieves and would purloin a purse with pennies even though they had a million dollars stashed away. But I'm referring to the ordinary guy who's trying to make a living but finds life to be hard as it beats him down. He just can't get a break.

So one day he sees the opportunity to pull himself out of the doldrums of despair and is tempted to smuggle some drugs. He's not a habitual drug smuggler, but the temptation is great, the lure is overwhelming, the promises are enticing. But alas, that bubble is shattered as he gets caught and his life is virtually over when he is sentenced to decades behind bars. He was a good man, felled by temptation.

Sometimes people who have never stolen anything in their lives will enter a store and shoplift after getting tempted by some exotic item like perfume or jewellery. The consequences can be dire. The lawyer will plead, “You honour, she never stole anything before in her entire life, but succumbed to temptation in a moment of weakness.”

“Bell, book and candle shall not drive me back, when gold and silver becks me to come on.” — Shakespeare.

Which brings me to the biggest temptation of all, that of the pleasures of the flesh. Oh how people of all ilk — men and women, rich and poor, saints and sinners — have all fallen to this most salacious temptation of all — sex.

Perhaps it's the most difficult temptation of all to resist, not to fall prey to, to not slip into. That's because in this case, not only is there the temptation, but there's also the harbinger of temptation, a temptress, a seductress, a siren singing her sultry song of sensuality, or a powerful man who tempts with riches, jewellery, gifts and promises. Resistance is futile.

Some men say that it's just not fair. The Lord made women to attract men, it is their primary purpose in life, it's their raison d'etre, their modus operandi, it's what they do. Titillating temptation.

So a guy is tempted by a woman, you may call it attraction, but the genesis is in temptation. He settles down with her, gets involved for the long term, even marries. Life is good. But are his temptation receptors turned off, gone dormant, now non existent? Enter the devil of temptation to test his mettle and awaken those sleeping senses.

It really is a devil. “Devils soonest tempt, resembling spirits of light,” said Shakespeare. That's so true, as that temptation, dark in the core but wrapped up in the coils of beauty, sensuality, sexuality, frailty, vulnerability, breaks down the defences of even the strongest man.

The spirit is strong, but the flesh is weak. This has caught countless men throughout history and will continue to do so as long as the temptation comes in the form of a woman's body.

Sometimes my bredrin will send pictures of beautiful women to my phone. Am I tempted to look… hell yes, I'm only human. Is there a cure, an antidote, a repellant to temptation?

I put it to you, could you resist a bombshell, knockout, drop-dead gorgeous beauty of a woman who lives on your street or works at your office and keeps on texting you telling you how much she wants you?

How long could you resist before yielding to her relentless charms? It's even worse if your wife has gained 60 pounds and treats you like a brother. Remember the song, ' Tempted to touch, tempted to touch.' “Oh mischief, thou art swift to enter in the thoughts of desperate men,” said Shakespeare.

And ladies, don't think that you escape either, for you also give in. Many a respectable woman, wife, mother, aunty, and granny will fall to temptation when it beckons with a wink of admiration.

So many women have ventured outside of the safe haven of matrimony and succumbed to the tempestuous temptation brought on by the whispers of a young man as he showers her with affection. “He made me feel attractive, young, desired, wanted again — a feeling I haven't felt in years.”

Yes, temptation comes in many forms and preys on the weakness of the desperate and vulnerable. Just like with the men, history is riddled with stories of women who succumbed to temptation, fuelled by lust, love or sheer badness. Tarrus Riley sang, “She was a good girl, gone bad.”

It really is a difficult task not to yield to temptation, and even people steeped in religion and godliness have fallen. If they can succumb, what about ordinary persons who are far removed from church, scripture and faith?

We are all tempted — man, woman, and child. Men see scantily clad women who show their butts in tight-fitting clothes and are tempted. Women see young athletic studs who show them interest, or encounter men of means who can offer much, lavish them with material things, and are tempted.

But you can resist if you really want to. If it wasn't in you from the beginning to do the act, you couldn't be tempted. Don't blame the temptation, blame yourself.

More time.

Footnote: Kingston College (KC) has won the Manning Cup after 32 years in an extraordinary final, coming from behind twice to beat St George's 3-2. One announcer said it was the greatest final he had ever seen; the action swung end to end. But still the KC detractors continue to snipe, one calling KC underachievers for not winning the cup for so long. St George's and JC also had 24 and 31 years of not winning. KC has won the Walker Cup (nine times, joint leaders with George's), Flow Super Cup, and now the Manning Cup over the past three years. The Under 14 and Colts Under-16 teams were champions for four consecutive years except last year, with the Colts regaining their title this year bybeating George's 2-0, while the Under-14 lost on penalties in the semi-finals. St George's started playing Manning Cup 19 years before KC. I have never heard the word underachievers and KC in the same breath before. Fortis.

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