Once again, on this First Sunday of Lent, we hear the story of Jesus being tempted in the desert. Of course, we know He knows that He won a dramatic victory over Satan and that His victory is meant to inspire our own victory over temptation. However, I can’t help wondering: does anyone ever fight temptation anymore?  I mean, really, does anyone see any value in such an arcane struggle in the present day?  Perhaps I am seeing the glass as half empty, but I do think I have valid reasons to be concerned. We are so affected by the modern culture that I even wonder if we recognize sin any more or the value of trying to stay away from sin – and that is the very reason that Jesus died on the cross! Have we actually gotten to the point where we no longer value trying to stay away from the very thing (sin) from which Jesus came to save us?  Honestly, I am very worried. It would take many books to analyze the negative effects that modern culture has on us, but I can at least mention what I call “the four big lies” by which we are tremendously affected, whether we can admit it or not.  The first lie, or fallacy, is that any action is perfectly acceptable as long as no one gets hurt. This is the old “victimless crime” theory. The problem with this is that there is no such thing. If we commit sin, no matter how “private” someone always gets hurt. It is not okay to hurt ourselves, or God, or anyone else and sin always hurts all three. The second lie is that it is psychologically harmful to deny ourselves of anything that we want-and really, if we want something, we need it; don’t we? Therefore, if I want something, I am hurting myself if I don’t act to get it. This kind of thinking is so pervasive that I actually know of multiple cases in which professional counselors tried to explain to the wives of their unfaithful clients, that they had to be unfaithful, or else they would be unhappy! The third lie is that human beings cannot overcome temptation. Therefore parents should supply their teen children with means of birth control, and provide them with “safe havens” to abuse alcohol because they would not be able to refrain from sex or beer, etc.  This kind of thinking denies young people of the human dignity to which they, believe it or not, want to be held. Last, but certainly not least is the lie that because we are living in modern times we need a whole new set of moral guidelines. Because things have changed so much and because we are have learned so much and have become “enlightened,” we simply can no longer abide by the antiquated values of the past. Therefore, no one can be expected to refrain from sex before marriage, and certainly we now realize that same sex marriage is to be regarded in the same way as traditional marriage.  What is amazing about this one is that, while we think we are so enlightened, we are not quite enlightened enough to realize that countless cultures bought this lie before us. And guess where they are now?  Well they are exactly where we will be if we also buy it-on the ash heap of history just like the Romans at the hands of the barbarians. You see, the bottom line is this:  there is good, there is evil, there is right there is wrong, and they are here to stay. And human beings are always tempted to sin. But Jesus gives us the means to victory. His lesson is that we don’t have to be slaves to sin. All that we have to do is struggle to resist temptation, and when we fall we turn to Him and keep on striving-and the victory is ours. The only question is does any of this matter to us anymore?

AuthorCathy Remick