The Color of Temptation, by Will Saunders
It’s funny how a lot of people hardly ever take turns being the bigger person. It’s usually the same ones, over and over and over again, who stand tall and shine, who bite their tongues, and who act civilized – going the extra mile – while others live wantonly saying and doing whatever they darn well please with no regard for anybody else.
While I was bellyaching to someone about this, that person told me it’s just God’s way of stretching good people, making them better. I don’t know if that person was just trying to make me feel better (and yes, it did make me feel better —- alternative ways of looking at things can always add value), but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that person was likely right. It took me a few days to get there, though. It is tantamount to turning the other cheek, doing unto others as you’d have them do unto you, or forgiving someone of their trespasses just like you want God to forgive you of yours. It’s nothing but karma, The Golden Rule, or whatever it is you want to call it.
The other funny thing is, when you’re trying to teach someone something, it seems much easier than trying to teach yourself that same thing. I’m always telling this to others, but while facing it myself, my insight became cloudy. That person counseling me talked about God stretching me, trying to help me to grow. But as I’m sitting here in my prayer and meditation, I’m thinking of something else too.
What I’m thinking about is temptation. Obviously being the bigger person is the right thing to do, no doubt about that. But where temptation comes in is that luscious feeling I might have to flip out and tell the other person where they can go – or become overtly mean or inconsiderate to them because of their repeated acts of selfishness, forgetting they aren’t the only one who matters. Those who know me well know that I’d feel so horribly mournful afterwards if I treated them in the same insensitive way in which they treated me.
I guess I’m in good company because, even Jesus was tempted. According to the book of Matthew (well actually it’s addressed in Matthew, Mark and Luke but I prefer Matthew’s account of it) when Jesus was fasting in the Judean Desert for 40 days and nights, Satan appeared trying to tempt him. Satan tried unsuccessfully three times.
You might ask, “So, what does all this have to do with being the bigger person?” Good question. The point of it all is, doing the right thing regardless how you might feel on the surface, should always win. I pray when tempted such as this – I find myself praying more and more these days – and that is what God wants from me.
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 2:18; 4:15-16).”