Does God lead us into temptation?
THE EDITOR, Sir:
A recent lead story in The Gleaner , ‘Divine danger...’ is interesting as it is revealing. The decision by the Pope for an adjustment to the Lord’s Prayer – “Do not lead us into temptation” to “Do not let us fall into temptation”– seems to be based on a discomfort with the word ‘lead’. However, the word ‘lead’ used by Jesus in this case does not necessarily mean actively guiding or directing someone into temptation but rather, ‘do not allow or permit’ to enter into temptation – since being all-powerful, such temptations would only be possible by God’s permission or allowance.
Another scripture reads: “God will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear but along with the temptations he will make a way out” (I Corinthians 10:13). It is much like saying God doesn’t give you more than you can bear. Yet, what would be the purpose of giving you a way out of the very troubles He’s giving you if ‘lead’ does not merely mean ‘allow’?
God’s permission of evil doesn’t necessarily equate to His approval of it, but rather, a freedom to answer Satan’s charge that humans serve Him only out of convenience and self-interest. A removal of such conveniences and protection, argues Satan, would result in them cursing God to His very face and abandoning Him. Which is really about the motive and integrity for any servant of God. So permission is often very necessary.
Therefore, it is not the Lord’s Prayer that needs adjustment but our own interpretation of it.
Finally, in a similar way, Romans 13:1 says that governments are placed in their respective positions by God Himself. If this scripture were to be understood as a literal instalment and not merely a permission of rulership, you would also be placing the responsibility on God Himself for all the atrocities that have occurred under the different governments here, and worse, saying it’s a reflection of a malevolent and uncaring God, since He could have foreseen the outcome. So no revision of the Lord’s Prayer is needed, for God is forever love (1 John 4:8).