Teptation, Compassion and Soggy Cereal

31 07 2007

Copyright 2007 Kelsey Hough.  All rights reserved.

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“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” ~Hebrews 4:15

I once had a Sunday school teacher try to explain this verse to a class I was in. We were all very young at the time, so the concept of a “high priest” was strange and not particularly interesting. If she’d been comparing Jesus to a Ninja Turtle or Mickey Mouse, we might have perked up, but it still would have been a challenge to keep our short attention spans engaged for long.

“Jesus came to die on the cross for our sins,” she said to the class “and He also came so that He’d know what it’s like to live here on earth, so that He’d know what it’s like to … to … eat cereal.”  God left heaven so He could eat breakfast cereal with a bunch of sinners? Since He’s God – the Creator and all – why didn’t He just make His own cereal? The only conclusions I could come up with, were either God had a fetish for Shredded Wheat, or my teacher was stranger than she looked.

Temptation is Tempting

“[He] was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”  Temptation is tempting; this may sound as deep as the bumper sticker on the back of your car, but when temptation comes knocking it’s hard to say no.  Because if you didn’t want it, there wouldn’t be a temptation.

When temptation hits, you may relate to Jesus, being offered all the kingdoms of the world, everything you want seems to be within your grasp, but then you realize who’s offering you this proposition, and you’ll be paying for it through the nose.  Do the ends justify the means?  The little man on your shoulder – in his cheesy devil costume – whispers something sly into your ear.  You want it so badly, and the thought of letting it go forever seems so horrible, but you take a deep breath, and say no to your little red pal.

I said no to the little man on my shoulder recently.  It was hard, as well as painful, and it honestly still is to a degree.  Letting go can hurt.  But despite this, I’ve gained something important — I’ve learned a little bit more about the beauty of compassion.

Compassion: A Beautiful Thing

It’s a wonderful thing that God not only understands the process of saying no to temptation, He also understands the pain and the heartache that is sometimes inevitable when you’re forced to say no to something you truly want.  The temptations and hardships Christ encountered while on earth extended far beyond a bowl of soggy cereal; He’s been offered the “easy way” out, He’s been tempted with everything He desired most, but He said no.  He doesn’t just know mentally that it would be difficult, He knows from firsthand experience; He’s felt the pain.

This — what my Sunday school teacher tried to present so many years ago – is truly amazing.  It’s amazing that God Almighty would be able to sympathize with sinners in their hour of need.  May we all seek to show the same level of compassion we’ve been shown, to others.

“DIVINE MASTER, grant that I my not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; for it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.” -St. Francis of Assisi

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4 responses

31 07 2007
Ashley

This is very true, and very encouraging Kels.

1 08 2007
heather Paulsen

I wonder if your sunday school teacher knew that you’d remember that all these years later. It’s it strange how thing stick with us?
Have a good day,
heather

17 08 2007
timglass

Ain’t that a great prayer!
A great reflection, too. Temptation only becomes sin when we give in to it. Since we have the Holy Spirit living in us, doesn’t that make us want to sin less?
I miss your comments on a word on The Word!
His blessings to you.
Tim

29 08 2007
びっくり

I had a total Deja Vu feeling when I read the title of this post. I used to keep a private log of key faith related learning points. I titled one “blessings of cold oatmeal” or something like that. I was in a mode of praying over my breakfast and including a time of giving thanks for the good things in my life. When I finished, my oatmeal was stone cold… but it sure was pleasing to eat.

I am excited to see your blog. Keep up the good work.

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