By Melissa Wuske
Last year I was overpaid by clients three times. One duplicate check and a few wrong amounts, and all of a sudden I had an extra thousand dollars. Each time, before I had a moment to consider what was happening, the dilemma was there: tell somebody or keep the cash? Each time I reasoned that an accounting department inept enough to pay me too much would never notice if I kept it. They’d never find out. The extra would mean more to me than the deficit would mean to them. What if I just thanked God on my way to the bank?
In the end, I sent that painful email every time: “You paid me too much.” And each time, I had to give the money back. Not even one honesty bonus.
Conflict with God
Temptation like this is a direct conflict between my way and God’s way, his perspective and mine, his problem-solving methods and mine. Temptation hits the things I think I need. I need money, so temptation creeps in, showing me ways to take matters into my own hands, leading me to question: Will God really provide?
Human logic is not the way out of temptation. I’m still (naively?) convinced that no one would notice if I kept the money. But Scripture doesn’t say to make a pro and con chart—that’s my way, not God’s.
Humility with God and Others
Temptation is a call to turn to God, to renew trust in his provision, to acknowledge that I’m not stronger than my needs, to once again relinquish control of my life to God.
That’s a hefty task, and God knows it, so he asks us to help each other. When we go it alone, clinging to pride and independence, we risk being crushed by the weight of temptation. In discussing sin and temptation in the church, Galatians 6:2 says to “carry each other’s burdens,” and sometimes it feels heavy. But when the body of Christ works well, the weight is distributed: I help you and you help me, and together we choose God’s way over ours.
Melissa Wuske is a freelance editor, writer, and the communications director for Stop Traffick Fashion
(melissaannewuske.com). She lives in Boston with her husband, Shawn.