Wisdom of the Saints:
“Sins that are easiest to amend bring the greatest punishment.” – St. John Chrysostom
“The devil tempts so that he may ruin, God tempts so that He may crown.” – St. Ambrose of Milan
“He did not say: you will not be troubled – you will not be tempted – you will not be distressed. But He said: You will not be overcome.” – St. Julian of Norwich
“No one sins by an act he cannot avoid.” – St. Augustine of Hippo
- We must remember that God doesn’t set us up to fail and He doesn’t tempt us beyond our control (1 Cor 10:13).
- We must change the way we view temptations – from burdens/trials to opportunities for growth/holiness.
- Jesus was tempted, too. Go to Him. He knows what it’s like to be tempted.
- God’s grace is enough (2 Cor. 12:9).
- Temptations help us to understand ourselves and where our hearts truly are
- One of the best things you can do for yourself is to identify those areas of your life, those environments and people, that cause you temptation and eliminate them or escape them. It’s not enough to overcome temptation if you repeatedly put yourself in its path.
- The devil is not afraid of you, but he is petrified of Christ in you. Avail yourselves of the Sacraments and prayer and drench yourself in the life of Christ and His grace and the devil will flee from you (James 4:7).
Things to remember when discussing this topic:
- Many teens feel like God tempts them. It is essential that teens see the difference between trial (brought by God to strengthen) and temptation (brought by satan to destroy) and understand how trials are good things in our lives.
- Some teens feel like “their” temptations are far more difficult than others. While they don’t yet know the stresses that accompany college life, young adulthood or married life/religious life, etc. it is vital that you validate their feelings. A saying such as “It’s only going to get harder,” does not earn you the right to be heard. Similarly phrases like, “When I was young,” don’t cut it either, because times have changed, and so has the accessibility of temptation (i.e. the Internet). Validate their fears and feelings about their own struggles by asking questions and making time to listen, first and foremost. Then, once you’ve earned that right to be heard, share with them how temptations can become positives in their faith walks and assure them of your prayers on their behalf.