不叫我們遇見試探

By: Robert J. Tamasy

最近常常發生一些我們幾乎無法逃避的醜聞:有名的領袖包括政治家、企業的執行長、有名的運動健將、甚至是神職人員,犯了嚴重破壞道德的罪或是被嚴重的醜聞纏身。當我們聽到這樣的消息時,我們只是無可奈何地聳聳肩膀,認為太陽底下還有甚麼新鮮事嗎?

多麼可悲的結論!但是這就是我們所住的世界。 回顧歷史,無疑地,一個備受尊崇的領袖經常會從一個有極大影響力的位置掉進有極大殺傷力的深淵。但這可被視為一種可接受的模式嗎?我們是否有一種普遍性的假定,認為權力使人腐化,所以有權的人一定會敗壞呢?

也許我們會說:「天下自古無完人。」或者辯解說:「我們都只是人而已。」的確,這兩個論調都道出一些事實,但是它們都不能成為不道德行為的藉口。事實是:這些事情依然是「新聞」,標示出高道德標準仍然是我們對領袖的期望,無論是對政府的領袖、中小企業的領袖或是大企業的執行長。

這些事件背後隱藏著更大的議題,並非是如何去說服領袖達到我們可能一輩子都達不到的高道德標準;而是,你我如何持守一致的價值觀,以及當我們成為領袖時,我們如何領導我們的家、公司以及社群。

根據千古不變的「商業教戰手冊」-最廣為人知的「聖經」,我們看到一個人類的真實狀態:我們經常是不誠實的。就如經上所記:「沒有義人,連一個也沒有。」 (羅馬書3章10節) 但是這句經節並非用來批評我們缺乏良善,或是因為我們本來就是不義,所以我們就可以不用去遵守道德的標準。相反的,這句經節警告我們,甚至是建議我們達到更高的行為標準。

沒有人可以免疫:多年前,我聽過一個非營利性組織的領導人宣稱:「我唯一不會失敗的地方就是與人的關係。」幾年之後,他被人發現與他的行政助理有外遇。這就是為什麼聖經警告我們說:「所以,自己以為站得穩的,須要謹慎,免得跌倒。」(哥林多前書10章12節)

當事情看起來當順利時,更要小心!我們在凡事都看起來很順利、都在掌握之下時,對於試探是最沒有抵抗力的。因為在這種情形之下,我們傾向於依靠我們自己而忽略依靠神。「至於我,我凡事平順,便說:我永不動搖。」(詩篇30篇6節)

我們都有一個逃脫的出路「我是不由自主!」當我們降服於試探而陷於道德失敗時,這是一個很糟的藉口。試探也許看起來大到不能抵擋,但是如果我們仰望神,祂就會幫助我們避免讓試探最終變成「罪」。「你們所遇見的試探,無非是人所能受的。神是信實的,必不叫你們受試探過於所能受的;在受試探的時候,總要給你們開一條出路,叫你們能忍受得住。」(哥林前多書10章13節)

每個人都需要幫助 「我太弱了!我沒有辦法抵擋試探。」這也許是真的,但如果我們相信聖經,它保證我們可以從耶穌那裡得到力量,做我們自己做不到的事。「我為基督的緣故,就以軟弱、凌辱、急難、逼迫、困苦為可喜樂的;因我甚麼時候軟弱,甚麼時候就剛強了。」(哥林多後書12章10節) 「我靠著那加給我力量的,凡事都能做。」(腓立比書4章13節)

Robert J. Tamasy是亞特蘭大「領袖遺產」 (一個非營利性機構) 通訊部的副總裁。他是一個有39年經驗的資深記者,也是多本著作的作者,包括Tufting Legacies; Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today”s Workplace (River City Press);也與David A. Stoddard合著The Heart of Mentoring (NavPress)。欲知更多詳情可上www.leaderslegacy.com網站或是他的部落格 www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com。

思想 / 討論題目

當你聽到一些公眾人物或名人道德失敗的事件時,你典型的反應是甚麼? 你認得出自己生命中比起其他部分更容易受試探的部分嗎?如果可以,你要如何處理這樣的狀況?另一方面,在你的生命中,是否有部分是如週一嗎哪中所指出的你認為「你永遠不會受試探」的部分嗎? 你是否相信不管情況如何,如果需要神會給你的一個逃脫試探之路? 你會採取怎樣的方法來對付生命中道德方面的弱點?或者你會給有這方面需要的同事或朋友甚麼建議?註:若你有聖經且想要看有關此主題的其他經文,請看:馬太福音6章13節;26章41節;提摩太前書6章9-10節;雅各書1章2-3節、13-15 節;彼得後書2章9-10節

LEADING US NOT INTO TEMPTATION
By: Robert J. Tamasy

It seems to happen so often these days, we hardly flinch: A prominent leader – a politician, business executive, celebrated sports figure, even a member of the clergy – committing some major ethical breach or being caught up in serious scandal. When we hear or hear about it, we just shrug our shoulders. So what else is new?

What a sad commentary this is, however, on the world in which we live. Throughout the ages, without question, highly recognized and powerful leaders have fallen from positions of great influence to the depths of immense failure. But should this be accepted as the norm? Are we to assume a universal application of the adage, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”?

Nobody is perfect, we argue. Or we use the “We are only human” defense. Although both statements hold a measure of truth, they do not excuse unethical or immoral behavior. The fact that such failures are still “news” underscores the reality that adherence to high ethical standards and moral values is still what we expect from our leaders, whether those in government, small business owners, or CEOs of huge monolithic corporations.

The greater issue, however, is not how to convince leaders we will never meet to live according to higher ethical and moral requirements. The issue involves you and me: How can we consistently abide by what we know is right and wrong – to be leaders worthy of following in our own homes, workplaces and communities?

In reading the timeless “business manual” better known as the Bible, we see an honest assessment of the human condition: “There is none righteous, no not one” (Romans 3:10). But that statement is not offered as justification for a lack of integrity or refusal to follow commonly accepted moral guidelines. Instead, the Scriptures provide warnings and suggestions for attaining – and maintaining – a higher standard of behavior:

No one is immune. Years ago I heard about the head of a major non-profit organization who had declared, “The one area where I will never fail is that of relationships.” A few years later he was discovered in an adulterous affair with his administrative assistant. That is why the Bible warns, “So if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you do not fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).

Beware when things are going well. We can be most vulnerable to temptation when things are going well, when we feel that we have everything under control. At such times we tend to rely on our self-sufficiency and can forget about dependence on God. “Now in my prosperity I said, “I shall never be moved…”” (Psalm 30:6).

We all have an escape. “I couldn”t help it” is a poor excuse if we yield to temptation and fall into ethical or moral failure. The temptation might seem too great to resist, but if we look to God, He will enable us to avoid taking temptation to the next step – sin. “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Everyone needs help. “I”m too weak; I cannot resist the temptation.” That might be true, but if we believe the Bible, it assures us we can receive the strength of Jesus Christ to do what we cannot do on our own. “…For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10). “I can do everything through (Christ) who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).

Robert J. Tamasy is vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit corporation based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. A veteran journalist for more than 39 years, he is the author of Tufting Legacies; Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today”s Workplace (River City Press); and has coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring (NavPress). For more information, see www.leaderslegacy.com or his blog, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
How do you typically react when you hear about the moral or ethical failure of a noted public figure or celebrity? Can you identify a particular area of your life where temptations seem stronger than in other areas? If so, how do you handle such situations? On the other hand, is there an area of your life where – like the leader referred to in this “Monday Manna” – you believe you would never yield to temptation? Explain your answers. Do you believe that regardless of the situation, God can provide a way of escape from temptation if needed? Why or why not? What steps can you take to overcome areas of moral or ethical weakness in your life? Or what advice would you give to a friend or colleague asking for help?NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to review additional passages that relate to this topic, consider the following verses: Matthew 6:13, 26:41; 1 Timothy 6:9-100; James 1:2-3, 13-15; 2 Peter 2:9-10

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