It was great to be back together after a Youth spring break- the excitement to see each other was tangible! After some time off of school, I thought it was just as appropriate in our lives as in the liturgical calendar to address the concept of temptation. It's a big part of what makes humans so heroic- we're so fragile and tempted, but we can overcome through God's mercy.
"God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it."
But understanding what temptations are is important to resisting them, so we went back through the catechismal definition for sin (found here). The summary of our church's definition of sin highlights some things we often overlook, and don't count as sins; we are sinful every time we fail "in genuine love for God and neighbor" and our shortcomings are "caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods".
Anything that keeps us from acting in love and obedience to God is a temptation of sin; and unfortunately that can include anything from dishonestly eating the last slice of cake, to obsessive videogame playing, to cyber bullying or substance use.
While we discussed how minor some of our sins can seem, like all behaviors, giving in to the mildest of temptations makes us more likely to give in to any temptation. Our willpower needs exercise to help us when our lives make the wrong choices seem like the right ones. I read over some anecdotes about friends of mine who dealt very closely with serious temptations- and sometimes gave in to those things that kept them from God and each other.
It's easy to understand why they made their choices; but deciding we know right and wrong better than God is loving ourselves, and straying away from loving Him. "For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted."
Because God knows what trials we face, no one can forgive us like he can- not even ourselves. While we can't stop ourselves from facing temptation, we rediscovered how to keep in practice of looking away from what we put first, and turn to face God. Throughout this week, feel free to remind your teens of where our priorities- as Christians- lie, especially when we spend too much time on our screens or seem frazzled with upcoming papers and tests. "And again, I will put my trust in him."