God “lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil.” Perhaps I could summarise, “God help us.” The Lord’s Prayer is really quite fascinating when you consider it was taught over two thousand years ago and its requests are so contemporary and relevant.
The surrender to temptation and the resultant freedom for evil has enormous implications for us personally and corporately and a myriad number of examples could follow.
One such example is the evaporation of trust. The Royal Commissions into institutional abuse and banking dishonesty, the post-modern mantra that nothing seems to be what it appears to be, the fake news politicians (or perhaps we should just call them the dishonest ones), the restrictions of freedom in speech and so much more have schooled our culture in mistrust and cynicism.
David Jones was a foundation director of the Australian Mutual Provident Society in 1849. If he was still in the grave he would certainly be rolling in it now. Of course, as a man who put all his trust in Jesus Christ, the grave was not his final resting place. One wonders what he might say if he could see the depth of depravity exposed in 2019 by the management of AMP and other banks. Jones was a Christian man who prayed the Lord’s Prayer, a man redeemed from the kind of abuses we are increasingly and dangerously becoming accustomed to. Like all Christians, Jones asked God for help in the face of temptation and for deliverance from evil.
If David Jones was asked what happened to cause our banking industry and institutions to become the play pen of abusers he might have answered, “They stopped praying!” He might have noted that when accountability before God is ignored then the door to all temptations and evil becomes an open one.
AMP was formed as a not-for--profit life insurance company and mutual society. Far from setting bench marks in greed I think that Jones and others saw AMP as existing for the welfare of its customers. I can still remember a time when most banks functioned like this. I think it was a time when the Lord’s Prayer was still in vogue. After the Banking Royal Commission the word “mutual” is no longer what it seems. It would appear that the Royal Commission has exposed elements of the banking industry as giving into temptation and participating in evil. I imagine that little line in the Lord’s Prayer “Forgive us our debts as forgive the debts of others” might be helpful for everyone. Jesus is yet again proven right by those words. “The love of money is the root of all evil.”
Of course the recent Royal Commissions have exposed two great idolatries of Australian society: sex and money. Neither sex nor money are bad in themselves. However, when temptations and evil are succumbed to, they do what all idolatry does – sacrifice the innocent to the lusts and greed of the idol worshippers.
You don’t have to be Einstein to realise that where trust is lost, culture, society, community, friendships and family will crumble. You don’t have to be very smart at all to know that when trust is lost, laws will increase and government will become more intrusive and controlling. When that happens, you don’t have to be one of the elite to realise that an intrusive and controlling government that gives in to temptation and is not delivered from evil will inevitably promote both.
What can we do in the crisis of trust we are confronting? Let trust begin with you. Let your yes be yes and no be no. Show up to the things you promised to be at and be there at the time you said you would be. Keep your promises to your children and be faithful in your marriage. And when you are struggling, I would recommend you pray, “Our Father, lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil.” If you can be trustworthy in little things, you are more likely to be trustworthy in bigger things. If you and I prove trustworthy, it might just catch on and change our nation.