Temptation itself is not a sin, as we read in James 1. Rather, it’s our response to temptation that leads us into or away from sin. Mark Twain’s short story, “The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg,” helps illustrate the pervasive nature of temptation. Mark Twain writes of a town that was self-declared as “the most honest and upright town in all the region round about.” The town was so proud of its honesty, the people went out of their way to protect it. Absolutely no temptations would arise in their children’s lives, “so that their honesty could have every chance to harden and solidify, and become a part of their very bone.” The problem was that the town soon lost sight of what temptation looked like, and when a great temptation came to their town in the form of unclaimed riches, the people who prided themselves on their incorruptibility and honesty fell headlong into the trap set for them. The end result not only left the most celebrated members of the town completely humiliated in the eyes of the world, but it also forced the town to realize that although temptation cannot be fully avoided in life, it can be overcome (Mark Twain, “The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg,” https://freeclassicebooks.com/Mark%20Twain/The%20Man%20that%20Corrupted%20Hadleyburg.pdf).
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