Knowing the Safe Path

A young man was talking to the pilot of a river steamer - "How long have you been a pilot on these waters?", he asked. "Twenty-five years", the pilot replied. "Then", said the young man, "I should think you must know every rock and sandbank in the river." The pilot smiled and said, "No, I don't, but I do know where the deep water is."

Commenting on this incident, author John R. Gunn writes, "There is an ignorance which is desirable - the ignorance of vice. We do not need to know the ways of vice in order to avoid them. All we need is to know the safe path and to keep to it."

Lead us not into temptation, we pray. Perhaps a more accurate rendering would be: Permit us not to be led into temptation. In the ordinary sense, in which we use the word, God does not lead us into temptation. When a man is led into temptation, he is drawn by his own lusts and enticed. When we pray this prayer, if we are sincere and honest about it, we will stay out of temptation's way.

John Ruskin once said, "No one can ask honestly and hopefully to be delivered from temptation, unless he has honestly and firmly determined to keep out of it."

Surely, the man who needlessly exposes himself to danger or places himself in peril by going into the way of temptation cannot claim the promise of Divine help. The surest way for you to avoid evil is to stay out of evil's way and to avoid its enticements.