One of my favorite teachers, Richard Rohr, has a weekly blog Unpacking Paradoxes. On June 17th he unpacked the phrase, “lead us not into temptation,” from the “Our Father.”
This line (In Matthew’s version of the Our Father) has never made sense to me, although I continue to say it since this is the way it is usually translated; but I cannot really appeciate it as is. Sometimes, it is translated “do not put us to the test” (In Luke’s version), which still seems strange and problematic. Why would God “lead” us into temptation or “put us to the test” to begin with? Is human life an obstacle course, a testing ground? Are we all on trial? I thought God’s usual job was to lead us away from temptation! Why would we need to ask God to NOT lead us INTO temptation? Does he?
Please read the rest of his post as he answers these questions. It is a different answer than you might expect. It is humbling and it makes a lot of sense to me.