1. Offended and Offender

1 12 2010

“Anyone who has trapped animals knows a trap needs one of two things to be successful. It must be hidden, in the hope that an animal will stumble upon it, and it must be baited to lure the animal into the trap’s deadly jaws” (xiii).

This is how the book The Bait of Satan by John Bevere opens. I have heard about this book and have wanted to read it, and the other day I was downstairs and there it was, staring at me from the shelf. When things stare at me, I tend to pay attention. I have found that God works this way in my life; He draws my attention to something (sometimes something as small as one brown leaf hanging on a limb) and it strikes me as “unusual.” That’s when I know I have to think about it.

So, I am diving into this book. And I am going to blog about it for anyone who is interested because maybe it will help you as much as it will help me. So here are my reflections on the Introduction and Chapter 1.

Bevere introduces his book with the illustration of the baited trap and later says, “One of [Satan’s] most deceptive and insidious kinds of bait is something every Christian has encountered — offense. Actually, offense itself is not deadly — if it stays in the trap. But if we pick it up and consume it and feed on it in our hearts, then we have become offended” (xiv). Jesus said that it is impossible to live life and not have the opportunity to be offended so what will our response be? What will my response be?

I hate the idea of being blind to myself, but I have experienced how easy it is to be exactly that. I can be moving along, living along, and not see who I really am. God, help me. I so want to see the trap; I want to see the prisons I have unknowingly walked into!

Most commonly, offense leads to hurt, anger, outrage, jealousy, resentfulness, bitterness, envy; that sort of thing. It’s not simple to not feel those things. I am realizing it is not simple. Bevere says offense most often comes through a fellow believer who has hurt them and “this causes the offense to feel like a betrayal” (1) and the closer the relationship, the greater the offense. This makes sense because “only those you care about can hurt you” (2).

I have come to understand this in a very personal way. It is the most draining thing and the thing I struggle with the most…the thing that makes me want to run the most.

But why do we hurt one another? The Bible says that in the last days men and women will be “lovers of themselves” (2 Timothy 3:2) and live that way. The call to love one another has been drowned out and offended people act offensively. It is a trap that keeps trapping.

Bevere says we must be awakened to our true condition: “When a person is deceived, he believes he is right even though he is not” (3). Bevere says,

“No matter what the scenario, we can divide all offended people into two major categories: 1) those who have been treated unjustly or 2) those who believe they have been treated unjustly. People in the second category believe with all their hearts that they have been wronged. Often their conclusions are drawn from inaccurate information. Or their information is accurate, but their conclusion is distorted. Either way they are hurt, and their understanding is darkened” (3).

So who am I? Number 2 scares me, God, show me where I am just digging a hole for myself.

The enemy keeps us from understanding our offense through a mechanism of pride; we deny and repress; our vision becomes distorted and our hearts become hardened. Pride causes us to see ourselves as a victim; it causes us to hold back forgiveness.

Jesus says, just because we were mistreated does not give us permission to hold onto the offense. We have a choice: to remain angry and offended or to allow God to show us the nature of our offense, to see it for what it truly (truthfully is) and refine us like gold in a fire.

Our ability to see correctly is being freed from deception:

“Often when we are offended we see ourselves as victims and blame those who have hurt us. We justify our bitterness, unforgiveness, anger, envy and resentment as they surface. Sometimes we even resent those who remind us of others who have hurt us. For this reason Jesus counseled, ‘Anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see’ (Rev. 3:18). See what? Your true condition!” (7)

Bevere says that we need to come to a place of understanding OUR true condition before we can be free from the offenses we harbor. We can’t let pride keep us from seeing and…repenting. Our response to an offense determines our future.

That last line really gets me. I want to live well and age well and love well and serve well and I want to be like that green tree the Bible talks about, flourishing until the end. But God, I do realize that I am offended — whatever that means, I am not sure I even fully understand it, but I know there is truth to that. Help me to see how the enemy is using this in my own heart and set me free from it, as the Lord’s prayer says so plainly, “Forgive me of my trespasses and forgive those who have trespassed against me.”

— Teresa Klassen

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21 12 2010
The Bait of Satan – John Bevere – mybookreviews.info

[…] Having said that, I loved the book. In terms of really getting at an important, life-impacting topic, Bevere does a terrific job discussing the issue of “offense” and being “offended.” Each topic challenged me very personally; in fact, I ended up blogging on each chapter. If you would like to get a quick overview of the book before you read it, you can read my personal blog beginning at chapter one. […]

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