I read The Bait of Satan in 2013. At the time, I had no idea how hurt I was by my feelings of being offended. As John explains in his book, there are many reasons to feel offended. Our reasons are usually good ones. Our parents, our spouse, our children, friends, neighbors, co-workers, boss, pastor, fellow Christians, teachers…and the list goes on and on all have times when they offend us. When I feel offended, I may choose to wallow in my feelings instead of having conversations and forgiving the ones who have offended me.
John Bevere calls the temptation to feel offended and disrupt or sever our relationships with others, the Bait of Satan. It is what Satan uses to hook us into not only feeling bad but to quit talking to those we legitimately feel have harmed us. Falling into the trap of rightous unforgiveness is a sin. These sins separate us from others and more importantly, turn our attention inward and separate us from God.
Jesus has told us, we need to forgive others always.
Matthew 6:14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you;”
Forgiveness is never optional as a Christian. If we are to be forgiven, we must forgive. Satan tempts us with the offenses of others. His goal is that we be separated from God and others. Worse, our separation leads us to other sins of gossip and treating others badly.
The Bait of Satan opened my eyes and I started forgiving others. Occassionlly, Satan still catches me with his bait. Most of the time, I’m able to recognize the offense and call it out. When you have a conversation with the offender, you often find that you misunderstood the situation. Their intention wasn’t to offend and even if it was, let them be, forgive, and do not be held captive by the offense.
Oh God, help us to recognize when we feel offended and to swiftly forgive others. Help us to truly mean it when we pray “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen