“It is impossible that no offenses should come.”
One of the most prevalent ploys of Satan is to keep Christians at odds with each other. Sometimes he brashly brings offense and other times he subtly infuses it into our friendships. Either way, we must be aware that each of us are susceptible to his trap. Each of us carry something that causes us to be susceptible to offense.
John Bevere wrote a book titled “The Bait of Satan:Living free from the deadly trap of offense” and in the Introduction he writes, “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.”
Satan uses both of these to keep Christians in a place where they are focusing on how they have been hurt, or offended, rather than focusing on Jesus, as we are called to do. We are not ever going to be offense-free. Why? Because the world tells us that we “deserve” whatever. We are lured into the trap of offense when someone else is given the ministry position you have craved. We fall into the trap when we store up conversations that seem to be pointed against us. We live with the expectation of being rejected. And we wait for it. This is where offense comes in. John goes on, “Often those who are offended do not even realize they are trapped. They are oblivious to their condition because they are so focused on the wrong that was done to them.”
We are going to be shunned, disbelieved, and talked about, but so was Jesus. Our mission, only, is to love Jesus, love like Jesus, and lead others to do the same. That means praying for those who hurt you and taking the first step in reconciliation. It is impossible to live on earth without feeling offended. The secret to Christian life is to get over ourselves and turn it over to God. We can so easily miss out on the blessings of friendship by letting our expectations of imperfect people lead us into Satan’s trap.
I wrote in the back of my copy of “The Bait of Satan:”
“Christ was never offended, because His life was not His own. His life, His work, His relationships, all belonged to God. I must never be offended by other Christians when a ministry I am part of is not accepted as excitedly as I think it should be. I should turn it (and the other Christians) over to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I am not always the only one hearing from God.”
We are to be reconciled one to another and the only way to do this is to seek to repair any harm that may prevent the restoration of Christian relationships. Friends are special; friends are necessary; friends deserve our honesty. Is there someone you need to reach out to? Do this with the love of Christ in the utmost part or your mind. And remember, Jesus chose to forgive us before we even acknowledged our offense against Him. We should do the same for our Christian friends.