Free from Offenses
In the beginning of this year, I read the book, The Bait of Satan (Living Free From the Deadly Trap of Offense) by John Bevere. It's one of the most powerful books I've read.
Best For: People that may be experiencing a wall in their relationship with God and not sure why; people that want to know how to deal with people and past situations that have offended them; people that want to develop healthy, loving relationships; people that want to grow in their walk with God
Overview: John Bevere shares how offenses are the breeding ground for the enemy. They entrap us. John powerfully reveals the truth of God in regards to offenses. He exposes how we fall in to this trap and also offers hope in how to avoid it. His last chapter focuses on the objective of reconciliation. We must deal with our offenses in order to move forward in our relationship with God and to have healthy, strong relationships with others. The book conveys John’s personal stories, those of others, and how God helped them release their offenses to God. As a result, great things happened in their lives. Every chapter has a testimony of how God used this book to help someone deal with a heart of unforgiveness. There is a thirty day devotional at the back of the book as well as a thirty minute DVD sermon by the author.
Some of John Bevere’s points in the book are:
- · What is an offense?
- · The consequences of holding onto offenses
- How an offense leads to betrayal
- · Dealing with offenses that come from our father and father figures
- · The power of being rooted in the Word of God
- Reconciliation is our goal
- · How trials in life serve to expose our hearts and either lead to our growth or bitterness
“The truth remains: Only those you care about can hurt you. You expect more from them-after all, you’ve given more of yourself to them. The higher the expectations, the greater the fall.”
“A believer who chooses to delight in the Word of God in the midst of adversity will avoid being offended. That person will be like a tree whose roots search deep to where the Spirit provides strength and nourishment. He will draw from the well of God deep within his spirit. This will mature him to the point where adversity will now be the catalyst for fruit.”
“One way the enemy keeps a person in an offended state is to keep the offense hidden, cloaked with pride.”
“I often say that trials and tests locate a person. In other words, they determine where you are spiritually. They reveal the true condition of your heart. How you react under pressure is how the real you reacts.”
“It is unrighteous for us as children of God to avenge ourselves. But that is exactly what we are seeking when we refuse to forgive. We desire, seek, plan, and carry out revenge. We will not forgive until the debt is paid in full, and only we can determine the acceptable compensation. When we seek to correct the wrong done to us, we set ourselves up as judges.”
My Application: I was reading this book and feeling pretty good about myself. No one was coming to mind that I was offended at. I was feeling pretty happy. Yes, I can get through this without having to deal with my heart. HA! That’s what I thought! When I read, I usually write down quotes and thoughts that stand out to me in a journal. After the page where I had taken some notes, I flipped it over in my journal, and I had written about the breakthrough that God gave me in an anger issue! The whole time I was reading the book, God was trying to soften the soil of my heart in order to expose the deeper issue. I thank God He did.
Well, one day I was seething in anger over things that people close to me were not doing that they should be doing, or things that people were doing that they should not be doing. I was angry at myself for feeling anger towards people and circumstances, as well as feeling powerless to change myself. I could not take it! So many things were bothering me. It built up, and I began to write down everything that I was angry about. My list came to 17 things in a matter of minutes! I wanted to be free from this bondage of anger and felt so powerless to get a breakthrough in it. I didn’t want to live with all these things tormenting me. I wanted to be a free, joyful person again.
I prayed that God would help me. I called my pastor, who is also my father-in-law, and talked to him about this. I didn’t read him my list; I didn’t need to. He said something that rocked my world.
He said, “Usually we are angry at people because we do those very same things ourselves!”
I knew that God wanted me to go down my list and repent of being angry at each issue I had written down on paper. But, after repenting for being angry with each one, I prayed that God would forgive me for having that same issue in my heart. For example, I prayed that God would forgive me for being angry for people not wanting God in their life. And then I repented for not wanting God in my life. Yes, there are times in my life where I feel tempted to want my own way and not God’s way.
This set me free from being angry with people and situations I was in. It did something powerful as well. God was able to give me compassion for each person and situation. It helped me to see that I am not perfect. I am a sinner. I need Jesus. I am messed up too. I need God’s forgiveness, grace and mercy.
In the book, John talks about being the “judge” over people when we are angry. I learned that I am not a good judge, and God does a much better job at it. I had to release people to God so that He could move in their life. It gave me compassion for these people. I agree with John Bevere when he said, “A person who cannot forgive has forgotten the great debt for which they were forgiven. When you realize that Jesus delivered you from eternal death and torment, you will release others unconditionally.”
My Thoughts: John Bevere’s book is the best one I have ever read on the topic of anger and offenses. Hearing all the personal stories and testimonies brought so much hope to me. If God could help that person, surely He can help me if I allow Him to. John’s message could be summed up when he said, “…forgive as God does, without limits.” In conclusion, he summarized 3 steps to healing:
1) Recognize I’m hurt/offended.
2) Pray for the person that offended you.
3) Pray things for them you want God to do for YOU.
I pray you will get a copy of this book and read it. I believe this is one of THE MOST important books you could ever read. It will change your thinking. It will change your life. It changed mine.