As I began to read The Bait of Satan, I knew in my heart I was in for a life lesson though I didn’t know which one. As I was reading, I knew in my heart that I was not offended by anyone, but as I turned the pages, I quickly learned that I was easily offended—by everyone.
In my disbelief, God spoke to me. I don’t know how God talks to you, but this is how God talks to me: “Sweet darling, flesh of My flesh, love of my love, you will run out of strength and waste precious time if you remain in offense. Now is the time to let go and simply love—like I asked you to do.
Love like I asked you to do? That thought stayed with me as I continued reading. I learned Satan creeps around and lures in our offense. But God warned us about this in Galatians 5:13-15 (NIV), which says,
"You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.”
This verse identifies the bait of Satan!
The Devil wants us to be offended by every little thing so he can insidiously find his way into our heart, leaving little room for love. Satan makes his home in the disgust and anger that resides in our heart. When we’re offended, we have little desire to serve one another, to think about and do good things for others. My friend, Satan is winning!
Let us live by the Spirit—not provoking one another. The Bible says the following in Galatians 5:22-26 (NIV):
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”
The times I feel offense creeping in, I quickly tune in my God-fearing mind and choose to love—not be offended. I know it’s not me personally that someone is having issue with; it’s my belief in the God I serve.
I’m not talking about being a doormat and not standing up for yourself or others; rather, I’m talking about choosing to let go of things you have no right to be offended by. You don’t deserve anything. I know that is hard to hear and harder to write, but you really don’t. You enter this life at a cost already paid by Jesus. Everything is a gift, and you and I both know we’re undeserving of His great gift of love. So, the mindset starts to change into one of gratitude and awareness of what God has already done and does for us daily.
I want to share an example to further this mindset. I happen to be what I call a sky watcher—one who derives great joy from cloud gazing. For nearly five years before I lived in the middle of a forest only seeing trees, looking at the sky through what appeared to be a kaleidoscope of trees and blurred sunshine, I lived in the thick forest of Suamico, Wisconsin. Now, I’ve trained myself to make it a point to look up and enjoy the clouds. The same application applies to not taking offence.
Make the God-fearing and life-giving choice not to be offended by every little thing. Stand out for Jesus in love. If believers are being offended by every little thing from other believers and even to nonbelievers (who probably don’t know better), who will want to hear anything about the good news that Jesus asks us to go into the world and share? If we believers are offended daily, who would really want to become like us?
Satan has us right where he wants us when we are offended! I cannot imagine believers’ taking offense with each other’s stance on Jesus Christ and the precious Word of God. If you are taking offense to how others—even other Christians—are living or what they’re saying, lead the way by example. Show others exactly what you want from them. If it is to speak up about something, show them how (other than via social media) you are doing that. Show others what is needed. Lead by example—not by spouting out anger and condemning others for what appears to be non-action or even silence.
Choosing to become love and not being offended takes time and practice, and by no means have I perfected making this choice. I do find so much joy in choosing love.
Let me share one more example of choosing not to be offended. I was on a plane, chatting with the guy next to me in the middle seat (I felt sorry for him). We were really enjoying our conversation. I learned lots about him and shared quite a few laughs with him. As conversation is like a ping-pong game, he began asking questions about me. I started sharing some about myself, and two seconds into my sharing, the tables were turned! As soon as he heard I was a Christian writer, he was like a deer-in- the-headlights. He immediately began apologizing, saying, “I hope you didn’t take offense about my stories.” He started retracting everything he had said in the last twenty minutes.
“Don’t worry about it!” I said, “I enjoyed getting to know you.”
I could have chosen to be offended about a thousand times in our little twenty-minute conversation, but I chose to be love, and to listen and ultimately enjoy my new friend. In return, he paid me respect and listened attentively to my life. We had a few laughs along that route too.
Had I chosen to be offended, I would have missed the opportunity to become love and share about my Jesus journey. Had I chosen to be offended, the gospel of Jesus Christ would not have been shared. Had I chosen to be offended, I would have failed the reason God gave me life.
I’ve given my life to Jesus, and this life is not my own; therefore, I cannot be offended. I serve the King, and we should be concerned with His offence. And when I stumble and forget who I am and Whose I am, I pull down God’s great big ear, and I tell Jesus all about my heartache. He hears me, mends me, reminds me who I am, and how I am supposed to love.
Now, don’t be confused and don’t worry one second about offending anyone when you are prompted by the Holy Spirit to speak the truth for Jesus. I speak the truth of Jesus Christ at the risk of offending others, and I’m perfectly fine with that outcome. I am not trying to win the approval of others; I am simply doing what God created me to do—complete the works that were created in advance for me to do (Ephesians 2:10). And for me, that is to let the truth rip like a newsboy on every corner! Challenge accepted!
This life isn’t my battle; I have the privilege of playing a part in it. If I stay unoffended, I will reach more people. If I stay unoffended, I will be peaceful. If I stay unoffended, my heart will remain in Jesus. I start to slowly become love—like He asked me to.
Satan wins every time he divides the believers of Jesus Christ! Don’t let offense and anger get a foothold in your thinking, actions or life. Call it out quickly and fall on your knees and face before the Lord for even having contempt in your heart for anyone, let alone another believer. Fall on your face before the Lord and beg Him to show you your offenses. Take this step to push back Satan and walk forward without offense into becoming love for Jesus. Time is fleeting, and I pray daily, “Come Lord Jesus! We need You now!” Don’t take the bait! Simply love. Breathe in. Breathe out. As a fence to keep out offense, build a wall of gratitude in your heart for every last little thing that you have been given.