Summary: Unforgiveness is a trap that we’ve all been caught in at one time or another. This series attempts to help people find release people from the trap.

Baiting the Trap

Series: Escaping the Trap of Unforgiveness

July 9, 2006

What I’m going to be talking to you about the next 4 weeks, is possibly the most important confrontation with truth that you’ll ever have! Not because I’m preaching it, but because of the subject we’re going to deal with. With that in mind, I want you just to pause with me for a moment and pray a special prayer. Asking God to open your heart and mind to His truth. “Father, in the name of Jesus, I ask that you would expose any hidden areas of my heart that have hindered me from knowing Your and serving You more effectively. I welcome the conviction of Your Spirit and ask for Your grace to carry out what you desire of Me. Amen.”

The issue of “offense”, is probably the most difficult obstacle that you and I will ever face and overcome. Jesus’ disciples witnessed incredible great and powerful miracles. They watched in amazement as they saw Jesus make blind eyes see, paralyzed legs walk, raging seas calmed, and thousands fed with only a few loaves and fish. On more than one occasion, they even saw Jesus raise people from the dead! But, even though they witnessed all of these remarkable miracles, they were pushed them to the brink of doubt like when Jesus told them in Luke 17:3-5 that (READ) When they heard that, their immediate response was... “Lord, increase our faith!”

They didn’t cry out for greater faith to do miracles... but when the simple command was given to forgive... they knew they were out of their league! Do we have anybody here today who has ever tried to catch a mouse in a mouse trap? (may I see your hands? Hmm... very few women. I wonder why?). Do we have any bear trappers here? Well, if you’ve ever tried to trap an animal... you know that there are 2 things you need to have if you’re going to be successful.... ( I hear!) The first thing you need is a bear to trap… and then you need to make sure that the trap is hidden from view.

It has to be camouflaged in the hope that some unsuspecting animal will stumble onto it. The 2nd thing you need is bait. The bait is used to lure the animal into the traps deadly jaws. Now, Satan (the enemy of our souls) is a good trapper and he uses both of these strategies as he lays out his most deceptive and deadly traps. They’re hidden... and they’re baited! And one of Satan’s most deceptive and insidious kinds of “traps”... is something that every person here has encountered... OFFENSE. The “trap of offense”... When you’ve been caught in the “trap of offense” you become offended at something someone has said or done to you... When that happens, it severs relationships, causes divisions, splits churches, and imprisons countless Christians in it’s jaws.

Jesus warned us about this trap in Luke 17:1... (READ) Jesus doesn’t say you ‘might’ get offended… He says you WILL be offended. It’s impossible for you not to be offended at some point in your life. (turn to your neighbor, say, “You will be offended”. ) It’s not a matter of “will” you be offended... it’s just a matter of WHEN!

Read my lips... everyone of you here this morning will be offended at something someone says or does to you at one pt. or another in your life. And if it hasn’t happened to you yet... check your pulse...because there’s a doubt in my mind that you’re really alive!

It may come from a parent. Perhaps a family member, a brother or a sister... It may come from a co-worker, from a fellow church member... from your pastor... but Jesus is warning us... IT WILL COME! I want you to be real brave right now…how many of you either have been offended in the past by someone, or you’re offended at someone right now ? (Would you be honest enough to raise your hand?) Now look around you folks! Wow! What a loving place to be! No... Seriously... do offenses occur in churches? You better believe it! If you don’t... hang around awhile! Even in as loving and warm a congregation as we have here... it happens! That’s because, as Jesus says... it’s impossible for it NOT to happen!

So the real question becomes ... what are you going to do when it happens? Because listen to me very closely... How you respond to an offense will determine your future and a the future of a lot of people around you, including your kids! I know of a number of people, good people, God fearing, church attending people… who after they got offended never darkened the door of a church for the rest of their lives... and I might add, will regret it eternally in their next life! This is serious stuff folks! It has the potential of leading you away from God!

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