Leon Fontaine - Don't Take The Bait
The word "offense" in the Greek is the word "skandalon". Skandalon also is the word for the bait in a trap. You know, we had a problem with racoons in our house and so this guy came by and put this trap out. It was kind of 2 feet by 2 feet square cage and so, and there's food in there. That's the bait. The animal crawls into the cage. It starts eating the bait and all of a sudden, bam. The door closes behind it and while it's eating its bait it is trapped. The bait of Satan if you wanna know, put at this. The bait the enemy is after you for is to get you offended. In fact, we cover a lot of this.
There's two things Jesus says that if you're a Christian and you're offended. There are two things you will continually struggle with. We talk about things like, when you reach out and you take, and you choose to be offended, often you feel you have a right because you have been hurt. Someone has sinned against you. And we showed you Word in Jesus teaching that the sin against you is not as bad as your reaction. And that if you do not forgive and you hold on to that sin and you hold on to the bitterness and you're offended by it. That this thing will destroy your marriage, your life, every area.
There are people who have been trained in offense. Families for generations are expert at offense. They'll be offended at everything from what you say, from how you tilt your head, to not shaking their hand, to what you don't invite them to, what you do invite them to. There are people who have lived and been raised up in offense and it has gone generational. And after 40 years of preaching and I've watched families. I have watched whole family disintegrate when God's desire is that every generation become stronger and greater and bigger numerically, financially. I mean, spiritually, emotionally better. I want my kids be better at everything that I do.
So this is a huge topic. It is what is destroying the body of Christ. And when you are presented a trap, it is when someone sins against you, someone offense you, someone hurts you. Don't think for a minute it's about that sin. It's about that person's sin. You are being baited and the bait is the trigger of that trap. You know, I helped an old trapper when I turned 12 on his trap lines. He just needed someone to help mount and he taught me conibear traps, leg traps, all the different kinds of traps, snares and there's always a trigger.
And once you hit that trigger, bam! That snap. It just poof! The trap is finished. And it's like my straps, you know. Bear traps are horrid things. If a man steps into a bear trap, you'll never open it. In fact, you probably die because the blood lose would be brutal. That trap gets you and holds you. It keeps you there. And everyone of us including me, this is the thing I will need to be very aware of the rest of my life. That when someone sins against me, trespasses against me, passes a boundary on me, hurts me emotionally, takes away from me, sins against me. That's not the worst thing that's about to happen.
The worst thing that's about to happen is my response. And if I reach out and I grab the bait of offense, skandalon, I will live in a place that is bad. People who live in offense are people who have a hard time getting God's promises to happen in their life. They can grow in the Word here. They can learn the Word. They can be very smart, very intelligent. They can regurgitate the Word. They just can't get it to happen in their lives. Relationships in people who have learned to live in offense and have never dealt with it, their relationships will never prosper. This people usually have lousy marriages, kids who wanna leave and get a job some place else. They won't have friends because they've always got a reason. That friends just hurt me, friends just do this, friends just do that, meaning that they're so easily offended. I'm offended. That to have a relationship with them is to live in that constant offense.
So people find it easier to declare them in their own mind not a safe person and they're not. There are people today I will not hang out with, who I used to hang out with because I cannot afford the constant non-stopping offense that they have, and they tried to bring it into my life. They're offended at that person now they want me on their side. And on and on this list it goes. Experiencing love from someone who lives in offense is impossible. They don't know how to feel and sense love. You can love them til the cows come home and they'll never experience love because they live in offense.
They'll never be able to show love to the degree they want to because love is a foreign concept unless it's earned, unless you stay out of all the triggers for their offense. It will become generational. You will train your kids to be offended and you wonder why they don't have great friendships, why they don't have great marriages, homes. Entire people groups can live in offense. There are nations that have been done bad against by another nation and some of the leaders of that nation will turn the entire nation into a place of anger, to be offended at them thinking they're causing everyone to rise up.
Many politicians will try to get offense to take place in their TV commercials. Get you offended about something because then they can rally people around them. And it's easy for leaders to rally people around offense and almost every politician, not all, almost will do that and what they don't realize is that they'll turn in a second against them when they have an offense there because they're learning to live in offense whole nations, whole people groups. Yet John 10:10 says that Jesus said I am come that you might have life, and that you might have life more abundantly. He talks about a peace that passes understanding, a joy that is unspeakable and full of glory, a love that is so incredible that people live in this love, show this love, enjoy this love.
And over the years I've seen entire families just grow and I watched his kids rise up and serve God and marry with wisdom. They have kids and generation after generation. These generational blessings follow them because they've learned this skill. Your marriage, your family will not survive. It will not be what God has called it to be if you do not understand how the enemy is trying to tempt you to take the bait. Hebrews 12:15 says, "Exercise foresight, be on the watch to look after one another, to see that no one falls back, fails to secure God's grace His unmerited favor and spiritual blessing, in order that no root of resentment, rancor, bitterness, hatred shoots forth and causes trouble and bitter torment, and the many become contaminated and defiled by it".
There's nothing worse than an offended Christian. They're spiritually alive. They know how to take God's Word and twist it. They know how to make you feel guilty. They know how to make you feel whatever and everything around them begins to become contaminated. We must be trained by God's Word. We must have a relationship with Jesus so that we can discern between good and evil. "Well, Leon. That's easy". No, it's not evil. I mean, no, it's not easy. So many people will see something happen to them and think they have a right. This person has sin against me. I have a right.
Listen, Jesus taught us that the sins that you remit or that you let go of, are let go of. The sins that you hang on to. I'm sorry. They're hanged on to. And it's not that person sin. It's you. That person sinned against you. They hurt you. And if you would have just let it go and forgiven, it would have been okay. But instead, instead, you got offended and now you're in the trap. You'll need supernatural power to get out. You'll never grow a business that will last. Anyone can grow and succeed for a while. The issue is how long can you do it. Anybody can be a Hollywood star. How many of them can last very long? Anyone can have lots of money. Will it last to different problems? Will it last marriage issues and divorces and lawsuits?
I mean, success in its little short bubble anyone seems to be able to have it in certain areas. But the Bible promises success where the blessing of the Lord maketh rich in every area of your life and there is no sorrow added to it. This is the promise that we need in our generations and in our families. The Bible says very clearly in Hebrews 5, if you're taking notes, 12 to 14. It talks to us about growing up. It says, "For even though by this time you ought to be teaching others". See, every one of you here, the reason you should be learning the Word, getting here taking notes, buying those CDs, and getting when you did. It's because you are called to teach others.
Leon, you're the preacher. No, no, no. You got to teach your spouse. You got to teach others. You got to look after your kids, your grandkids. The people that ask you, you know, for the hope that lies within you. You got to have answers. So, for even though by the time you ought to be teaching others, you actually need someone to teach you over again the very first principles of God's Word. You have come to need milk, not solid food. My dad and mom are pastors. My dad went to be with Jesus a few years ago. He had a saying, it's helped me a lot. He said, "I don't mind bottle feeding Christians. I just don't like parting their whiskers to get the bottle in".
In other words, when you've been in God's Word for any length of time, there's got to be a maturity that rises up within you. He says, for everyone who continues to feed on milk is inexperienced, unskilled in the doctrine of righteousness, of conformity to the divine will, in purpose, thought, action. He is saying, you won't understand righteousness or get it to work. You won't know God's divine will, His divine purposes. You won't walk in His thoughts. You won't get His actions to go in your life because you're just a mere infant. How long have you known Jesus? How well have you studied His Word? Study to show yourself approved unto God. There's so much to learn, to equip yourself with, your families, your kids, your generations.
Verse 14, "But solid food is for full-grown men". They use the word men interchangeably for men and women. "For those whose senses and mental faculties are trained by practice to discriminate and distinguish between what is morally good and noble and what is evil and contrary either to divine or human law". Satan's best trap against you is to get you offended. Offended Christians feel like they have a right to be offended. You never have a right to be offended. Offense was not in the garden until they fell. It was not a part of human psyche, human interrelationships. Offense is something that is demonic. Offense is something the enemy has brought into this world. And when you mess with offense or when you take the bait and you get offended, he has got you. And the Bible very clearly says he's trapped you.
2 Timothy 2:24, "The servant of the Lord must not be quarrelsome, fighting, contending. Instead, he must be kindly to everyone, mild-tempered preserving the bond of peace. He must be a skilled and suitable teacher". Okay. He must be, and this is every servant of the Lord. You are all to be skilled at teaching God's Word to people around you. It says, you must be patient, forbearing, willing to suffer wrong. Verse 25, "He must correct his opponents with courtesy, gentleness, in the hope that God may grant that they will repent and come to know the Truth that they will perceive and recognize and become accurately acquainted with and acknowledge it, and that they may come to their senses and escape out of the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him, henceforth to do His will".
The Bible says in James, they have become a fountain that now spews out bitter water. In the decades that I've been preaching, I had the opportunity to see does the Word work in families, marriages, homes. And like I said, I have seen whole families and generations deteriorate and just break up. I've seen others, you know, that doesn't mean they haven't had problems. Every family had seasons where things are gonna attack you. The Bible says that offenses are coming. You know, you live in a real world. If you've got a business, someone working for you is gonna want it or go start their own. If you know, if you've got friends, someone will become jealous and envious and talk about you and try to hurt your reputation.
So we've got to learn to deal with our pride about God's Word. Some people don't know how to sit and remove their pride and just go, "Teach me". You see, if somebody has to be perfect and you have to agree 100% with them before you gonna listen to them. You're never gonna change. You can listen to a young preacher. You can listen to a preacher from a different denomination that doesn't get what we get. If you will listen, Holy Spirit will teach you something every time. It's interesting. I'll get done church service and people will shake my hand. I get this quite a bit. Sorry if you're here but, they'll say, "That was a great message pastor. It was a good reminder. It was a good reminder".
Now, what they're saying is, "You taught me nothing. I knew this already. But I'm glad. It's a reminder". And they sat there, and listened and Holy Spirit didn't have the ability to teach them anything new. I wonder whose problem that is. Galatians chapter 5 talks about people like this. Listen to some of the symptoms and I'm gonna do about half of them. It says here that then people who are self-centered, selfish, fleshly which doesn't mean a different nature. It just means they can be born again, have the nature of Christ but their brain is focused on self-centered fleshly stuff. It says here that they will be hateful people, hostile, and antagonistic. They're always making trouble. It says here that they're always sowing discord. There's strife everywhere they go. They're always jealous of people who succeed rather than do it yourselves. They're angry. They have rage. Rage is when you, it's uncontrolled anger. Everybody's got anger.
The Bible says be angry and sin not. I've got the ability to be angery and people don't wanna see it. So I usually can control it. But rage is when you can't control it. It's just explodes up everywhere and no one wants to be around you because you are an uncontrolled angry person. Then it talks about this kind of people. They're selfish. When you're selfish, there's always rivalries going on around you. You make people angry with each other. Not only that you can get people, but you'll can make people angry, like a whispering it separates cheap friends. It could cause dissensions, divisions among people, factions. And then it goes on talking about sex parties, drunkenness, alcohol. Christians are capable going on in all these directions. But the church of Jesus Christ if we are maturing in the Word, then we ought to be able to deal with this issue of offense.
Do not get offended. According to the Word, offended people are always two things. They're always proud and they're always victims. Ever notice that? And try to put this two together. This pride and then they're victims. All offended people fall into two categories. Those who have been treated unjustly and those who think they have been treated unjustly and they don't have the right information. Okay, either way you have no right to be offended. And when you get offended, you are now in the trap of Satan. You are doing his bidding. You are living out and destroying the things around you, instead of growing. I can't make this look evil enough for you. We think evil is the sin that was perpetuated against you.
You know, as a young pastor years ago. You know, now that I got older and I got a few grey hair is less, but it never stops. There's always somebody taking you on. Always someone lying about you. Always someone taking you down, backstabbing you. I mean, I have death threats and attempts. You name it. It's always somebody and it's the talking and it's the people who love you and said they were with you and then they and boy, there're so many chances to get offended. And I had to learn this simple, is this in fact very profound these three services because I had to learn. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Isn't there a kid's song, Let It Go? All the mom saying, "Yeah"! Let it go.
Do not make that so important that you internalize it because you're gonna have opportunities every day to be offended. And the greatest offenses will come from the people you love the most because you're opening your heart to your spouse this wide, to your parents, your kids, your sons-in-law, daughters-in-law. And when your heart, to whom your heart is open up wide to in love, can be opened up that wide too in hate. The people who hate the most usually come out of a relationship where they have loved so openly and have never developed the skill of keeping offense out of the relationship. And so we must, whether it is a just, whether someone has treated you poor and you think you have the right or not.
Offense is not what you want. Offense is a stronghold and it controls you. I believe, and I can prove it to you if I took another three hours and just give you verse after verse. I believe that when the enemy gets you offended, that you are now in his control. All of the symptoms and the adjectives that the Bible talks about do not come from heaven. They do not come from the blessing. They're all in the curse side and it doesn't mean the curse has the right to come against you. It just means that all sorts of stuff begins to mess up your life. In Proverbs 18:19 says this, "A brother offended is harder to be won over than a strong city, Proverbs 18:19, and their contentions separate them like the bars of a castle".
When you deal with somebody that you know or that you love, and they are offended, and they've taken the bait, okay. You will not be able to change their heart. So if you have to do something. If you actually did something, then ask for forgiveness. If you haven't done anything, stop chasing them around like a chicken with your head chopped off trying to win them back, win them back. If they're offended, then they made a mistake of taking that offense. They've stepped into the offense. They've taken the bait, skandalon. They are trapped by the enemy not by you. You have done nothing. And even if you did do something, that they were still forbidden to be offended.
I have watched people just sucked up to people and chasing them around their whole lives trying to make up for what. You do not have the ability to offend me. Offense is not something you can give me. Offense is something I create and take. Immature Christians are the ones who get offended. I don't care if you've been serving God for 40 years. You get offended, you're immature. You're immature. Immature Christians will stay offended their entire life. Every relationship that gets around them can get contaminated so you gotta be careful about picking up their offense because they'll tell you about somebody around them and get you offended against them, too. I made a decision in my life and that is you can't turn me against anybody. I will meet them, and I will judge them on my... I don't need your judgment. I will meet them, and I will decide on what's going on because there's always somebody who's got something to say about another person.
And churches had become cesspools in many cases of people with no ability to develop relationships and they stay immature. If you don't teach them how, you get offense. Once you got offense, you got a whole church place. You got a whole problem. I mean, families and husbands and wives. You said this about my wife and a man just rises up. You did what in my family and my kid. God Lord it's a mess. And so to teach, there's a place of rest. There's a place of peace. There's a place of maturity. There's a place for God's Word works. There's a place where you can grow up and just back away. And when people sin against you or try to get you involved in an offense that you refuse.
And when you do it, you just do it in a loving way and say, "Hey, bro, I love you both. And, you know, I don't even know what's wrong with them, but I know that just going by stacks there'll be something wrong with both of you, so I just opt out. There's something wrong with me. And so we can always work on this as long as we stay out of offense. But to get into offense is allows Satan to get involved in my generations, my health, every area of my life, finances, etcetera and so I refuse. I'll pray for you. I love you".
And, you know, these kinds of things are crucial to the body of Christ. Jesus has so much to say about things like getting involved in the offense of another. That, you know, that you gossip. Why is that listed with murder? Because you can kill somebody, or you can murder that relationship, so they're finished for the rest of their lives of having a relationship. That's the thing that we say, the words. We can drive people to offense. We can say things that bring offense.
When we're offended, we contaminate people with our offense. I opted out. And boy, do I have to work at it. So if I have to work at it, you know, maybe a lot of you are better than me. But I still think you're gonna have to work at it. You're gonna have to know this and every time someone hurt you, sins against you, comes against you. You're gonna have to make a decision that I'm not, I'm not. I'm letting it go. I'm not gonna, you know, you can grab. Say this is boiling water that is just poured into this cup and I grab. The Bible says that offense is you hold on to it. Now, you're burning. Jesus heal me. Oh, take the pain away. Take the pain away. Take the pain away. Let go. It hurt so much. Jesus, help me. Let go! How much in our lives are we gonna hang on to as offense?