Escaping the Trap
He's doing math. And what I mean by that is I'm always think you know how many more days until a search to cool off.
And I have been on so many websites looking at the daily average temperature in Phoenix and I almost have it memorized for the entire year but did you know that soon as September rolls around we dropped ten degrees from September to the first of October the average of the high by ten degrees and then again another ten degrees from October first through October thirty first so in about zero from now it's going to hit the off button on the oven.
It's going to take a while for it to kind of cool off but we're almost there so so we can we can look forward to that and you know I have come to a lot of Arizona I can even say that I love the seasons you know we have to endure the summer but I look I was so look forward to the fall I think fall here in Arizona is probably the most beautiful place in the entire country but as long as we've lived here I really truly love Arizona I love the geography and of all the places that I've grown to love there's one of particular many of you probably love this place too it's called.
The gray ended Canyon how I have been to the Grand Canyon raise your hand oh good most of you OK the rest of you shame on you you need to know now it's.
Back in December of zero six Kritzinger.
Or the last names of the bakers and Michelle one of the older kids older siblings a little a couple years older than Kristen she moved here to Phoenix and so on they said hey why don't you guys come over and we will talk to you and we'll kind of have someone that you can you can talk
and Mark is a
go take pictures obviously the Grand Canyon and so he showed us some pictures and is the very first person to start talking to me about all the different hikes that you can do in the Grand Canyon and he's the first person and I've heard other people talk about it since and you've heard me talk about sense but he's the first person who told me that there is these crazy people who decide to hike from the south rim of the Grand Canyon all the way down over the river to the north rim of the Grand Canyon it's called a rim to rim.
You guys are crazy and he says there's all these different hikes and he said that a rim to rim is actually more difficult than running a marathon and I had never done either so I believe in whatever I've done both sense and it is a rim to rim is harder than running a marathon and he also said that some people who need to be checked out psychologically will decide to go from the south rim to the north rim and back and that's called a rim to rim to rim and he said one time he did that he hiked up to the north rim and then he hiked he hiked over to the hotel is only one hotel on the north rim he stayed there the night he woke up the next morning and he came back and he was telling me how difficult and how painful that was. And it planted the seed in one hundred six twisted mind I thought that sounded so cool I would love to do that some day and so what I decided to do is I decided to not be one of those people who all go there some day I said I need to make plans I need to go hiking the Grand Canyon and so later that year we had some friends from Michigan they came down and they said hey we'd like to visit you and so this is November I think of zero seven and they said well we're here in Arizona we want to go to the Grand Canyon I said oh great let's do a hike and so I did my research and I decided not to be a crazy person who goes from one side to the other and I said well there's this other hike it's called a plateau point it's about halfway down literally halfway down into a canyon and about halfway as far as ovation at six miles down and six miles back some other twelve mile round trip that's still it's still a pretty pretty good hike and so my friend Wally and I we got to the Grand Canyon with our families and and I just remember I can still write you know how in time you know first experience it's always the most special and you never forget but I remember sitting there on the Grand Canyon and looking at it and thinking oh we're going to go inside of it tomorrow and so we wake up in the morning and we start hiking down into the Grand Canyon and I'll never forget how exciting it was every time we got to a switchback we. Just look at a new view and all while Look at that view all this is great when you go to the next which back in you don't it is all this is great and every time you go to a switchback you're just there's more and more that you want to see and you're so excited you have all this energy and more importantly you're walking down hill but you made great speed and great time and eventually we got past in gardens then we made it out to pot to a point and I are and I'll never forget the first time we're getting towards the edge and then I heard for the first time the Colorado River a couple thousand feet below it was just echoing off the canyon walls and I remember getting to the ledge and it wasn't like a sheer drop off but I think it's about another fifteen hundred two thousand feet I'm not one hundred percent sure aperture you're standing there and you're looking at it and it was the first time that I had I kind of had mice first spiritual experience in the Grand Canyon you just looking around and thinking I am so small and this this creation is just so beautiful and so we had a few moments were down there to a point we had some water we had some food and we looked at each other and we said you had enough all right dreaded to head back and it was at that point that we did one of these we looked up all the way up the river oh no we've got to get out here we have to actually get up there out of the room and on our way down we had seen a whole bunch of signs and the sign said this hotshot down is optional. It isn't mandatory and so true in the Grand Canyon it's fine it's easy to go down but guess what you got to get back out you have you have to turn around and you have to walk out and so I remember as we're starting to walk out and thinking oh man this is this is a chore this is going to take a lot of work to get out I remember really the importance of those signs and for those of you who've been to GRANT KING. And you probably noticed lots of tourists there from different countries and the first time that we were there this November maybe they had some tour group from China because there was a whole bunch of Chinese teenagers boys and girls who were like down the three mile rest house in flip flops with just one bottle of water.
Are they doing Didn't they read the signs are not Chinese so maybe they couldn't do better I don't know but I know exactly what happened is they got to the Grand Canyon they look at the big hole they see the trailhead Bright Angel Trail head they said hey we see people walking down there hey let's go down and so they go down to one switch back and they've got plenty of energy I mean it's downhill and they said hey let's go to the next one and before they know it there are a mile and a half down there three miles down and they're fools because eventually they've got to turn around and a lot of people over the years have got caught up in going down hill into the Grand Canyon not realizing how much effort it takes to get out and they get stuck. And that's why God created helicopters.
To pick up people to get stuck in the Grand Canyon I'm actually going to sit well guided and create the only I guess you can create a helicopter but you know the last time I was there in this last May when we got to the three mile rest house and I don't know how to say this in a good way there was someone who is losing their long as they were just throwing up a violently and it was pretty sad and as we were hiking out one of the park rangers lying by Has down to a three mile rest house and about a half hour later we heard the blades of the helicopter and went down and probably picked up a person up there that we was having a hard time but that's the danger of something is beautiful as the Grand Canyon it's easy to go down it's beautiful it's exciting but at some point you realize what did I get myself into. With.
About one of Satan's strategies to get us caught up in thinking about fleshly things and that is to get us to be offended and so a couple looking at and trying to define what is the trap that Satan uses I'm using the book of the bait of Satan from John Vere and he talked about how those the offense are being offended as one of the traps
about what is the bait and the bait is when someone offends us what happens is were offended and there's this chain reaction that takes place in our in our minds in our hearts were offended by what someone else said or what they did to us and then a whole bunch of emotions are released inside of our hearts and our minds and sometimes those emotions are anger bitterness resentment whatever it is and then as soon as those emotions are released then we have two different pathways that we can go down to the first one is this we looked at last week the first pathway is to do Satan's will and Satan's will for all of us is not that we're all going to become murderers or C. These are things that.
For us to get so caught up in the things of the flesh that we won't be able to be used by God for spiritual or spiritual purposes and so that's the first path that someone will go down after they've been offended after all those emotions have been released the second path which is the one that we want to go down is where God It refines us and we know what is happening we know we've been offended and yet we say God it's not good for me to mix into my heart this anger and this bitterness and so God says that he refines us he draws out those negative emotions and he keeps our heart soft impure Well today what we're going to do is we're going to talk about what we do when we find out that we went down the wrong path. What do we do when we find out where the bottom of the Grand Canyon and we can't get out and say What in the what how did I get here and so today is all about escaping the trap once we realize that we have been sucked into it and so this morning what I want to do because this is a church and I'm a preacher many of you three things are right he's got to come in threes three main steps and I will say this at the onset you're not going to hear anything new or magical about how to get yourself out of the bait of Satan or the trap of Satan it's going to be exactly what you're expecting to hear but sometimes we just need to be reminded that doing the right things sometimes is difficult but you have to commit yourself to and so the first thing that we need to do or the first step to help getting ourselves out of this trap that Satan has gotten us into is this the first step is to recognize that we took the bait. You have to recognize what's really going on and recognize that you took the bait that Satan had put out for you for you to be offended and don't you hate those moments in life where you realize you just went a little too far like especially with food you know how often do we have a couple pieces of pizza and then there's a third piece of pizza and then he said good I still got room you have a fourth piece of pizza and if you're the guy on. As one left I mean you can't just let that last piece of there so you have that an adventure like the old me or what did I do why did I do that that's what things giving is for we do that on Thanksgiving you know if you're going to Merican the hopefully we have those moments when it comes to spiritual issues where we recognize I know exactly what I've done I've taken the bait I've gone into this temptation and this is where I'm out for the prodigal we we use the example of the prodigal son a little bit ago there was a moment when he was feeding the pigs and it says that he longed for his belly to be filled with the pods that the pigs ate and has this wonderful phrase he said when he came to his senses.
That's a time that all of us need to come to in our lives where we we come to our senses and we realize the situation that we're in.
A passage that we looked at a couple times second Timothy two twenty four three twenty six Paul is teaching me to talk in a way that is not going to bring out more bait for people or a temptation of the trap and Paul A tells Timothy he says as the Lord servant you must not be quarrelsome but kind everyone able to teach patiently enduring evil correcting your opponents with gentleness and then he says God me perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth and then verse twenty six is the important one. And they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil after being captured by him to do His will and so God is telling Timothy you need to help people escape the trap of the devil after they come to their senses so how do we know that we need to escape the snare how do we know what are some cues that we can find in our life when we realize that we have been caught up into this one way that we can recognize that we are in a situation like this is if we can answer the question Who owes you. A debt.
That's kind of a real question is there anyone in your life that owes you a debt and I'm not necessarily talking about money but maybe in your mind someone owes you an apology.
Or someone deserves to be punished for what they did to you you know when a person holds an offense against another person it's a lot like someone owing a debt especially in the in the mind of the person who is offended the offended person feels like the offender must pay that debt whatever it is in order to be forgiven and this is what lawsuits are all about a person is wrong and so they sue and they hope that the court finds in their favor yes you are guilty you owe this as damages and here is the danger of allowing ourselves to fall into this trap of being offended it can put us in the mental and emotional prison of seeking revenge on another person. I don't know if you've ever lent money to a family member Dave Ramsey I think Dave Ramsey probably other people have said this it's best to never lend money to a family member or maybe should just you know give them a gift but don't let it be a loan and many many years ago probably I don't know how many years ago maybe sixteen years ago one of my one of my siblings one of my sisters she asked us for money and she said I think it was for a car payment and she was in a really bad situation and so we felt so sorry for her and we had we had a little money so we said OK we'll help you pay your car payment I can member what it was it was just maybe two or three hundred dollars or whatever it was and I remember she said OK I'm going to get paid at this time and I'll pay you back in and as soon as she owed me a debt my relationship with her changed it was kind of funny and for those of you have ever let money to a family member you know what I'm talking about but I remember there was one day I come maybe a couple days after I had let her borrow this money and she came back to the house and I think she had something like a coffee and maybe like a snack from the grocery store or from. From the gas station and I'm thinking Hullo Well you know sech a good how can you afford that you can't enjoy anything until you pay back my deli's I didn't say that you are but that's what I was thinking it's you know my dad that she owed me was the most important thing in my life that I imposed on her I said you can't enjoy life until you give me back what you owe me right and I remember at that moment I thought I hate this i hate thinking of other people this way that they owe me a debt I don't like being in that situation listen when we're offended by another person we go down that path that Satan wants us to go down when we view that person differently we view them as someone who owes us something and we will view most of their life through that lens you know there's many verses of talk about the emotions that we can feel towards another person and these are good indicators that we have we have taken this bait that we have fallen into this trap of saying a good one is the fetus Chapter four verse thirty one.
Says Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away for you along with all malice. If you're experiencing those feelings in those emotions a good reason why we feel those is because someone has offended us someone offended us we took the bait and we let all of those emotions sort of out of the bag out of our heart.
Another good verse is found in Hebrews twelve fifteen. Such a good verses says See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God and that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble and by it many become defiled I think that last phrase is important if you allow a root of bitterness to come in in your heart in your mind against another person. Then you could potentially become defiled that's exactly what this verse says you know here in Arizona we all hate weeds because they grow up in our nice rock gardens and you know you can you can see a weed just sitting there when's the best time to pull the weed right away right or maybe not Pole it spray and get the round up out and spray it and there are times we call them the monsoon season when you know the moisture comes out of the clouds and it hits the ground and we know when that happens in Arizona what's going to happen the weeds are going to pop up and so when you see that happen we should all be prepared the weeds are coming you get out your spray or get out there around and soon as you see it you attack it then is a better to attack a weed when it's this tall or when it's two feet tall obviously when it's small when it's small in the roots have not been established and yet when we're offended by other people sometimes if we take the bait of Satan we say I kind of like this route it feels good to feed it feels good to water this root of bitterness and we call that gossiping and did you hear what so and so did to me and we let the root grow and eventually like the verse says sometimes we can become defiled because we have gone too far down that road.
That's why we're told not to go to bed angry to go to bed angry with a certain person over a number of weeks that would have bitterness really has a chance to grow up if he's in it for twenty six we looked at this a couple weeks ago it says be angry and do not sin do not let the sun go down on your anger and give no opportunity to the devil Why do you think God tells us to knowledge the sun go down I think he's trying to say simply deal with it immediately if you have the root of bitterness sprouting up in your life against another person deal with this immediately well do you see all of this in your own life I mean this is obvious if you live long enough you deal with these situations all the time but hopefully as we go through life we are. Recognize this sooner and sooner in the process so is there anyone in your life I'm asking you this question rhetorical but seriously is rainy one in your life that you think about and say you know what. That person owes me they need to be punished for what they did. It could be a spouse former spouse it could be a family member it could be a coworker could be someone someone at church it could be anyone recognize that if you feel that way about another person you have taken the bait and you need to recognize that So so what do we do the first step is to escaping the trap is we recognize that we took the bait the second step is that we forgive the debt. You have to forgive the debt and by saying that you forgive the debt maybe a good way to describe this is you give up your right to receive the payment for the debt owed.
Instead of taking it upon yourself to say this person owes me something what you do is you transfer that right over to God and say God if you want to collect on this debt that's up to you but I'm releasing myself from the burden of trying to collect on this debt that's what we're told to do and when the child twelve verse nineteen Romans twelve thousand nine hundred says beloved never avenge yourselves but leave it to the wrath of God For it is written Vengeance is mine I will repay says the Lord and I want to.
Team that says how often should we invent your selves you know half the time and says this is never of yourselves but leave it to the wrath of God and I know this is very hard to do because as human beings we are wired for justice we want to see fairness and justice a couple of passages I want you to turn to they're too big to put on the screen so you got to open your Bibles first one has to Leviticus I know you don't go to Leviticus every week so I want you to make sure you get there this week Leviticus Chapter twenty four. Genesis Exodus numbers of a kiss. Very part of beginning part of the Bible Leviticus twenty four beginning in verse seventeen this is probably something that you have heard before Leviticus twenty four beginning in verse seventeen and this is a great passage were God is telling the nation of Israel when you have issues arise between you or another person and there is a loss a loss takes place this is how you resolve it and so this is a passage on on justice and fairness Leviticus twenty four beginning verse seventeen.
Says whoever takes a human life shall surely be put to death whoever takes an animal's life shall make a good life for life if anyone injures his neighbor as he has done it shall be done to him fracture for fracture eye for eye tooth for tooth and don't you wish you could go back in time and see if they ever actually did this you know someone knock out their tooth and say OK let's take that tooth out of like to see that says whatever injury he has given a person shall be given to him whoever kills an animal shall make it good and whoever kills a person shall be put to death that it's their right that's justice and people really really took it to heart and they made their heart just be defiled with roots of bitterness because of this and so Jesus teaches us something different go to Matthew chapter five.
Matthew chapter five biggie. In verse thirty eight.
Jesus getting into the spirit of the law not so much the latter because the Jews definitely focus too much on the letter of the law and Matthew chapter five beginning in verse thirty eight Jesus addressing the passage that we just read.
Matthew five thirty eight it says you have heard that it was said An eye for an eye and a choose for a tooth but I say to you do not resist the one who is evil but if anyone slaps you on the right she turned to him the other also and if anyone would sue you and take your tunic let him have your cloak as well and if anyone forces you to go one mile go with him two miles give to the one who begs from you and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you so here Jesus what he kind of does is the kind of eliminates the gray areas where we all hold grudges against each other in fact he says something along the lines of your attitude should be so far removed from avenging yourself that you in some way you willingly open yourself up to being taken advantage of again.
When did Jesus forgive us of our debt was it before or after we asked him to. He was before when he was on the cross in Luke twenty three thirty four it says Jesus said from the cross Father forgive them for they know not what they do. The apostle Paul tells us something important very similar in kolache three thirteen says bearing with one another and if one has a complaint against another for giving each other as the Lord has forgiven you so you also must forgive and so when we are offended what we want to do is make sure that the other person learns the lesson we want them to learn the lesson but God says you know I am a better teacher than you are let me teach them the lesson that they need to learn but God also says I forgive you. A greater debt than they'll ever O. you so you need to forgive and that me be the one who's going to collect on the debt if I choose to do that and so to skied this trap of the devil the first step is we recognize that we took the bait the second step is that we forgive the debt or we give the debt over to God and say God I'm putting it in your hands you can do with it what you want and then the third step is that we need to actually size forgiveness and this is a little bit different than the second one all right second point how easy is it for all of us to have a momentary emotional response of mercy or grace to somebody who did something wrong to us and we forgive them and they ask for forgiveness and and when everything is all great but what if they really didn't learn the lesson as fast as we wanted them to or to the extent that we wanted them to then what do we do do we Unforgiven them until they change their behavior and what how do we deal with that while this is a place that God does not want to go to and so he asks us and tells us to continually forgive a person and leave the results to him I want you to turn over to Luke Chapter seventeen. This is the passage that we first looked at when we were looking at the bait of Satan and this is kind of the main verse that it kind of launches from Luke Chapter seventeen beginning in verse one.
Luke seventeen beginning in verse one Jesus is speaking to His disciples and he says temptations to sin are sure to come but whoa to the one through whom they come and the word for Temptation is the Greek word scandal on which means an offense or the thing to which the bait in a trap is attached so in other words temptations or offenses or the temptation or the trap to sin are sure to come but whoa to the one to whom they come and then he gets to the relational aspect verse three. Pay attention to yourselves if your brother sins rebuke him and if you repents forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day and turns to you seven times saying I repent you must forgive him and of course the disciples said Oh that's easy God it will have no problem doing that no they didn't say that what they did is they responded by saying in verse five the Apostle said to the Lord increase our faith. That's hard to continue to forgive someone when justice has not been served and they have been brought up their entire life that there needs to be fairness and justice and so this is hard work and so maybe this is why the awesome God to increase their faith so what is easier What is your for us staying angry at someone and holding a grudge or forgiving them over and over and over again letting God avenge the wrong obviously forgiving over and over again you know the Apostle Paul said something very interesting in Acts Chapter twenty four this is up on the screen actually every twenty four verse sixteen Paul says. So I always take pains and that's not the verse twelve it's six OK I'll tell you what is X. twenty four sixteen it says so I always take pains to have a clear conscience towards both God and man and the word for take pains is literally somebody's going to hate this word so many think this is a swear word it literally means to exercise so Paula saying I exercise I literally put my faith into practice to have a clear conscience towards both God and man Paul only
spiritual shape to have the right kind of relationship with other people he need to practice the spiritual discipline of forgiveness and one way that you and I can do that is to continually forgive people when they ask for forgiveness or even when they don't is by being in control of our thoughts this is a verse I think all of us should have memorized released paraphrase in our own mind this is a fantastic verse seven Corinthians ten five it says we destroy arguments in every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God and take every thought captive to obey Christ you and I are taught that every time there is a thought that comes into our minds we stop and we ask ourselves where did this thought come from and we make it obedient to Christ and I'm doing a much better job at this today than I did twenty years ago in thirty years ago but every now and then and I know you go through this through a thought will come through my mind it's usually a bad thought and I may be someone poles in front of me your address as I'm driving or someone does something I think is ridiculous and and I start to get upset and that bitterness or that anger starts anger starts to come up and I have to I stop and ask myself now where is this fun coming from where are these emotions coming from Could it be that the Holy Spirit is impressing this upon me to be upset and angry with this person and the obvious answer that question is No The Holy Spirit leads us to have unity and peace with each other so there's only two other options and nine times out of ten it's usually This one is just our flesh is just our selfishness we're just being selfish jerks and we're going… of set but it could be sometimes that Satan or the spiritual forces that are in place in our life are putting thoughts into your mind because they're trying to grow a root of bitterness in your heart and so that's why we are told to take every thought captive we ask ourselves the question where did this thought come for. And what path is this thought going to lead me down. You know David gives us a great example of how he dealt with situations like this on this one's a little too long to put on the screen as well but it's found in Psalm thirty five you can turn there if you like already just a portion of this. I'm actually reading from The Living Bible sometimes passages like this they just sound better if you're more of a dynamic translation but David if there's anyone who's ever gone through his entire life more or less having people offend him seeking to kill him and him potentially going down the path a sane want to go down it's David David was always being offended always being wrong he is the one who truly should say they owe me a debt and yet this is how he dealt with those situations I'll pick up in verse seven Psalm thirty five beginning in verse seven. David's talking about people that a fight against him they declared war against him a verse seven he says for though I did them no wrong yet they laid a trap for me and dug a pitfall in my past let them be overtaken by sudden ruin caught in their own net and destroyed the first portion of this David is basically saying God they've harmed me they've done wrong against me I'm giving them to you you fix it according to your desire verse nine but I will rejoice in the Lord he shall rescue me from the bottom of my heart praise rises to him Where is his equal in all of heaven and earth who also protects the weak and helpless from the strong in the poor and needy from those who would rob them. And then in verse a law when we get how David deals with people who sinned against Him He says these evil men swear to a lie they accuse me of things I have never even heard about and this is what he does verse twelve I do them good. But they return me harm I'm sinking down to my guess when they were ill I mourned before the lot and said Lord in sackcloth asking him to make them well I refused to eat I prayed for them with utmost earnestness but God did not listen I want about sadly as though it were my mother friend or brother who was sick and nearing death you know David teaches us this and we need to learn this very valuable lesson that praying for someone who has offended you might be the best way to free yourself from the trap that Satan has and sneered you in when you allow your heart to view the other person the way the God views down and God views them as madly in love with them and he's sent His Son to die on the cross for their sins too when we view them the way that God used them then we are released from the trap that Satan has put us into if you ever get to that point where you're genuinely praying for another person not praying that God will smite them not in a prank it Henri prayer but you're praying that God will bless them then you have been freed from this trap that Satan has put you in but to get to that point you have to exercise forgiveness you don't have to raise your hands I know who's going to raise your hand but how many of you like exercise a few people gave you something some of us like exercise here's the thing about exercise when you actually are sized you're preparing your body for anything physical that comes up in your daily life something that you need to push out of your way if you're exercising you're in shape you can push other way of if you need to jump out of the way you need to do something those people who exercise they're ready they're there ready for whatever their day throws at them the spiritual exercise of forgiveness and letting God avenge and praying for other people is similar listen if you find yourself quick to be offended then you are spiritually out of shape.
If you are quickly angered and you. Get that root of bitterness all the time then you are spiritually out of shape and you need to exercise so that you are spiritually ready for anything that takes place in your life and also to it to a certain extent when a person is hurt physically most of the time it's their choice that they want to recover that's all we have physical therapists if you're hurt you can recover you go to a physical therapist in a teacher these are the things that you should do and you can get better and sometimes you can even be stronger than you were before you were hurt but if a person who is hurt physically in the choose to let that injury dominate their life then it's going to define them in the same is true of the way that we carry around being offended it's like a weight it's a burden that hurts us spiritually but the more you practice forgiveness the quicker you will be in your life to get rid of that weight that you're not supposed to be carrying around anyway.
You know I keep saying that I have favorite verses and I would definitely say that Hebrews Chapter twelve versus one into our top three top five for sure verses in the entire Bible and I love this because it's kind of an analogy for how we should live our life it says and here is twelve one therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses let us also lay aside every weight. And sin which claimed so closely and let us run with and Durrance the race that is set before us if you are carrying around the offense. The burden of offense you can't run in this race that you're supposed to be running and a lot of people say you know what I know I'm supposed to be doing this for the Lord and also to be doing up the Lord but I can't because my mind is so preoccupied with this this this anger in this bitterness that I have against another person I can't run and God saying why are you holding onto this latest side get rid of it Satan has entrapped you so that you're not running the race in some situations to pay. Upon the offense sometimes we will let it completely dominate our entire lives and people are held captive to it and God says do to them what I did for you forgive and keep forgiving and let me handle the payment.
You know went out when Mark told me about the Grand Canyon my eyes probably got all big and my jaw hit the ground and I thought that sounds like so much fun at that point in time a seed was planted in my heart in my mind and I had one of two choices I could let that spark fade and I could wait ten or fifteen or twenty years and say you know I never did get around to going to the Grand Canyon and hiking in it now I know it's too late I can't get down there and it's it's too too late i never happened or what I could do which is what I did is I made plans to make it happen.
And if you're here today and you're carrying around the burden of being offended whether that's right now in your life right now you have been offended heard by another person or just the fact that you're an easily offended person people some people get offended very easily some people don't. But how are you going to respond to the message that God is giving to us in His Word are you going to let the freedom the God is offering you just drift away because of your lack of faith in your lack of trust in God and maybe some pride in some selfishness or will you cast your burden on the one who forgave you.
You know in a group this size I I don't know specifics but I believe that there's got to be some people in this room that are just holding on to something and God saying why are you holding on to that just let it go. You don't need to seek revenge against that person you can let them go you can escape the trap that Satan is bound you to give yourself freedom.
And run this race that I'm calling you to and so what I want to do is I want to give all of you an opportunity if that describes you. Going to take a moment give everyone just a couple moments of just silent prayer and I encourage you to do it God is asking you to do to free yourself and to forgive whoever it is you need to forgive and escape this trap that Satan has put you in and so that describes you don't wait do it now. And if you're in a situation where you say I thankfully right now I'm not why don't you pray for those people who are really struggling God will give them the courage to do that so let's just take a moment and I want everyone here just have just a moment of silent prayer to commit to doing what God is asking you to do.
I also want to say if you have done that this morning I'm not going to have an altar call and I'm not going to have you raise your hand. But what I am going to ask you to do in all seriousness is to tell someone.
Maybe tell the person that you need to forgive or tell a close friend or family member what you've done so that they can help you stay accountable Well it's close in prayer.
Dear Lord as we read through the Word of God It is just it becomes so apparent how important relationships are our relationship with you is so important that you sent your son to die on a cross person even before we asked you to you did it you took the step of releasing the offense that we had against you you forgave us and Lord you set the example for us you want to stand healthy relationships with other people whether that's friends or family members people in our immediate family people in church and Lord offenses come up they happen relationships get broken and Lord you you put it upon us to live in peace with all men and so Father our prayer this morning is for relationships to be healed. Don't let Satan have the upper hand don't let Satan the fill our hearts and our minds with with envy with bitterness with resentment and Lord so I just pray that you're really empower the people in this room anyone who is really struggling with something like out this morning that you will give them the courage to just trust you to do what you have done for us and to trust you with the outcome. And Father I thank you so much for giving us your guidance and your word that we don't have to go through life trying to figure this out on our own and now we hear a Grace Bible Church a Phoenix we we value the Word of God We believe in Bible center teaching and preaching and so we turn to your word to help us to restore relationships to the way that they're supposed to be Father I pray not even for today in today's message but over the next couple months we're going to talk about all the one another commands the the positive things that we should be. Doing the things that that are really helping to promote healthy relationships build them up I look forward to that I pray that you will be preparing our hearts and our minds but today Lord as we're just dealing with the broken relationships of the of the fences that we face or give us the courage and the strength that we need to forgive and to continue to forgive and let you be God and restore those relationships and so Lord we just lift up all these delicate situations and your hand and acid your will will be done and pray this in Christ's name Amen. One hope all of you have a wonderful week this week and even greater Labor Day weekend next week we will see that you dismissed.