Thursday, July 19, 2012

Book Review: John Bevere's "The Bait of Satan: Your Responses Determine Your Future"


Falling in line with our social media focus this month of "A Lesson in Forgiveness", we will be reviewing John Bevere's "Bait of Satan". This book review was written by one of our counselors, Melanie Howard, who works in our Birmingham and Columbiana offices. Melanie has been a part of the Pathways Counseling staff for about 15 years, and we are lucky to have her. If you would like to learn more about Melanie, click here. 

Synopsis: 
Bevere’s “Bait of Satan” is a penetrating and challenging book. The title of the book doesn't immediately reveal the book’s theme which is the importance of forgiveness. We learn that Satan’s “bait” is any unforgiven offense that is stored in your heart.  Bevere explains that offenses will come because we live in a sinful, fallen world, but we have a choice as to whether or not we become “offended” by the “offense”.    Bevere teaches how to become free in Christ by practicing forgiveness and reconciliation.  The book uses the examples of Joseph’s betrayal by his brothers and David’s persecution by Saul to illustrate the how “offense” happens.  It’s a short book, but not a quick read as it will likely require time to ponder and reflect.  The book emphasizes the seriousness of the sin of unforgiveness as it shows how the trap of offense hinders your prayers, stifles your ministry, and damages your relationships.  Harboring offenses keeps us from experiencing the fullness of God’s plans for our lives. 

What do I find most helpful about this book:
I believe that this book does an excellent job of exposing the often hidden sin of unforgiveness.  Those who read the book with an open heart are very likely to find it convicting.  Many fail to recognize the bitter root of unforgiveness due to feeling “justified” in being “offended”.  Unless the Holy Spirt reveals it, people may be unaware when an offense has entered their heart and “trapped” them. 
In my 14 years as a professional counselor, I don’t believe I’ve ever had anyone walk into my office and tell me, “my biggest problem is that I’ve allowed unforgiveness to take root and I’ve become bitter towards God and others”.  However, I believe that unforgiveness plays a big role in marital conflicts, divorce, church splits, and conflicts at work.  Unforgiveness may also be a contributing factor in cases of depression and anxiety.
I also appreciate the way the books addresses the fact that people may become “offended” when God when he doesn’t act as they hoped he would. 

Words of caution: I highly recommend this book, but I’d like to mention a few things. While the book does an excellent job presenting the importance of forgiveness, I believe it may over-simplify the process of forgiveness, especially for those who have been victims of violent crimes and other “life-altering” types of offenses.  Those seeking more of a “step-by-step” process for forgiveness may prefer to read some of Ev Worthington’s writings on forgiveness. There were a few places where I have some doctrinal disagreements with the author.  Doctrinal issues aside, I still believe that it is a powerful work on the topic of forgiveness.  

Favorite quotes:
  • Our degree of maturity will determine how well we will handle an offense.
  • Our response to an offense determines our future.
  • When we retain an offense in our hearts, we filter everything through it.
  • When we filter everything through past hurts, rejections, and experiences, we find it impossible to believe God. 
  • Acquiring an offense keeps you from seeing your character flaws because blame is deferred to another.
  • It is righteous for God to avenge His servants. It is unrighteous for God's servants to avenge themselves.
  • A person who cannot forgive has forgotten the great debt for which they were forgiven.
  • It is not difficult to obey when you know the character and love of the one to whom you are submitting. Love is the bottom line in our relationship with the Lord. If that love is not firmly in place, we are susceptible to offense and stumbling. 
  • There is only one person who can get you out of the will of God, and that is you!
  • Physical growth is a function of time. Intellectual growth is function of learning. Spiritual growth…is a    function of OBEDIENCE. 
  • When we are settled in trusting God, we are not moved from the Father’s care.  We will not succumb to the temptation to care for ourselves. 
  • To give yourself in total abandonment, you must know the One who holds your life.


If you are interested in purchasing this book, click here