(Circumstances do not make you what you are … they reveal what you are!) Two people facing the same situation, but because of their choices the outcome can be so different.


Pastor George Lehman


Our response to a scandalon determines our future – You will either live free or you will live in bondage.

What is a scandalon: –

It’s the Greek word for “offend”, (Aanstoot gee)
It refers to the part of the trap to which the bait is attached
The word offend means: – a trap or a snare – stumbling block


Jesus said in Luke 17:1 (NKJV) – “It is impossible that no offences should come.”

Explain a trap with the bait –

It’s not always visible
We are all more than likely to take the bait many times in our lives.

Offence is a tool of the devil to bring people into captivity

Satan is not sitting in an armchair waiting for hell

Paul warned – 2 Timothy 2:24-26 (NLT) – 24A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. 25Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts and they will learn the truth. 26Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants.  (Note verse 26)


Because of hurts, bitterness, unforgiveness, quarrels, opposition, unresolved differences

People fall into the trap/snare and are then held by the devil as a prisoner to do his will


The devil wants to destroy relationships

If he succeeds, he achieves a great victory – Why?

Unity goes (where there is unity God commands a blessing)
Joy and Peace goes
Vision goes – Purpose goes

The very essence of our calling losses impact


The worst part is most times people are unaware of their captivity

The saddest thing is to see a person so deceived

He believes he is right even though he is not.

Pride causes you to view yourself as a victim

“I was mistreated and misjudged, therefore I am perfectly justified in my Attitude Behaviour


Because you believe you are Innocent you hold back forgiveness

Matthew 24:10-13 (NLT) – 10And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other. 11And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people. 12Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. 13But the one who endures to the end will be saved.  (Notice verse 10 says :- Many, not a few – not some – But many)

I believe one of the key ingredients that tests relationships; is offence.

Can I just say this: – “We set ourselves up for offence”

When we expect or require certain behaviours – from those whom we have relationships, those who proclaim to be children of God

Listen: – The more we expect, the greater the “potential” offence


Proverbs 18:19 (Amp) – “A brother offended is harder to be won over than a strong city and (their) contentions separate them like the bars of a castle!”

Don’t forget Jesus warned us that offence will come –

Luke 17:1 “It is impossible that no offences should come.”


Did you know there are 4 stages of relationships?

It’s good to remember that:-

People judge us by our actions, not our intention, (“Example, Diet” – You can’t get thin on your intentions)


“You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.”  – Henry Ford

Relationships don’t just happen; you and I must make them happen.

4 Stages:

Courtship / Fellowship
Confrontation / Conflict – “Offence Zone”
Growth / Maturity


Courtship/ Fellowship (Everybody is normal till you get to know them)

Like the Honeymoon stage



Psalm 55:12-14 (NLT) – 12It is not an enemy who taunts me- I could bear that. It is not my foes who so arrogantly insult me- I could have hidden from them. 13Instead, it is you-my equal, my companion and close friend. 14What good fellowship we once enjoyed as we walked together to the house of God.
Confrontation requires boldness not arrogance
Matthew 18:15(NLT) – “If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back.”
Confrontation is an opportunity for forgiveness
To Heal and Restore Relationships = our main aim.
Think about this: – Any relationship within the family of God is going to be as good as you want it to be
Romans 12:14-19 (NLT) – 14Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. 15Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 16Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! 17Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honourable. 18Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. 19Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say. “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord.


Growth / Maturity

This is when we do it God’s way – not our own way
Maturely loving one another in spite of our shortcomings
Romans 15:1-2 (NLT) – We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about things like this. We must not just please ourselves. 2We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord.  



This is when relationships are now mature enough to move on
You can now encourage and be an example to others
And thereby develop other meaningful relationships

Never before in History as in the 21st Century

Has knowledge increased in the church at the rate it is.

But with all this increased knowledge

We seem to experience: –

More divisions among believers and leaders
More hurts and bitterness and unforgiveness
More couldn’t care-less attitudes toward relationships


1 Corinthians 8:1 (Amp) – Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up and encourages one to grow (to his full stature)


If we keep Jesus as our main focus and the Love of God as our Motivation

In all we do or say, we will not fail.

Love Never Fails

1 Corinthians 13:5,8a (Amp) – 5Love is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride), it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly.  Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way for it is not self-seeking, its not touchy or fretful or resentful, it takes no account of the evil done to it (it pays no attention to a suffered wrong).

Verse 8(a): Love Never Fails


1 Peter 4:8 (Amp) – Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins (forgives and disregards the offences of others).


Close with:

Philippians 1:9-10 (NLT) – 9I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. 10For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return.