One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2019 was to read one book a month as a way to strengthen my knowledge and always be learning at something. Of the twelve I read, I think the book that I think impacted me the most was The Bait of Satan by John Bevere, founder of Messenger International. Although it is technically a religious book that not everyone will agree upon, I felt the values and principles covered in this book were life changing. Even if you don't agree with this book, I believe everyone will learn something from reading it.
The core message of the book is the ability to forgive. The book talks about the pain of not being able to forgive, what causes hurt or feelings of offense, and some eye-opening truths about forgiving others and yourself. I discovered that I am not entitled to an apology. Even if the other person does not apologize to me, I still need to find a way to forgive. I also learned that forgiveness is important because if we hold on to the things that people have done to hurt us, over time, it becomes detrimental to our own lives. We begin having feelings of bitterness, anger, or resentment and feel not only the pain of the initial hurt but also the pain of not forgiving. Our society is continuously promoting messages of offense through social media and entertainment. Today, everyone is so easily offended by things they don’t agree with or things that don’t line up with their opinions, and I learned that though our offense may be genuine, we can’t live to try to justify our feelings of attack. This culture is very vocal on the “forget them” attitude or telling others that they are so much better off from the ones that caused them to hurt or promoting communication such as “ghosting” instead of sharing and resolving issues. This book addresses those feelings and where they originated. However, the book makes it very clear that forgiveness is not forgetting and does not in any way mean to go back to the source that hurt you, but it allows you to see the danger of not resolving your hurt.
I think a significant reason for how it was very evident that this book was so impactful was that shortly after reading the book, a life-changing event occurred that made forgiveness vital. My life circumstances were giving me a chance to apply what I had learned, and do we ever really learn something if we never use it? It was almost as if this book was preparing me for that moment. It taught me a lesson that I will carry for the rest of my life because that is not the first time, nor will it be the last time that someone offends and hurts me. We are all human, and we all make mistakes, and I will see those mistakes again, whether it be my personal life or in my professional life, and I want to be someone that handles those mistakes and offenses right.
Through this experience I realized that always learning and constantly growing is one of the most valuable things we can do because we need to equip and prepare ourselves before the bad times come in life. It’s like studying for a test. I need to know the material before-hand because the information will do me so much better knowing it before the test as opposed to during. No one wakes up a successful businessperson, great teacher, nurturing parent, or anything else and no one gets there without offense or troubles. And the more we prepare ahead of time, the more equipped and confident we can be in those life defining moments that will lead to our future, so I encourage you to never stop learning.