Randy Langham
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How does a fisherman catch fish? One way is to take advantage of their cravings. When they are hungry fish crave food. Knowing this a fisherman will use bait to lure the fish. When the fish takes the bait it is hooked.

How does a bad guy control emotionally hurting people? One way is to take advantage of their cravings. Emotionally hurting people crave relief from their phobias, guilt, anxieties, or other stresses. Knowing this a bad guy could use the promises of drugs to bring relief, and even offer the first batch of drugs for free. When the people take the bait they get addicted. They get hooked. The bad guy might say afterwards, “Those people are so stupid. They just let me take advantage of them!”

How does a bad guy ensnare poor people? One way is to take advantage of their cravings. Many poor people crave money. Knowing this a bad guy will use get-rich-schemes to lure the poor. “Hey, you never know!” “Haven’t you always wanted that dream house?” “Wouldn’t you like to pay off all your bills?” “Play the lottery!” “Play Queen of Hearts!” “Play Bingo!” When the poor take the bait they are trapped in greater poverty. The bad guy might say afterwards, “Those poor people are so stupid. They just let me take their money!”

How does a bad guy take advantage of children? One way is to take advantage of their cravings. Kids crave sweets. Knowing this a bad guy can use candy to lure the children. When the kids take the bait they are hooked, if the candy is laced with drugs. When children take the bait they might be trapped in a get-away car. The bad guy might say afterwards, “Those kids are so stupid. They just let me take advantage of them!”

One family moved from Ohio to Arizona. Immediately residents warned the kids not to take candy from anyone. They said drug dealers are taking advantage of kids, exploiting their desire for sweets.

How does a bad guy ensnare women? One way is to take advantage of their cravings. Women crave romance. Knowing this a bad guy could use romantic words to lure the women. “I love you!” “You are the woman of my dreams!” When the women take the bait they might get defiled. They might get hooked. They might get trapped in abuse. The bad guy might say afterwards, “Those women are so stupid. They just let me take advantage of them!”

One man said, “It is so easy to get what you want. Just talk to the girls with flattering words and you can melt them like butter!”

A young woman overheard her younger brother say he told her girlfriend he loved her. That young woman tore into her brother, “Don’t you ever say those words to a woman until you are getting married!” When a woman opens her heart to a man and the man is not able to follow through with unspoken promises, it damages her heart.

How does a bad woman ensnare men? One way is to take advantage of their cravings. Men crave arousing sights. Knowing this a bad gal could use skin to lure the men. When the men take the bait they might experience financial ruin. The bad gal might say afterwards, “Those men are so stupid. They just let me take advantage of them!”

In the story above where a young woman scolded her younger brother for arousing another girl she just happened to be wearing a very immodest outfit. The very thing she condemned in her brother, defrauding, she was doing herself. She had no idea her outfit was screaming to the males, “I’m all yours.” The common thought “Look, but don’t touch” is the same thing as a bad guy at a circus dangling a large piece of bloody meat just beyond the reach of a hungry lion and laughing at the animal as it suffers.

How does a bad guy ensnare people who want control? One way is to take advantage of their cravings. These people crave control over people. Knowing this a bad guy may persuade the people to sell drugs. When the people take the bait they are trapped in a gang. The bad guy might say afterwards, “Those drug dealers are so stupid. They just let me get richer while they take the risk of getting caught!”

How does a bad guy control people? One way is to take advantage of their cravings. People crave food. Knowing this a bad guy may withhold food until the people do evil. When the people go without food their hunger usually takes over, and the people do whatever the controller demands. The bad guy might say afterwards, “Those people are so worthless. I control the people who are my puppets on a string!”

How does a bad guy control people? One way is to take advantage of their fears. People fear going to hell. Knowing this a bad guy who is a religious leader might tell the people they will lose their salvation unless they give more money to the organization. When the people fear they give away their money and do whatever else the controller demands. The bad guy might say afterwards, “Those people are so worthless. I control the people who are my puppets on a string!”

We now need to address two matters. First, what will God do to people who take advantage of others? These people are selfish and say, “I’ll give you what you want so I can get what I want. If I have to lure you, I’ll do it. If I have to inflict pain, I’ll do that too.” To this God says, in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you (1 Thess 4:6, NIV).

In another yet similar passage Jesus says it would be better to have a giant millstone hung around his neck and be cast into the depth of the sea than to harm one of these little ones. In other words, people who take advantage of others will receive such terror from God they will wish they had never been born.

The second question: Who is responsible for taking the bait? Can we blame the abusers for forcing sin on us? Can we say someone else or something else is responsible for our choices to bite the lures? God says, Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust (James 1:13-14). The Greek word for enticed refers to luring a fish. If we bite we choose to do so ourselves.

No matter what others do to tempt you no one can force you to sin. This is encouraging and empowering. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).




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