To be more clear, when speaking of possession in general and my friend Mary in particular – there can be periods, long periods even, when the person who’s possessed might seem completely normal. This is all part of Satan’s ruse, his game to make you doubt what’s going on. Such is the case that I mentioned in part one of this series of blogs – the case in Rome with Cristina. She has periods of time where she’s snarling like some kind of beast and cursing and snapping, and then minutes later she’s laughing and smiling and carrying on a normal conversation with the people around her, totally unaware of her behavior just before.
Even to this day Mary doesn’t remember many of the incidents I’m writing about.
Here’s a point they don’t often dwell on in the movies – possession can only occur through invitation. The invitation doesn’t have to be engraved, or explicit. The invitation can be quite accidental, through ignorance as opposed to purpose. If there is a door open, the demonic can come through it. As I mentioned earlier, alcoholism, drug addiction, porn, any open sin can be an invitation.
I lived in the city of Gastonia, NC for a year. We didn’t have a lot of money so we wound up renting a house in what turned out to be the ghetto. One of our neighbors was a woman named Bobbi Jo. She was a few years younger than me, but looked older – she’d led a pretty hard life. She was a grandmother already at a very young age. She’d been abused in every way possible from childhood through adulthood. She was living with a guy named Jay who was an alcoholic. Jay was generally drunk by 7:30 in the morning. Bobbi wasn’t much of a drinker but she liked her pills and her weed. More than that, she liked that “legal weed” stuff that they sold at the smoke shop. I had a soft spot in my heart for her, because she just didn’t know how valuable she was in God’s eyes. She didn’t know how to do anything other than what she was doing. She had very little hope in her. She used to come over for coffee in the mornings sometimes, and occasionally I’d take her to the grocery store, when their truck wasn’t running or had been impounded. Neither she nor Jay had a valid license. One morning I took her to the store, and she seemed fine. She went to put her groceries away, and then came over for a cup of coffee. She was sitting on the couch in my living room, talking, when she just slumped over. She started to contort into an unnatural position, her eyes rolled back in her head and she started making this bizarre noise; something between a laugh and a growl. Now, every home that my husband and I have had together we’ve dedicated to God. We’ve invited the Holy Spirit into our homes and it was an absolute affront to have whatever that was on my couch in my home. I remember standing there, rebuking that thing and watching as she crawled off the couch, still growling and went out the front door. She fell off the porch and crawled/lurched back across the street. When I saw her again two days later she had no memory of coming back over to my house that morning.
Was it a demon in my living room, or was it a bad reaction to some drug she’d taken? I know in my heart that it was something demonic. But I can’t prove it. And there’s Satan’s great game again.
When Jesus sent his disciples out into the world he gave them instructions like, “Heal the sick, cast out demons…” So, can anyone cast out a demon? The Catholic Church says no. The Catholic Church says that the only thing a demon fears is a Catholic priest. I don’t see anything like that written in the Bible at all. What I see in the Bible is that the only thing demons fear is God, the authority of Jesus. A demon has zero fear of a human being, even if they’re wearing a collar. Humans are flawed and sinful at their very best. Jesus led a sinless life. It’s His authority a believer invokes in order to cast out an unclean spirit. Human beings have no authority at all.
Like the case of Cristina in Rome, sometimes we hear about exorcisms dragging on for years, being performed over and over again without success. Why? Why can a priest read that Rituale Romanum over and over again and have the demon remain right where it is?
Pride is a good starting place. Is the exorcist’s faith in Jesus, or is their faith in the ritual series of prayer and chants? Is their faith in their costume and props? Holy water? Where does holy water appear in the Bible? If the person casting that demon out isn’t in a state of humility, relying completely on the authority of Jesus, the result is disaster for all involved. If there is unconfessed sin in the person’s life, the demon will use that against them. You can’t be full of the Holy Spirit AND self all at the same time. There was a pair of “ghosthunters” in my home state who also claimed to be demonologists. The husband claimed proudly that demons were afraid of him. He claimed that they trembled when they heard he was on his way. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Jesus suggested that some spirits could only be cast out after prayer and fasting. I think this has more to do with the person attempting to cast them out than it does the strength of the demon itself. Prayer and fasting can bring us to a place of humility, total dependence upon the Lord. A place where we empty ourselves of self and can be filled with the Holy Spirit.
I hear “churchy” people sometimes talking about helping others or doing good deeds (which we’re really not supposed to go around talking about anyway) and telling anyone who will listen, “Oh, it’s not me, it’s the Lord,” and you can hear the pride in their voices despite their words. It’s like saying, “Hey, I have humility, so now I have everything!” There are “deliverance ministries” out there by the thousands now, ever since this paranormal thing got to be so big. They have their own little rituals and routines that they perform and they bring attention to themselves while claiming to be doing it for the glory of God. You can’t have it both ways; it’s either God’s glory, or it’s your own. I know that when we first got into the whole paranormal world nonsense, it was a form of thrill-seeking, and that’s a dangerous position to be in. Most people don’t belong anywhere near the “deliverance” business. The best advice I can give anyone is just to stay away from the whole ball of wax entirely. Do not even step on that ground.
to be continued….