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The Dark Side: Can we talk about demons?


Faust being tempted by the demon Mephisto from Johann Goethe’s book, ‘Faust’
Credit: Anton Kaulbach/Wikipedia/Public Domain

This is something we should all do: decide.

Do you believe that spiritual things exist? … or not?

If we believe in God, who is a spirit, we should accept that other spirits also exist. The Bible is full of stories about God, and other spirit beings. That includes angels who work for God, and angels who are the enemies of God; demons.

I want to add a disclaimer; this is not about mental illness or dramatic Hollywood movies. I have met people with mental health problems, that can be managed. That is an interesting topic, but it’s not the topic here.

Also, we probably all know the movie where the little girl spits at a priest exorcist, and spins her head around. That is entertainment. The actual influence of demons, including possession, was a scary topic before the movie came out.

A few days ago, I learned something that is real, and scary, and close to me.

We had a neighbor, a few years ago. She seemed like a nice person, and a good neighbor, and after a few weeks, her boyfriend came to visit. He seemed like a good person, and a few months later they got married, and he moved into our neighborhood.

We were friendly neighbors, not really close friends, but we liked them. They were Christians who went to church every Sunday, but not the same church as us. Eventually, they moved away to a place that was better for their new family, and I heard they had a baby. We were happy for them, and everything seemed good.

Everything seemed good, until I heard the news.

Someone talked to the young woman a few days ago, and learned the sad news. She lives alone with the baby, and her new husband is a serial cheater. I think he uses ‘hookup’ apps to find sexual partners, and he did that before and during the marriage. They are not together now.

That news is very sad for me. I liked them both, and I’m sure they had a cute baby.

How did this happen to such nice people?

Demons, or evil spirits are invisible, but we can see their work. There are at least three things that identify demons; a message, a language, and a plan.

The message is a call or a pull, also known as temptation. In the Bible, Jesus was tempted by the devil when some very appealing options were shown to him. For example: “the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. ‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me‘” (Matthew 4:8 and 9).

The language is lying. Jesus told us “When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). That is the native language of demons.

The plan is our destruction. We were told: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

That fits the story about my neighbor.

  1. I’m sure he was pulled into something by a tempting call. I imagine it was like pornography with live actors.
  2. His whole life was a lie. If he had told his girlfriend about the life she would have with him, she would have ended it. She was profoundly deceived.
  3. The young wife and mother, and the new baby, have suffered great losses in their lives. That man will learn someday that he ruined his own life, and hurt the innocent people who trusted him.

We can’t see spirits, but we can see their work. Pornography is a clear example, with a tempting pull, profound lying and secrecy, and many innocent victims, including women and children.

The news about my neighbor is shocking and sad for me. It is easy to see, in his story, that evil forces, the dark side, are closer to us than we know. There are many ways to take those three steps, and we have many assistants who want to direct us. 

So, can we talk about demons? If we don’t believe in spiritual beings that want to take us three steps down, to our destruction, we need some different explanation. We can’t ignore the problem.

I believe in evil beings that would love to ruin me. Really, they want to help me as I ruin myself. That is their best work.

One reason that I follow Jesus, is because He is the polar opposite of the evil spirits, and they don’t like His company. I have found that they go out when He comes in.

I hope my neighbor finds the truth, and I hope he will let God rescue him. I don’t think there is a therapy program that will repair the damage.

Also, I hope you and I can stay safe in this dangerous world.

The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him. (Psalm 37: 39 and 40)

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