Monday, August 26, 2013

Demoniac (pt 1) - The Condition


Mark 5:1-9 (NIV)

5 They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. 2 When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet him. 3 This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. 4 For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.

6 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 7 He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!” 8 For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!”

9 Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”

“My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.”


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Imagine sitting alone in your room, nothing too exciting going on. It's just a typical day. And then suddenly you're overcome with feelings of worthlessness. Voices shriek and whisper within your mind. They remind you that they're all you have. No one else cares. No one else will listen to your cries. You've been abandoned by all but those voices.

These voices slowly take over - you know you don't belong there with them. Your skin crawls. You feel trapped within yourself. Your heart starts pounding - fear? anger? Something screams within. You claw at your own flesh, dragging your fingernails down your arms. You can't stop it. You can't control it. It isn't enough.

You find a shard of glass, or a razor, and repeat the motions. They're slow and deliberate at times, your mind almost smiling at the pain being inflicted on yourself. Sometimes the moves are more urgent, more necessary, and they still aren't enough.

You're claustrophobic in your own flesh, scratching and clawing your way out of your coffin - your own skin.  You have been abandoned by all who should care. You know any love and light within you is either extinguished or boxed up tight and hidden far from your own reaches.

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In Mark, Chapter 5, we have the story of a man who was possessed by many demons. Alone in the tombs, he would cry out and cut himself. When I first read this story, I pictured someone more beast than man. But, the more I read it, the more I saw the beast within me.

I imagine what I described at the beginning of this post is only a small percentage of how the Gerasene Demoniac must have felt.  But it was enough for me. I remember being a teenager and having these over-dramatic, uncontrollable feelings. I remember watching the blade slowly cut through my flesh. I remember smiling and finally feeling a dark peace with the voices. It calmed them... quieted them.

As I got older, I found other ways to appease the voices. I allowed hatred and sin to consume me... anything to quiet the whispers, even for just a moment.

I used to joke about having 157 voices in my head. But was it really a joke? Many believed so, and I let them. Perhaps 157 was a bit of an exaggeration, but most days - it seemed to be at least that many. They all had opinions and plans for me. And none of them good.

And the more I tried to break free, the louder they screamed and the more they clawed at me. I could feel them ripping me apart within my heart, my soul, my mind. And the only way to stop them was to join them. The only way to make it not so painful was to align myself with them and follow their orders.

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I read a book - Broken Chains by Doug Batchelor - in which he says "we are all born with the seeds of insanity." He goes on to say "selfishness and sin breed insanity." While I do agree we are all capable of insanity, I am not certain I agree that selfishness and sin are the cause. could it be they are, instead, the result?

Continue reading the second part of this topic as we explore these possibilities: Demoniac - The Salvation

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