Adventures, the organization I run, recently acquired a guesthouse in Cambodia. Along with it, it appears that we acquired some residents that came with the property. Late at night, our guests have been hearing demonic voices threatening death.
This may be the stuff of Hollywood movies, but does anyone believe that it is real? Well, we do. I received an email from our base leaders a few days ago about the need for “both natural and spiritual deep cleaning.”
“We have been turning over beds, sweeping away cob webs and washing walls, we have also been removing idols and cultural artwork of temples and false gods from the building then praying over and anointing each room. The best way I can describe it is it’s like we’re doing inner healing and deliverance on a business.”
Evil is real and far more personal than most of us realize. Evil wants to take from you all that you own, including those who are precious to you and even your own life.
It wants to chip away at you until you are cynical, neurotic and depressed.
It will target you and fill your mind with negative thoughts that you in turn slime others with.
And it will hide however it can. It’s amazing to me how ignorant we Americans are about evil. We tend to inherit a rational world view that seeks to explain away man’s inhumanity to man.
Years ago I had to confront this rational world view in myself. Where does evil come from? We read about Jesus confronting demons in the Bible – do they still exist? Am I in danger from them? I needed answers.
M. Scott Peck’s book The People of the Lie helped me. Peck, a psychiatrist, probed the nature of evil. According to Peck, an evil person:
- Is consistently self-deceiving
- Avoids guilt or criticism
- Deceives others as a consequence of their own self-deception
- Projects his or her evils on others
- Abuses political and emotional power
- Maintains a high level of respectability
- Lies incessantly
- Is consistent in his or her sins
- Is unable to think from the viewpoint of their victim
Most of us have no problem understanding evil when we look at a man like Hitler or when we look at the Nazis. But what if such men were still alive and never held to account?
Though they are not Nazis, such a situation in fact exists. In 1965, a million Indonesians were murdered as the government looked on. Many of the killers are still alive, living just down the street from the families of those they killed.
The movie The Look of Silence gives us an up-close look at the face of evil by showing us these killers as they are confronted by the brother of one of their victims.
It’s an astounding movie. Adi, the brother of one who was murdered watches as Inong, the murderer, reenacts the horrible way he killed his brother with a machete – chopping at him as his brother screamed for mercy.
Later, Inong says, “You have to drink human blood or else you will go crazy.”
What? Who is crazy here? Inong is as wicked as any S.S. trooper and he is alive and lives right down the street.
How do we explain a monster like Inong?
Peck would explain him by saying, “he is a person of the lie.” He started out innocent enough as a child, but somewhere along life’s path, he began to lose his way. He kept believing lies and telling lies until evil so embedded itself in him that he now represents evil.
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Now, the purpose of this post is not to stir up fear; it’s to help you recognize that you are being raised in a culture that is rational and ill-equipped to deal with the reality of evil. Though the Bible is full of instruction about how evil targets us, our churches have effectively bought into this rational world view.
Churches around the world have no such problem. In places like Haiti or Uganda, young people visiting from America find their world view exploded as they encounter the reality of spiritual warfare.
Where are you in all this? Do you know how to wield the authority you have been given to confront your enemy? If someone asked you to set them free from demonic attack, could you do so?
Perhaps a good place to begin growing in your authority is by looking at the relationships in your life. Do you know a person of the lie? Have you ever been victimized by such a person? You do not have to cower – the Bible says “resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
Evil is in this to win. We all have the potential to become a person of the lie if we’ll just allow ourselves to be seduced by evil. Play footsie with a lie long enough and it will wrap itself around you.
You have the power to set a person of the lie free with a truth encounter. Every lie denies the reality of truth. Confront the lie in the name of Jesus and evil has to flee. Read more about that here.
Here’s the bottom line: evil is personal and it hates you. You are a target. The smart thing to do is to face reality and learn to fight it.