The Difference Between Imaginary Friends and Demons
The Stranger-Than-Fiction True Story of Christine, a College Graduate and Sexual Abuse Survivor in her Thirties
For most of my life, imaginary friends have been my comfort, confidants, companions and source of matchless pleasure. Not everyone understands. One woman even had the audacity to say they were demons!
The next day, he came back and smiled at me. He winked and my mother told me to give him a hug. He saw the fear in my eyes. He was angry but we hugged. He went outside. My mother asked my father what had made him so angry. “I think I know,” I said. She scolded me and made me tell the man I was sorry for whatever I had done. He was happy then.
“I’m shocked at how bad you are,” he told me in private. “You are a monster! Your mom will hate you if she finds out. You are a bad girl. Girls like you who make men do bad things get locked up. The police will come and lock you away.” The terror of the police chills me to this very day. I believed every word, convinced that I must be very, very bad. It had to be true. He was an adult. Adults know these things.
“Now you belong to me,” he said. I was trapped. There was nowhere for a four year old to run. Even mommy would turn on me if she knew my dirty secret. As a neighbor and family friend who also did maintenance work on our house, he had easy access to me. Time after time after time he not only sexually abused me, he drilled it into me that what happened was my fault and that I was bad. Every time, it rammed home to me yet again the devastating conclusion that I was evil because, as he kept insisting with unchallengeable authority, there was something about me that I could never change – my very appearance; the body I was born with – that made him do bad things to me. Finally, when I was seven, he moved away. (He is now in jail for other sexual offenses.)
Him leaving, however, did nothing to undo the damage. So devastatingly powerful is the effect of being programmed in one’s impressionable years, that it took over thirty years and an act of God for me to stop believing that his despicable acts were my fault.
So I kept quiet. My family taught that everyone must handle his or her own problems and that if anyone couldn’t, then he or she deserved the problems. I was a wicked little girl with a black secret. I had seduced a married man. No one would ever love me if they knew how bad I was.
When I was five I sat under a cherry tree and in desperation asked God if he loved me. He answered my prayer with warmth and an assurance that made me believe. We became friends. We would talk and play. You might think it crazy – God, the mighty Creator playing with a child – but nothing will make me believe that it wasn’t God. I would sing to him and he made all the trees rustle as if to applaud. I giggled and giggled. We played that way all summer. What joy God gave me.
At church I kept hearing that God hates sin. I knew I was bad. Eventually, I felt compelled to the sad conclusion that God would not want me. I stopped talking to God. Ever since, my whole being has yearned to return to those wondrous times with God. If only I’d realized that God felt the same way.
At age seven I saw a pornographic magazine. All the photos featured just one man engaging in various acts with a harem of women. They were bad girls but unlike me they were beautiful and someone had even wanted to take photos of them. Maybe I could become like them and have some sort of future. I was so captivated that I stole the magazine. I hid it under my bed I would stare at it over and over. “So this is what bad girls do,” I told myself. And I knew I was bad.
I yearned to be good. I wanted to be held and told I could be loved in spite of being bad. I would hide away, suck my thumb and curl into a ball, crying for someone to love me. In my mind’s eye, someone came. He was kind, and didn’t care if I was bad or good. He introduced himself as an imaginary friend. But he was the man in that magazine. There was no way I wanted a grown man acting towards me the way he did in those photos. Terrified, I rejected him and hastily burnt the porn.
On a warm summer’s day I slipped on my swimming suit and went outside to lose myself in the sun. I was twelve. To my acute embarrassment, I had been developing a womanly figure from an unusually early age, and I hated it. But I relaxed, enjoying the sun. In my mind’s eye, I saw a kind, sensitive man – the imaginary friend I had seen after looking at the porn five years earlier. He said reassuring, flattering things that made me feel good about the body I hated. He was warm. He moved his hands over my body, caressing me and assuring me he was only imaginary. He guided my hand as I masturbated. It was the first time I had ever climaxed.
The experience had somehow felt morally wrong. But it was only fantasy and what harm could there be in having an imaginary friend? Still, I felt unsure and rebuffed him. Deep down, however, I wondered if it would have been better to let him have his way. Knowing this, he merely stepped back and waited.
Whenever I was lonely or hurting, I would seek him out. It was wonderful. I was safe with him. He said his name was Michael. He approved of me. He would come to me, whispering love in my ear and we would have sex. He introduced me to a couple of his friends with whom I chatted, but he alone was my lover.
When I gave my life to Christ at aged thirteen, “Michael” was angry but silent. I told him my friendship with him was over. He left.
But my relationship with God was rocky. The Lord started speaking to me about the abuse I had suffered as a tiny child. He told me I wasn’t bad. I could talk to him, he said, and be healed of my pain. I didn’t want to face reality, however, preferring to live in denial that the abuse had ever happened. I wanted God to ignore my deep inner wounds and act like a new imaginary friend living in a fantasy world. But God wanted reality. So I began to push him away.
Lurking in the shadows of my mind had always been the haunting expectation that God would end up rejecting me. After all, God is holy. I had never been able to rid myself of the conviction haunting me since age four that I was bad and that, except for a product of my imagination, no one knowing my dark secrets would want me.
Eventually something happened that felt like God leaving me. I should have concluded that since God is always loving and forgiving and faithful my interpretation of that feeling had to be mistaken. Instead, I caved in to the devastating feeling and took it as confirmation of what I had always feared: God was too holy for me.
With the fracturing of my relationship with God, my old imaginary friend eventually wormed his way back into my life. This time, however, “Michael” brought more “male” friends with him. They were fun. More friends meant less loneliness. They accepted me and didn’t care about my black past. We would talk and laugh and share secrets.
Later, I began again to give priority to God and I rejected all my imaginary friends. Eventually a tragedy hit me and life became unbearable. Desperately needing comfort and supposing that God had left me, I let “Michael” return. This time he brought still more of his friends with him. Over the years, I grew very close to them. We shared everything.
With “Michael,” I now had eight imaginary friends. One of them was his “sister,” “Marie.” She was sassy, delightfully wicked and a dark horse.
One day, “Marie” and I were alone. Her brother and friends were out and we were playing an imaginary game of dare. She dared me to kiss her. I laughed, assuming she was joking. She wasn’t.
I told her I was loyal to her brother. She smiled and told me to kiss her. She didn’t want to be kissed on the lips, however; she wanted oral sex. We laughed and joked about it. But then she removed her clothes. “Go on,” she urged, “it’s only your imagination.”
I did it. I thought it was fun. Together, we entered into a secret world of cheating on her “brother,” “Michael.” Eventually, I confessed to him. He only laughed, saying he loved me no matter what. He was actually pleased about it.
My imaginary friends seemed to have a mind of their own. That made them interesting, though sometimes frustrating. For example, to my disappointment, “Marie” would always insist I take the male role with her, saying she was the one with the great body. They made me dependent on them, saying no one else would want me and promising never to leave me. If ever I didn’t please them, however, they would threaten to leave. Nevertheless, consistent with them being imaginary, I had certain powers over what they did. By a simple act of my will, for instance, I could change the color of their hair.
It was harmless fun. They made me feel safe. They took my loneliness away. With them I was loved and wanted. They knew my dark secrets and yet accepted me. We had great sex as they captivated my imagination and guided my hand. It was only fantasy.
Eventually, my dark secret that I was bad began to overwhelm me. I hated myself. Even with my imaginary friends, I was hurting and lonely. They were right: life in this world is awful and I was unlovable. They tried to comfort me, but I wanted them to be real. They were in another world; a fantasy world that I could join in death. All I had to do was to kill myself. They encouraged me not to die in vain. They said I should get revenge and hurt someone to release the fury and badness locked up inside. Terrified at the possibility of me actually doing what they were urging me to do, I realized I needed help.
Just in time, I found help from a secular suicide hotline, and stayed alive. I knew my former friend, God, was the real answer, but he didn’t want someone as depraved as me. He was too pure to love me like my imaginary friends did. So I leaned on my imaginary friends even more.
Whenever I tried to pray, they would warn me with the deepest concern. “God has hurt you so badly. Be careful.” Surely I could trust their insight. After all, they were my friends.
Nevertheless, my yearning for God refused to die. Certain that Jesus had rejected me, I tried Buddhism, desperately, though foolishly, hoping it might turn out to be a back door to God.
One day, searching the Internet, I found Net-burst.Net. I began to read and was captivated. Whoever wrote that website knew my secrets! He knew my fears, my pain, my yearnings. And he seemed to have answers! My spirit grabbed the pages. I read and read and read. Each page awakened things within me and I devoured it as if I would die if I didn’t get it. It was such an intense experience. Each page jumped at me, screaming HOPE. I felt naked and clothed, debased and honored, understood and drawn. It had to be God.
I asked my imaginary friends about Grantley, the author of those pages. They warned me that he was an evil man pretending to be good. I wondered how, if he were that bad, he could be so kind in his webpages and understand so completely. I consulted real-life friends, including a social worker in my church. They all warned me not to contact Grantley. Despite everything, I still felt drawn to Grantley. Finally, I e-mailed him, telling him how God had rejected me. Grantley showed me that God is faithful and that if it had seemed that God had rejected me, it was just an unpleasant illusion based on me mistakenly choosing to believe powerfully convincing feelings of rejection, rather than believing in the power of God’s love revealed in Christ.
Keen to find out if Grantley was genuine, I asked if I could phone him. He provided his phone number, along with that of his ministry partner, Helen. As soon as I mentioned my imaginary friends, Helen became very worried and said they were demons.
The notion was preposterous! What kind of people in the Twenty-First Century believe in mediaeval folklore like that?
“What could be more harmless than fantasy?” I reasoned. “They have been my trusted friends and comforters most of my life. I need them. They protect me from emotional pain. I am safe with them. I can control them and shut them up when I need to. I can change certain features about them with my mind. Besides, they tell me that though I am a reject and a bad person they love me. They accept me and give me pity. Helen just doesn’t understand!”
Grantley was disturbed by Helen’s outburst, worried that I’d be offended. But despite it all, I began to wonder. Could demons really exist? Could my dear imaginary friends actually be demons? No, they loved me. They told me so.
Although I seldom admitted it to myself, however, the truth was that I did not have full control over them. I also had to admit that living in a fantasy world did not ease the loneliness. And, come to think of it, whenever I prayed, they interrupted and chattered loudly to prevent me from continuing. They said it was to protect me.
For years, something, cold, dark, and chillingly evil would sometimes appear before me, telling me to kill myself, or threatening that if I were to serve God it would kill my loved ones. On such occasions I would be petrified; my body frozen solid with fear and my mind reeling in horror. Since I couldn’t believe in such mediaeval hogwash as demons, I concluded the experience was some sort of powerful, emotionally based hallucination. But whatever it was, I desperately needed protection from it. I needed someone with me 24 hours a day – especially when asleep or trying to sleep – who would deliver me from these “hallucinations.” “Michael” did just that. I dismissed his effectiveness as some sort of mental trick on my part, whereby I used my imagination – “Michael” – to control my subconscious. Whatever was happening, however, it definitely worked: “Michael” would literally chase those terrifying “hallucinations” away. There was no way I wanted to face those harrowing experiences without the protection of my imaginary friend.
If I didn’t quite obey “Michael,” he would threaten to leave me. There were all kinds of threats to get me to submit. Each threat seemed a loving warning, but a threat, nonetheless. A particularly disturbing thought he played on was who would protect me from that dark spirit? I quickly obeyed.
Grantley listened to me with what I knew was growing concern. He asked me to imagine what it would be like to have a boyfriend who paid a gang to harass me so that I would keep seeing this boyfriend as a desperately needed hero. That got me thinking. Could my imaginary friends be deceiving me? Could they be playing “good cop, bad cop”? Could they really be in league with the visitations that tormented me? Actually, I had known for a long while that “Michael’s” sister, “Marie” was friends with that dark spirit that would threaten and terrify me. I hadn’t bothered to think through the implications, because the practical reality is that “Michael” kept protecting me from those awful experiences.
Then there was something else that scared me. One of my imaginary friends was a pedophile. What made that particularly disturbing was that although I had not thought of myself as a lesbian, one of them, “Marie,” was relentlessly luring me into that seamy world. Neither was I a murderer, but they had been enticing me to kill not just myself but to take other people with me. Moreover, every time I had pushed them out of my life they not only eventually returned but brought other friends with them. It was disturbingly like Jesus’ parable of the demon that left a person, only to later return with seven other demons more wicked that itself (Luke 11:24-26). They were definitely growing stronger and stronger, and seeking to make me increasingly depraved. What if they eventually succeeded in turning me into a pedophile? Could I end up like my abuser? I recoiled in terror at the thought. But demons? In me? Could any theory be more outlandish?
I was still getting to know Helen but I knew she loved me. I studied Grantley’s photo. He seemed to look sane, despite him believing in demons. Confused, I asked God for help.
His reply was, “Can you give up these imaginary friends? Can you choose God over them?” I thought about it and to my dismay I discovered that, despite my yearning for God, I felt unable to give up my imaginary friends for him.
I admitted to Grantley that I was in trouble and he encouraged me to put God first.
Steeling myself, I told the imaginary friends to leave, but they just mocked me, saying I couldn’t really mean it. When they finally saw that I was serious, these “friends” got angry. They threatened to give me cancer and financially ruin me. I was terrified. They reminded me that I was a reject and that no one but them could ever love me. I told them God loved me. They angrily replied that they hated God.
“Why?” I asked.
“Michael” took me in his arms and kissed me. “Dear lover,” he said, “God rejected you. He doesn’t deserve your love. Have I ever left you?”
Deep inside I knew these God-haters must be demons. Fear gripped me.
Helen prayed with me to be delivered, and they backed away. Before long, I tried to interact with my imaginary friends as usual but this time, to my amazed concern, they would not come. If they were just imaginary, why could I no longer “imagine” them? Clearly they could not be products of my imagination. They must be demons! I panicked. “What have I done?” I wondered in horror, “How could I have been so deceived?” I was afraid. And I knew they would be back.
When they returned, I rebuked them. Some left. The two main ones remained, along with some minor ones, but I felt the minor ones would leave if the main ones left.
What I was facing was as traumatic as a divorce. I was facing losing my cherished friends, on whom I had been emotionally dependent for years, in order to trust a God I had thought had rejected me. Fearful of trying to survive without their comfort, I found myself on a wild emotional roller coaster; one moment – usually after phoning Grantley – sure I was doing the right thing by resisting them, and the next moment plummeting into fear and doubt, and again needing reassurance that it was worth what felt like the greatest of sacrifices.
In the light of my experience, it seems to me an act of cruelty to leave anyone newly delivered from demons to cope alone with all the emotional consequences and spiritual battles. I suspect it would be most unusual for anyone to keep resisting letting the demons back in, without continual support from an understanding Christian for a minimum of three or more weeks. Thankfully, Grantley and Helen remained by my side to help me through this gut-wrenching time.
I knew I could never be good enough in myself to be friends with the holy Lord. Grantley encouraged me, however, to dare to believe that the holy Son of God had swapped places with me on the cross, dying for my imperfections and in turn granting me his perfection. If that is really what Jesus achieved, then I could truly be a friend of God. So finally, in a leap of faith, I made up my mind to believe that, through Christ, God is really my friend.
No matter what the cost of leaving my imaginary friends, I wanted God back in my life. “Marie” put up an ugly fight – even using me to e-mail Grantley in her name an embarrassing, sexually explicit message. I managed to omit some things from the e-mail but I felt powerless to completely stop her. Despite it all, however, Grantley refused to give up on me. Angry at what she had done, I told “Marie” to leave. She left in a rage, along with a couple of the minor demons.
“Michael,” the main demon, and a couple of hangers-on remained. Deciding to play on my emotions, “Michael” appeared to me. His heart was as ugly as vomit and in reality he probably had a body more hideous than a tapeworm, but of course that’s not how that slimy lowlife chose to manifest himself. He chose for himself a beautiful man’s body, and claimed to love me. How could I resist someone so exquisite who knew me and said he loved me? No matter how perverse and grotesque he was behind his stunningly beautiful mask, he was powerfully seductive. That devouring wolf in sensuous clothing began to fondle me, arousing me. I resisted, but weakly.
I contacted Grantley. He reminded me that this demon had threatened me with cancer and financial ruin. What sort of the love was that? The demon, he said, had shown his true colors with his evil threats of cancer and financial ruin. He was neither harmless nor a friend. Alarmed, “Michael” apologized for his threats, saying he had only uttered them in anger and hadn’t really meant it. His protests that he would never hurt me rang hollow.
Grantley reminded me of Scripture speaking of those who return to their former ways as being like a dog returning to its vomit and they end up more depraved than ever (2 Peter 2:21-22). I certainly didn’t want that.
Nevertheless, I remained enticed by the demon’s beauty and adoring words. I told Grantley I needed these friends. I begged God to understand that I was a reject and needed them.
God, however, refused to see me as a reject.
“Michael” kept returning and I kept resisting, though half-heartedly. At one point he tried to trigger within me feelings of helplessness by using the very words my childhood abuser had repeatedly used to fill me with fear and guilt and had convinced me when I was little that resistance was useless. Grantley pointed out that it was no coincidence that the demon was acting just like that abuser. He said this demon could well have been the very spiritual power that had driven that heartless child molester to afflict me sexually and emotionally.
Though it took enormous effort, I kept refusing to surrender to “Michael’s” seduction. But he kept returning. Although I had so far refused him, I was hesitant about losing him forever. Part of me wanted to keep my options open, just in case my relationship with God did not work out, or life without my imaginary friends proved unbearable. Encouraged by me wanting to keep him as an if-all-else fails last resort, “Michael’s” gleefully persisted with his visits; arrogantly acting convinced that he would eventually wear me down. My torturous battle to keep resisting seemed never-ending.
I asked God for help. He led me to a webpage of Grantley’s about renouncing the pleasures of sin. As I read it, a light switched on, illuminating my soul. I had been addicted to the pleasures these evil “friends” brought me. I had been hoodwinked into not seeing that the “pleasure” they offered was dangerous, isolating and cruel.
“Michael” appeared again. That despicable parasite seemed tall and handsome with beautiful skin and a perfect body. He removed his shirt and smiled. “No!” I said, but not very strongly. He knew what makes me happy. He moved closer. Part of me wanted to resist but his words were sweet, seductive, familiar and soft – honey flavored cyanide. He tried to kiss me. “No!” I said. He stopped, and smiled.
I reached for the phone to call Grantley. “Michael” laughed gently. “You’ll wake him,” he said. “That isn’t necessary. We don’t have to tell. A little lie won’t hurt.” But I had promised Grantley I would keep nothing from him.
“I am not lying to Grantley!” I told “Michael.” “He will know, and God will know.”
“I’m no demonic,” he gently mocked. “It’s just your natural passions. God understands.” I resisted and called on Jesus, but as I did, “Michael,” using all his seduction skill, began fondling me.
“He won’t stop,” I told myself, “and I can’t stop him.” Fear swept through me. “I couldn’t stop being molested as a child and I can’t stop this.” Then I remembered Grantley saying that because of Christ the demons had no power over me. Their apparent power to control me was just an illusion. “This is silly!” I told myself, “I can stop an illusion.” “Michael” reached out to grope me. I was tempted but I resisted. He tried again, but another word came to me that Grantley had used about sexual pleasure outside of marriage: “promiscuity.” I grew so angry with Grantley, with me, with God, and with “Michael.” I wanted to yield. I wanted that pleasure, but not being clean, and not being free, was a high price to pay for a little pleasure – a little deadly pleasure.
“Michael” backed away as God’s presence came to me. “You must be faithful to me,” said the Lord, “You can’t have two lovers. Are you going to be promiscuous?” I hated that word. I didn’t want to be promiscuous, but I did want sexual pleasure.
“Michael” was soft and sensual. “Just a little . . .” I told myself, but I know I wouldn’t stop with just a little. A war raged within me. God was telling me to stay faithful, and “Michael” was doing his utmost to seduce. I craved the poisonous pleasure he offered. I wanted God to just look the other way. I remembered Grantley reminding me about the Jews wandering forty years in the wilderness because they missed God’s window of opportunity. Grantley was right. But no matter how much a depraved deceiver “Michael” was, his hands were warm and seductive.
Reluctantly, I rebuked “Michael.” I was certainly no superstar. My rebuke was in sheer obedience to God; not what my heart longed for. I really wanted to sin.
“Reject me and you’ll never again have sex,” said “Michael” in anger, “No one will want you. Grantley is a fool and dreamer to say you can do better than me.”
I quickly left the room and e-mailed Grantley, telling him everything. If I have one strong point it is that I am faithful to my friends and I was determined to be faithful to God. In my e-mail I said:
It hurt me to say no to the pleasure I craved. But it isn’t about getting what I want. It isn’t about sex. It isn’t about me. It is about putting Jesus first and submitting to his will, even if it is painful, frustrating and denies me what I want. It is about trusting God and letting him be God. I have made a commitment. I want God. If, by doing things in private with my “imaginary friend,” I am acting promiscuous, how can I be free in Jesus? I don’t want to be promiscuous with God’s love.
I again pondered Grantley’s webpage about renouncing sin’s pleasure. No matter how friendly those demons had pretended to be, they were deadly. They had earlier made me suicidal, while pretending to offer comfort, and had almost driven me to suicide. I had been lied to and robbed of so much. No “pleasure” was worth this. It was so much better never to have the pleasure they offer than let them rob me of my dignity and my walk with God. As I realized what evil impostors they were, my anger grew and when “Michael” again appeared I commanded him in Jesus’ name to leave. This was powerfully effective because I was no longer inwardly implying, “not this time.” I meant I never wanted him again, no matter how much pleasure he offered. My mind was made up and he knew it. I was free.
Shortly afterwards, craving the sexual pleasure I had always given myself and had shared with these demons, I phoned Grantley. I desperately tried to convince him that it was alright for me to continue my former habit of masturbation, but without involving the demons. Grantley was kind, but immovable. Finally, I agreed that he was right, even though at the time giving up masturbation felt like a devastating loss.
My life turned around. I soon found I didn’t need those lying “friends.” I reveled in the knowledge that God had forgiven me and cleansed me. He loved me and comforted me. I could talk to my Lord and love him. I had answers to tormenting questions. With the demons gone and my determination to cling to God’s truth, they could no longer get away with whispering their disturbingly convincing lies that I was a reject and dependent on them.
I didn’t get cancer. In fact, the Lord soon gave me the courage to see a doctor about a lump that for five years I had been too terrified to have examined. The lump was medically proven to be harmless. And not only did I not see financial ruin, my finances were quickly rescued by a dear friend. I am empowered financially, emotionally and spiritually.
For most of my life I had been pressured to see myself as a lesbian, when I was simply apprehensive about men, and mistakenly felt rejected by them all. To my surprise, I soon discovered that I am more feminine and lovable than I had dared dream. Even the thought of marriage and marital relations have begun to seem not only no longer terrifying but warmly inviting. Despite the cruel deception, I’ve found to my delight that I’m strongly heterosexual.
I have my dignity back. I’m not dependent on demons for company. I have the God of all creation as my dearest friend. For the first time in my life, I actually feel free and lovable and understood.
My imaginary friends took on the form of people I had met. Other people have shared experiences with me that indicate their demons took the form of people who have died, or fictional characters from books or movies. Regardless of the form they hide behind, however, they are creeps who exploit and accentuate our weaknesses and prey on raw emotion. They delight in breeding within their victims such self-destructive passions as anger, bitterness lust, fear, and pain, because these are the very things they feed on.
I’d felt sure that if I got rid of those demons, I’d be doomed to a lifetime of loneliness and sexual frustration. Soon after ruthlessly burning my bridges by sending the demons packing, however, I found more love and companionship than I had ever known. In fact, in lightning speed a very special Christian man fell in love with me; irreparably shattering my long-held belief that I am unlovable. We expect to marry. I cannot guarantee that this will happen to everyone who gives up demons! Nevertheless, those demons were like drugs that make a person become withdrawn and then the drugs become insidiously addictive because they seem the only way to dull the pain of isolation those very drugs cause. What had seemed to ease the loneliness was actually perpetuating it. Moreover, the greatest source of love in the universe is companionship with God himself, and I can certainly guarantee that to everyone who gives up demons through the power of Christ.
Not long after being freed from the demons, I became deeply upset over something. It turned out to be minor, but at the time it seemed huge. In that vulnerable moment of distress, and longing for comfort, “Michael” returned, promising comfort that he claimed he alone could offer. Terrified, I ran to my room and hid under a blanket. Sobbing, I prayed, “Please, God, don’t let go me go back to those demons.”
The Lord comforted me and told me to rebuke the demon. I was scared but I stood up. I wiped my eyes, put on my bravest face, and shouted, “In Jesus’ name, leave me alone!”
To my surprised delight, “Michael,” who had been the head demon, ran away. Yes! He ran from me. The Lord was pleased and I was thrilled.
A couple of weeks later, after a terrifyingly real and distressing flashback of childhood abuse, “Marie” appeared to me, hoping to seduce me. I didn’t even find her tempting. I rebuked her in Jesus’ name and she left.
With “Michael” gone, however, I had a nagging fear about the possible return of the terrifying dark spirit that “Michael,” used to protect me from. My apprehension continued nightly, despite the spirit never returning. One day, when praying about this, I suddenly realized that although “Michael,” my “protector” had been so powerful that he would command the dark spirit to leave, God had empowered me to command “Michael” to leave. Power over demons belongs to every Christian but the Lord had graciously allowed me to prove this glorious truth for myself. “Michael” had indeed left at my command. If “Michael” was stronger than that scary spirit, and through Christ I could send “Michael” packing, imagine what I could do to that lesser spirit! What an exhilarating revelation! My attitude now is that it would make my day for that scary spirit to return and try to intimidate me. Through Jesus I’d send him fleeing.
I’m not the slightest surprised that occasionally the demons return to test me. I recall Jesus’ parable of the demon forced out of someone he had lived in. After a while the demon returned to check out his previous residence in the hope of once again setting up home (Luke 11:24-26). This suggests that after being forcibly evicted from anyone, evil spirits are likely to occasionally check back with their former host to see if they are still barred from entry. We can expect them to employ attempted seduction or intimidation to test our defenses. As with any attack or temptation, attempted re-entries are unpleasant. Just as it is normal for good Christians to be tempted, however, demonic attacks are normal. We Christians wrestle against spiritual entities (Ephesians 6:12), stated Paul, in a matter of fact way. It is only if a person surrenders to the attacks that there is a need for repentance. They will be unable to gain entry while we remain vigilant. If we keep resisting, the demons will slink away, in the hope of finding easier targets elsewhere.
So dramatic is my transformation that, just a few weeks after being delivered, I can barely comprehend I was once the person I’ve described. I look back appalled at how deluded I was and in what spiritual and physical danger I had been. This compels me to forgive my childhood abuser and to yearn for his salvation. How could I do otherwise, knowing that my own delusion and torment must be similar to his own, and that his suffering has lasted much longer than mine? I’ve heard that he is ill and has turned very savage in prison.
I make no excuses for myself. To try to justify myself would be to denigrate the fact that Jesus died so that all of us could be justified. Nevertheless, it is a fact that I, like many abuse survivors, had been cruelly and very literally brainwashed into seeing myself as unacceptable to a holy God and to shrink from him in shame. Such was my longing for God that, in addition to regular personal devotions, over the years I had attained far above average formal Bible training and theological education. This training, however, was unable to undo the devastating effect of my previous brainwashing. Right up until recently I would regularly have nightmares that would end with me shouting in my sleep over and over, “I am bad, I am bad, I am bad” – the very words that child molester had forced me to use from the most impressionable and tender age of four.
Certainly, the demons greatly contributed to my delusion and confusion. Nevertheless, I had opened the door by letting my strong guilt feelings block out my awareness of the unlimited forgiving power of Christ’s sacrifice. I had added to this by rejecting God’s loving attempts to heal the pain and shame I felt due to my abuse. Preferring to live in denial, I had pushed the God of truth away and then fooled myself into thinking it was God, not me driven by fear and guilt, who had done the rejecting.
At one point I even mistakenly expected God to be like my abuser. From my abuser’s actions I had wrongly concluded that love equals sexual exploitation and that if God loved me he would force himself on me and want a sexual relationship. So, although I recoiled at the thought, I expected God to want to “prove” his love for me sexually and I mistakenly interpreted his refusal to do so as rejection.
Now that I have learned to trust God’s love and invite him into the darkest corners of my life and memories, I keep experiencing healing after healing. For example, as is common among abuse survivors, I often used to masturbate while fantasizing about things so terrifying and disgusting that I actually vomited in revulsion when Grantley coaxed me to talk about it. Despite my mind telling me that God is already aware of everything, I didn’t want even God to know about these fantasies. Upon admitting them to God, shame lifted, like the sun evaporating a fog, and I enjoyed God’s warm acceptance on an even deeper level than I had ever known.
How much comfort and healing I had missed because I mistakenly thought that God could not be trusted to love and forgive someone like me! I’m determined to make up for lost time by plunging fully into God, no matter how scary it might sometimes seem, and God keeps proving himself worthy of this trust and rewards me over and over with beautiful healings and affirmations.
I have peace like never before. My nightmares, sleepwalking and panic attacks have gone.
God is real. His love is genuine. He always wants to do me good – me who had been certain I was hopeless, and too perverse to ever be accepted by God. He never puts me down. He never wants me to think of myself as bad or unlovable or a reject. Instead, he calls me his trusted daughter; his pure and holy princess. He continually liberates me and empowers me. In him I have a true friend.
Besides all this, I am now enjoying the indescribable fulfillment of seeing other people set free, as God empowers me to love and support dear people e-mailing me who have been tricked by demons. I know from bitter experience that there is no one so vulnerable to demonic deception as someone who does not believe demons could deceive him/her.
Christine still fights demons. We all do. They come in the form of temptation, accusations, and so on. For one such experience Christine had several months after writing the above, see Tempted, Condemned, Put Down: The Hidden Reason for Our Doubts.
Our Authority Over Demons:
Spiritual Warfare: Turning Spiritual Attack into Victory
Further Help When Harassed by Demons:
The Secret to Casting Out Demons
The Page that Helped Christine:
Attacking Sin’s Pleasure
Letting Christ be our First Love:
You Can Find Love
A Surprisingly Similar Testimony to Christine’s:
The Unexpected Cause of My Sex Dreams
The webpage you have been reading belongs to a series of free webpages devoted to the full recovery of survivors (male and female) of all forms of sexual interference. See Comfort, Understanding and Healing for Abuse Survivors for an overview and links to the other critically important pages.
Grantley Morris: firstname.lastname@example.org
ALSO, COMMENTS ON THE ABOVE PAGE ARE SOUGHT
If you mention Christine, she can be involved
Not to be sold. © Copyright 2006, Grantley Morris. May be freely copied in whole or in part provided: it is not altered; this entire paragraph is included; readers are not charged and it is not used in a webpage. Many more compassionate, inspiring, sometimes hilarious writings available free online at www.net-burst.net Freely you have received, freely give. For use outside these limits, consult the author.