Monsterquest: The Dreaded Christianus Venificus!

Last Halloween, I was amused by the characters I saw trick-or-treating in the neighborhood--from ghouls to goblins, princesses and pirates.

But there's a monster that gives me goosebumps worse than a warty old hag in a black hat or even satan himself.

It doesn't appear just once a year. It doesn't prowl the streets at night. It can be in your home in broad daylight, in the pew next to you at church or jeepers--even in the pulpit!

It is the dreaded Christianus Venificus* (Latin scholars, please forgive me if I butchered the language)

Christianus: Christian

Venificus: a sorcerer, wizard, or witch.

A Christianus Venificus is a Christian who practices witchcraft!

A Wiccan “spell” pales in comparison to the disastrous results from a Christian’s misuse of his or her authentic power to bless or curse.

Witchcraft is all about control. It’s that simple…and that devastating.

I hear the pagan ‘witching hour” is 3 AM (the opposite of when Christ died at 3 PM), but I believe Sundays at 11 AM beats anything the pagans can muster.

The desire to control others has been around since the beginning. Satan coveted control over God; Adam and Eve wanted charge of their own destinies.

Nothing has changed--only that Jesus came as one completely controlled by the Holy Spirit and not His own interests. He won our liberty from both the desire to control and the prison of being controlled...if we dare!

Why is this a scary proposition?  The controller has to face the fear of losing control. Similarly, a man or woman used to being inordinately controlled has to remove the artificial boundaries and find the courage to walk out into the wide, open spaces of life.

I like Wiccans. Take them a plate of pumpkin cookies this Halloween. Controlling Christians frighten me. Don’t even invite them to lunch!

God forbids attempted manipulation of other people's minds, hearts, and circumstances. Even He won't do that with His creation!

The Lord works persuasively within the parameters of man's free will; He does not coerce or deceitfully trick people into doing what He wants.

Do you withhold sex, give the silent 'treatment' and employ pouting tactics to get your husband to give in to your demands or wants?

Moms, let's check our techniques with our children, too. Do you yell at your kids and put them down? Are you using undue influence against them even as they age in regards to college, career, or relationships? There's a big difference between sharing your concerns and shaming someone into compliance.

We even resort to "witchcraft" in our pulpits. Many leaders try to minister the gospel out of their own woundedness and insecurities.

“For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required…” Luke 12:48

Believe me, I’ve seen church leaders use their positions to publicly shame and scare congregants considered to be out of line. Instead of bringing the sheep in for discreet one-on-one ministry, the elders protected themselves from a direct confrontation and attempted to validate their positions by wielding a “Word from God”.

I've also heard pastors resort to triangulating messages. Designed to correct a particular person or group within the congregation, the content is cowardly preached outward to everybody, often resulting in embarrassment and gossip.

Listen! Jesus NEVER publicly shunned or shamed any individual during His earthly ministry. He harshly addressed religious orders, mindsets, and practices, but never PEOPLE!

When we choose exploitative tactics, we align ourselves with the master manipulator and deceiver of all times—satan.

The only thing that truly changes a person is grace; the only dispenser of grace is the Holy Spirit. Moreover, according to the Word, this grace is sufficient. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

The way and rate of change differs for each of us, and is not centered in how well we’re pressed by flesh—which may result in temporary compliance—but how well we surrender to the persuading conviction of the Spirit of God.

The Holy Spirit is good at it. That’s been His job--for thousands of years. (What did He ever do before we came along??)

Interestingly, the person that’s not “doing right” in our eyes seems to respond better when they’re cut from our strings. I think it has a lot to do with us getting straight first, don’t you agree? We then have time to divert our attention from others and finally look within at our tangled mess.

The Bible says that "rebellion IS the sin of witchcraft." (I Samuel 15:23)

Hey, this is tough stuff. That verse in I Samuel continues to say that not only is witchcraft rebellion in the eyes of God, but its companion—stubbornness--is idolatry!

An idol is anyone or anything that you care about and cater to more than God.

For a pastor, it could be His ministry, His church…the fulfillment of His vision.

Is it “your way or the highway” in your marriage? What about God’s way?

Can you trust the Holy Spirit to change a person or do you inwardly find fault with His process? Could you be the very one who’s holding it up?

Are you giving the person any credit or growing room? More importantly, are you giving any credit to God?

How do you treat those who fall short of your expectations? Do you secretly delight in shaming them into a better mold of behavior?

Do you tag the control with God’s name or spiritual gifts in order to give the appearance of divine permission or authority?

Wherever there’s witchcraft (the attempt to control another through fleshly manipulation), you’ll find rebellion (resistance to trusting God and His ways).

Wherever there’s rebellion, there’s stubbornness (an inability to let go of control and return it to God).

Wherever there’s stubbornness, there’s idolatry (you love, crave…HAVE to be in control of a person, group of people or a situation.)

If this is you, you need to repent deeply and genuinely from a sin worse that any moral failure or uncleanness.

For those of you knowingly controlled, you’re not off the hook, either. Repent for making others your idols. Come out from under their thumb and breathe. Venture out and learn who you are in God’s eyes, not theirs.

Fulfill God’s destiny for you--not their plans and hopes. Quit propping them up and making them look good (that’s called “enabling”). It’s time for you to step out of their shadows!

Only when you step away can God step in and help them. One day riskily lived in honest response to God is worth a thousand in safe contrivance.

Are you a Wiccan or a Pagan?

If you truly believe that the created elements are more valuable and worthy of your worship rather than the Creator Himself, so be it.

However, I understand that many of you came out of traditional, mainline Christian denominations because of the abuse and/or hypocrisy of authority figures who claimed to be Christians. I am grieved that God was so terribly misrepresented.

Perhaps you were bashed time and time again with the rules of the Bible, only hearing of a legalistic, demanding God from people who couldn't live it themselves. I am so sorry that God's Word was recklessly mishandled...having been thrown at you instead of served on bended knee.

God can be separated from those who misrepresent Him; the truth of His message can be untangled from those who seek to beat you down with it rather than lift you up.

There. That’s all I’m going to say. We Christians won’t say too much more until we first clean up our act.

But when you begin to see more of us desiring to master ourselves rather than others—when we embrace the governing power of Christ in our own lives and respect it in others—then perhaps we’ll win you back.

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