Mark 5:2-15 (ESV)
And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones.
And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea. The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid.
Commentary from 12step.org:
This passage tells of the healing by Jesus of a man who had many demons. In modern times we may wonder about what demon possession was really about. But regardless of our conclusions, there are many parallels between someone with demon possession and how we can act in our addictive behaviors. Verse 5:5 tells of the man crying and cutting himself with stones day and night. If we have gone very far into our addictive behaviors we most likely have found ourselves crying and hating ourselves afterwards for what we have done. The hatred may even have gone as far as cutting or doing bodily harm to ourselves in one way or another. It may go on day and night, having no end to the addictive behavior until we finally collapse in sheer exhaustion. And when we get up from the sleep of exhaustion the addictive behavior may take over again until exhaustion, creating an utterly self-destructive form of living. Also, we see in verses 5:3 and 5:4 about the incredible strength of this man. In our addictive behaviors with our adrenalin rushing through us, we also can often have a physical strength beyond our normal day to day strength. This may even be a source of pride and one reason that we turn to our addictive behavior, to have a feeling of strength or empowerment that we normally cannot find within ourselves. The lie of the addiction is, of course, that when we are through with our addictive behavior then we are usually weaker overall than before, having exhausted our strength or goodwill from others in often daredevil or foolhardy schemes that bring us no lasting good and often destruction. In verses 5:6 and 5:7 we see the answer to this man’s dilemma. By God’s grace this demon possessed man has the sense to run and worship Jesus. Whether it was the demons within this man or the man himself, there was an acknowledgement of Jesus’ position as the “Son of the most high God”. Following this, Jesus yielded His power over the man’s demons and by verse 5:15 we see that this man had been returned to his right mind. So from the 12 step perspective, one might say that this passage covers steps 1 through 3. The last phrase in verse 15 is very telling also. Instead of rejoicing with this man that he had been delivered, the towns people “were afraid”. So it may be also as we turn from our addictive habits. Instead of support and appreciation it may be that others shun us or are afraid of us, especially those who somehow benefit from our addiction (e.g., fellow addicts). This should not deter us from moving forward. In the context of the 12 step program, going forward would mean creating an inventory, the 4th step. In the case of this demon possessed man, an inventory would remind him strongly what he had been delivered from and help motivate him to never return to that state of being again.
One thought on “Dealing With Our Demons”
As I recover from my addictions, I change physically, emotionally and spiritually. People who were in any way invested in my former manifestation of self didn’t want the changes that I was experiencing to happen. Perhaps they were threatened. I don’t know.