Blessed Padre Pio, a victim soul, who experienced both the joys and the sorrows of Jesus, offers us spiritual wisdom as to whether we are living a life in the Holy Spirit or deceived by an evil spirit. He writes in his journal: “The Spirit of God is a spirit of PEACE and even in the most serious faults He makes us feel a sorrow that is TRANQUIL, HUMBLE and CONFIDENT and this is precisely because of His mercy. The spirit of evil instead EXCITES, EXASPERATES, and makes us feel, in that very sorrow, ANGER against ourselves, whereas we should on the contrary be charitable with ourselves first and foremost. Therefore, if any thought agitates you, this agitation never comes from God, who gives you peace, being the Spirit of Peace, but from the devil.”
I love that quote, as it’s a reminder for me to pay attention to the voice I’m listening to. I wrote this excerpt a couple years ago and at that time Betty said I was “chewing on lies from the enemy.” She meant that I would take a negative thought and play it over and over again in my mind. I did this for many years until I finally realized that that way of thinking was actually doing damage. I was giving Satan a foothold into my life. This excerpt comes from the wisdom Betty shared. Her words are in red:
Sometimes we unconsciously beat ourselves up and make ourselves sick. Condemning ourselves can become like an addiction. We slip into this is the way we’ve always done it so it’s tough to break the bad habit.
“Lord, help me get over this bad habit of getting my anger out at myself by unconsciously letting myself play games of condemnation which can only give glory to Satan.”
Pray and keep crying out to the Lord to get free. You are eating poison when you go into condemnation. Image yourself giving whatever script you are playing inside to the Lord, and throw it away. Then pray, and ask the Lord what falsehoods are playing inside stealing your joy and peace. It’s very helpful to pray in tongues as the Holy Spirit will then pray through you. You need to take charge. Once you learn to do this, it’ll be so freeing.
Sometimes we can let ourselves go into places of toxicity where we feel really sick to our stomach because of the stuff we’ve fed ourselves spiritually and emotionally. We chew on condemning stuff, such as all the mistakes we’ve made. Like a good mother, we need to tell ourselves, “Stop it. That makes you sick.” We need to set inner boundaries on the scripts we play inside. We don’t want to take pleasure in condemnation anymore.
If what we are telling ourselves contradicts the Word of God, it’s not worth chewing on. You know it’s from condemnation and not from the Lord. We don’t want to give Satan glory. We want to stay in truth, which is where Jesus is. It’s helpful to say the scripture below over and over and get out of the bad habit of condemnation. In Christ Jesus, there is no condemnation.”(Romans 8:1)
The Lord is our hope to make a difference. The enemy can’t get into us, unless we have the open door. The open door for us can be giving in to letting our emotions take over. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. “ (Romans 12:2)
It’s work to give our mind over to Jesus’ truth when we hear the lies of Satan. Chew the Word of God. Take a verse like “When you make my word your home, you will learn the truth and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) Chew on it like the old cow chews its intake. John’s gospel is very powerful. When we chew on Satan’s lies, we’re making a decision to accept them by allowing them to repeat over and over. It’s only a temptation, until we bite or dwell on it, and play with it in our mind. That chewing on lies is what we need to repent of. Being tempted isn’t the problem. God permits us to be tempted, so we might make a decision for Him. When we play with it or agree with it, it becomes ours. The saints were tempted so that they might grow in virtue. However, what made them saints is that they refused the temptation by choosing to chew on Christ’s truth, not the lies.
We can humbly go before the Lord and tell Him, “I’m caught again. Teach me.” Jesus spoke in parables, because symbols can open us to healing the unconscious. For example, when we meditate on Jesus’ parable of the shepherd who was willing to leave the 99 sheep to reach out to the one who was lost, we can open to the Word of God through those symbols and imagine ourselves in that parable.
If we just study the Word of God in a cerebral way, and if we don’t open to entering into the wisdom in the heart, we can miss the message. The longest distance in the world is from the head to the heart. We have to sit with truth in prayer, and ask the Lord to help us to overcome our resistance to truth. That’s why prayer is important to receive the wisdom Jesus gave us.
It has finally dawned on me after more than 20 years of working with my Aunt Betty that if I spend more time meditating and taking in the scriptures, I can start to really believe them. Then when Satan tries to get me to despair, I will have a defense. It’s only been within the last few years that I’ve realized how damaging it is to take in condemnation. I never quite understood how much power I had been giving Satan by doing that. So many of my problems have stemmed from my ingestion of his lies. This, in turn, lead to depression. I’ve learned how important it is to take one of Christ’s truths and repeat it over and over until I really take it into my heart and soul.