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Delusions & Spiritual Footholds
"Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned (Titus 3:10-11 NIV)."
Some time back, for about three years, I lived in a house with a woman and things were definitely not going well. I felt, at the time, that I had no choice for financial reasons. There was never any romantic relationship. She just lived there.
It didn't start off bad—quite the opposite. At first, we got along just fine. She had a good sense of humor, made an effort to get along and even sought my counsel and support after her husband had left her for another woman.
I was sure we'd get along just fine. And, for awhile, we did. When my brother came over, he'd often find us laughing and sharing jokes. But the situation would soon be very different.
Some background first on the woman who we'll call Mary. Mary was not a bad person. Not at all. She meant well and was very conscientious. She always did what she felt was right.
Mary grew up in a family where she experienced severe emotional and physical abuse. And all this at the hands of a mother who purported to be a Christian. Her mother would even play Christian music while she abused her daughter!
Mary thought she was a Christian. She knew the gospel and said a lot of the right things, though not all her Biblical ideas were Biblical. She was not saved—at least not at this time. And she did not go to church.
Soon, she would begin accusing me of wrongdoing for reasons that made no sense. No amount of reasoning would work on her. She even accused me of being like her mother. Thus began a three year period of loud arguments and recurrent problems. Sometimes, I'd be so angry that I needed two cans of beer just to get to sleep. This is something that I'd never experienced before in my life. Normally—and today—I rarely drink alcohol.
As the situation came to a conclusion—after three years—I realized that Satan had a spiritual foothold due to my anger issues with her. I did the right thing: I told her I'd apologize for my part in the problems we'd had. I knew, from experience, that that would help me forgive. And it did. But it did not completely resolve the foothold. Remember, I lived with her for three years; I should have never stayed in the situation that long.
For a long time afterward, while I felt I had forgiven her, I knew that the foothold was not completely resolved. I knew this because, from time to time, I would still experience anxiety as a result of this issue. I knew this because, when I would experience anxiety and then again forgive her from my heart, the anxiety would often immediately disappear, indicating that this was, indeed, the issue. To understand the concepts involved, be sure to read my two part series on Temporary Footholds.
I believe that today Mary is a Christian. She came over and visited me and wanted to again be a friend. She talked about her having become saved and the impact of her salvation experience. I could sense that what she was saying was real. She also was no longer delusional: In regard to all the arguments we had had, she stated: "I thought I was right." I chose not to renew the friendship—though I do wish her well.