Disclaimer: I’m just merely sharing a story because its intrigued me since I heard it. Please don’t miss my point for the details.
During my visit to Haiti last month I learned a lot about Voodooism and the spiritual realm that is so very active in that country. Some of that I’ve already shared with you in an earlier post about my take on the earthquake and Haiti’s “devil pact,” but here’s a little more that I didn’t originally share.
One evening I was sitting with our main Haitian translater along with several other people from my church’s team. As we listened to the beat of drums from a distant Voodoo ceremony, I asked him if he had ever been a part of a Voodoo ceremony and what it was like. It turns out that not only had he been a part of several ceremonies, but many of them revolved around him being at the center, bound and tormented by evil spirits. He told us stories of how the Voodoo priests placed curses on him in attempts to get him to stop telling people about Jesus. Once he was even physically displaced (supernaturally, from what I understand) from Haiti to the Dominican Republic where he resided for several months before returning back to Hait to continue preaching the gospel. His stories about the persecution he’s endured for the sake of Christ are truly humbling, especially coming from a 25 year old guy with a limited academic education but such a thorough knowledge of God’s Word that it feels like it puts my Bible college and seminary education to shame.
After his stories I asked him to share what happens in a Voodoo ceremony, and hopefully I will never forget what he shared with those of us sitting around that evening.
He explained that, while different Voodoo ceremonies have different elements depending on what they’re doing, sometimes they’ll call on the evil spirits of a snake to come possess them, and when it does, it causes grown men to lay on the ground and slither around like snakes. They make sounds like a snake and they even slither through the trees. Sometimes the demon will leave a man when he’s slithered to the top of a tree or hanging upside-down on a high branch so that when the man comes out of his trance he falls to the ground and dies instantly.
Then he said that other times evil spirits come and possess them to make “boy like boy and girl like girl.” The men are possessed and start having sex with men and the women with women. Several times he noted how despicable this was and that the evil spirits cause them to sin in “a very bad way.” I stopped him and said, “That happens in America, too, but no one equates it to the influence of evil spirits. Some people say it’s just an attraction you’re born with and there’s nothing wrong with it.” At that, he started getting noticeably angry saying how it is absolutely an influence or a possession of evil spirits. Yikes. I decided to let him move on with his story.
He went on to share that other times the evil spirits that come during the Voodoo ceremonies are ones that possess people to be greedy, so greedy that they’ll do almost anything necessary to get money and material possessions. “Wow,” I thought, “we see that in America, too, but again, no one necessarily equates that directly to demonic activity.”
As I listened to him share more and more, not only did it confirm over and over again just how publicly active the spiritual realm is in Haiti, but how it doesn’t exist any less here in America than it does there. The enemy just has a different tactic in Western society to stay hidden and behind the scenes. If the enemy can get us to believe they don’t exist or that their influence is minimal, they achieve the exact same results with us as they do in Haiti: to focus on something other than God. We thereby are just as blinded and deceived as they are.
Now that I’ve been back in the US for a couple weeks, it’s so clear how blinded I was. I cover my sin with excuses or deem it to my list of “struggles” and fail to see what it could really be going on, not that there’s a demon behind every sinful thought or deed, but at the same time I must not discredit the power that’s there and active. That’s why I need Jesus’ strength, power, and authority so much more than I originally thought.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Matthew 28:18
“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” Ephesians 1:18-21
P.S. If you choose to go to Haiti someday, be forewarned: it will mess with your theology! Whether we like it or not, too much of our theology is defined through an American lens.
Posted on June 8, 2010