I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. [Ephesians 5:16-19 (NLT)]
As a Christian, I don’t believe in hobgoblins, witches, ghouls, zombies, or ghosts but I do believe in vampires! No, not the fictional undead that live in coffins, shape shift into bats, have fangs but no reflection, and suck blood from the necks of the unsuspecting. I do believe in the emotional kind that can suck the life right out of us faster than a swarm of mosquitoes!
Sometimes these vampires actually are people; surely, you know the kind. There’s the Narcissist—the uncaring, selfish, and self-centered “me first” kind of person. Closely related to him is the Talker—the “listen to me” person who drones on and on, never lets you get a word in edgewise, and wouldn’t care what you had to say anyway. Then there’s the Martyr—the suffering victim with the “poor me” complaint and the “yes, but…” response to any helpful suggestion. The Boss is the “my way or the highway” kind of vampire who both dictates and demeans, insists and insults, commands and criticizes. Finally, we have the Drama Queen (or King) for whom everything (both big and little) creates a crisis and who wants to entangle you in the melodrama. In folklore, a hefty dose of garlic is said to ward off vampires. While it might work for these real vampires, there’s probably a better way. It’s been said that a vampire can’t enter your home unless you voluntarily invite him in; it’s probably wise to remember that same truth holds true for these emotional ones. As Christians, we may have to both love and forgive them and but we don’t have to welcome them into our lives, willingly open our collars, bare our necks, and submit to their torture!
Sometimes, however, life’s vampires aren’t people; they’re emotions that have already found a comfy home with us. They are negative mindsets like anger, anxiety, resentment, pessimism, insecurity, despondency, and fear; they, too, can suck the life right out of us. Those vampires may have brought along a few friends: the ghosts of regret, guilt, remorse and shame. These creatures of the dark whisper lies and half-truths in our ears as they suck the confidence, courage, hope and joy right out of our hearts.
In the old horror movies, there was a surefire way to destroy vampires: exposure to sunlight or a crucifix. The power of the Son and the cross continues to defeat those life-sucking emotional vampires today. With the power of Jesus, we can banish those people and emotions that are sucking the life from us. We can stand up for ourselves, forgive others (and ourselves), face our deepest secrets and fears, and choose God’s truth: the knowledge that we are valuable, loved, and forgiven. We are children of God and nothing and no one can take that away from us! With the power of the Son and the cross of Christ, we will be able to defeat vampires, ghosts, and anything else that goes bump in the night!
The scariest monsters are the ones that lurk within our souls. [Edgar Allen Poe]