Speaking to the Soul: Genuflecting to the Demons

by Laurie Gudim

Luke 6:39-49

When I was in graduate school studying clinical psychology I practiced the skills I was learning in several internships in which my work was closely observed.  Many people – professors, supervisors, and fellow students – had the duty of critiquing it.  Some of the evaluations left me feeling like I was totally inadequate, not only unable to help anyone in need, but myself a blight on the very face of the planet.  Others could be just as incisive and critical, but I would leave knowing where my strengths lay and where I needed to focus my next step of professional development.

I discovered that the people who offered the most useful feedback were the ones who were well aware of their own weaknesses.  They were continually working on themselves – and willing as well to admit that they were often stumped by their clients.

When I shared this insight with one of my favorite professors he said, “I hope you’ll become like the ones who are serving you best.  You have to be willing to really admit to your failings  If we can’t acknowledge how tangled up and confused we often are, how can we help anybody else?  People don’t need tin gods to tell them what to do; they need someone to help them to reach into their own resources and experiences for their answers.  We can serve them only insofar as we know just how mucky, stinky and dark our own psyches are.  We always have to face into the darkness – genuflect to our demons.”

True humility is just that – genuflecting to the demons.  As Jesus so humorously puts it in today’s Gospel reading, it’s knowing there is a huge log in our eye that pretty much blinds us.  We all have addictions, wounds and failures that cause us shame and get in the way of our relationships with one another and with God.  To get past them we have to embrace them, acknowledge and work with them.  It’s an ongoing process.  But only in engaging in this work can we truly be of aid to the other person, the one with the tiny little shred of a tree in their eye.

 


 

Laurie Gudim works is a religious iconographer and writer in Fort Collins, Colorado.  You can view some of her work at Everyday Mysteries.She has recently published her novel, Loving the Six-Toed Jesus, available from Amazon.

 

Image: Public Domain from Pixabay

Comment Policy
Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted. We also ask that you limit your comments to no more than four comments per story per day.

3 Comments
  1. Alethea Eason

    I really needed to read this tonight. Thank you.

  2. Philip B. Spivey

    Well said. What’s the adage: “Keep your friends close, and your demons closer?” There’s great wisdom in this. Demons are no more, and no less, than unacceptable aspects of ourselves that we’d like to hide, suppress or spin-off; they are sources of shame for us. Demons aren’t inherently evil except when we project them else where, e.g., by creating scapegoats. Then, our demons take human form.

  3. leslie marshall

    I really like the idea behind this post. I just call it being ‘honest’. I think our sins do not equate necessarily to being attributed to demonic spirits. Our sins come from our own natural mind, our dark hearts & our greedy flesh. [To advise us to ’embrace’ our demons may be the wrong wording?] Sin is a big deal.

    How about acknowledge our sin to God & one another, ask for forgiveness from God & one another, and keep walking in the Light?

    Yes, demons are evil, and we are to flee from any hint of them.

Comments are closed.