Jesus tells a story about a man who had seven devils living in him. His life was a hell. Somehow, he got rid of all the devils; he was relieved. He thought he could manage his own life without God's help. Wrong! The seven devils returned -- and brought their friends with them. The man's life was worse than before.
He learned a valuable lesson; every empty space will be filled up with something -- and we choose what that "something" will be. Life is like an apartment building; lots of people come wanting a room. We have to decide who we want in our building and who we do not. I'll have to admit that I've allowed some strange guests to live in my building.
First, came Pride -- he was tall and handsome and walked through the door as if he owned the place. I like Pride; he taught me a lot: (1) think of yourself first; (2) strive to be number one, no matter how many people you have to step on to get there; (3) tell people how great you are -- after all, the world does revolve around you.
Second, came two sisters, Jealousy and Envy -- beautiful, tall and green eyes. They taught me that (1) things, not people, are most important; (2) never let someone else get more things than you; if they do, tear them down and take their things.
There was a pounding on my door; there stood the third, Anger -- demanding that I give him a room. I did. Anger wasn't the easiest person to get along with; his attitude was catching. I soon found myself dominating others and destroying them with my hostility.
The next day, a young lady came looking for a room -- She was fourth and her name was Greed. She was a very possessive person; she had to possess everything in sight; she was never satisfied; she was always wanting more. Greed was soon joined by her twin sister, Lust. Lust, too, was possessive; instead of possessing things, she wanted to possess people. Her philosophy? Other people exist for my pleasure; when I'm tired of them, I throw them away. I love to order people around; I love to take control of their lives.
Finally, I rented a room to Gluttony and Apathy. Gluttony ate everything in sight; never willing to share even one crumb. Apathy simply did not care; he didn't care about God, about others, or even about himself, Strange guests! I tried to get rid of them on my own; I couldn't. I asked God to intervene; He did. God filled my every room with Love, Mercy, Grace, Peace, Joy and Hope.
My strange guests were so uncomfortable in the presence of Holiness that they left. Good riddance! Now I can truly enjoy life!
Don Kuehle is a retired United Methodist minister who lives in Jackson. Opinions expressed are those of the author.Religion on 11/21/2019
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