My Cousin, the Satanist

What's a Christian to do when a family member is worshipping the devil?

I have a first cousin who moved back to the States several years ago.  He and his family lived in another country for years.  But one day, out of the blue, my mom got a text from him, begging for money to get a flight out of the country he was living in.  He claimed that the mafia there was going to "take his hands."  He is a brilliant artist, but he had gotten involved with "the wrong people" ... and now they were coming after him to take his hands.  He wanted money to fly out that night with his wife and two young children, leaving everything behind.  He said he'd pay her back.

My mom wasn't sure if she should give them the money.  She didn't know if she believed him.  But she felt she had no choice, so she wired him the money.

And they flew back to the USA with only the clothes on their backs.

And he paid her back.

This convinced her
that he was telling the truth.

We hadn't seen my cousin in years, but we figured this was a great time to reconnect with him.  To be the light of Christ to him and his family, to hopefully help him find salvation and healing.

He has had a rough past.  Broken home.  Broken family.  Mentally-disturbed mother who died young.  Abandoned by father.  Scattered siblings.  

And my cousin has coped with his pain and instability in different ways, even spending some time as a male prostitute, sadly enough.  

He eventually came out of that ... only to go into the occult.

And it's only gotten worse over time.  My cousin and his wife always dress in all black.  His wife has a shaved head.  They have occultic tattoos all over themselves.  And while he might be a brilliant artist, he paints all sorts of dark, disturbing occultic things.  It's not just "dabbling" or for fun.  It's hard-core.

The first time we went to his place for his kid's birthday party, we were so creeped out that we didn't even want to go into his house.  It's dark and creepy.  He has goats named after demons.  There are Ouija boards all over his walls.  And smack dab in the middle of the living room is a giant painting he did of his wife and her sister (who lives with them), in various shades of gray and black, naked, standing back-to-back with dark red ribbons around them in strategic places, both of them holding some sort of occultic thing, such as an upside down candle and something else I can't remember.  And the party favors they were handing out were little witchcrafty kinds of rag dolls.  (We didn't take one.)

Furthermore, he recently gave an interview where he said that his goal with his art is to bring the occult into the forefront.  He is completely, heavily committed to the occult, to the devil, and to spreading it in society.

At what point does a Christian decide it's time to cut off contact with a relative who is that involved with evil?  

I mean, we all want to be lights to family members and friends.  To show them the love of Christ.  To help them find salvation.

But at some point, we have to say "I'm done!"  Even God hands people over to the hardness of their hearts at some point, letting them face the consequences of their choices.

And for me ... that visit to his house was my last contact with them.

I had struggled with that decision.  I knew he had been through so much and was hurting so deeply.  And I wanted to help him find healing.  I thought maybe my mom "saving" him from losing his hands might help him see and desire Christ.    

But he only got darker.  They only got more occutic tattoos.  And up went the Ouija boards onto his walls.  

We tried to reach out to them, to see if there was any hope.  But I could tell they were just as uncomfortable around us as we were around them.  

And eventually I realized that my first concern wasn't them ... it had to be my own family and kids, to protect them from spiritual risks.  I had just gone through that nighttime demonic harassment (will post that on Halloween), so the spirit world and spiritual battle was very real to me.  And I didn't want to put my family at risk in any way.

I emailed my old pastor to ask his opinion.  He had been involved in spiritual warfare before (in a very real, practical, non-sensationalized way).  I told him about the house, the paintings, my concerns about getting too close to that and putting my family at risk.

And he agreed with me that it's time to cut off contact.  

When someone is that heavily involved in the occult, they know exactly what they are doing.  They are not misguided.  They are knowingly, willingly worshipping the devil.  And for me, it was time to cut off all contact with someone who is that actively opposed to the God I serve.

I still pray for them from time to time.  But I know he has made his decision.  And it would take an amazing miracle to shake him our of it, especially since his business thrives on his demonic art.

I know we Christians often feel we have to stay involved with everyone so that we can be witnesses to them.  

But sometimes ... when someone is involved too much with evil, the occult, ungodliness, or when they are strongly into their unrepentant sin and hardened heart ... sometimes it's best to let go of them, to continue to pray for them but to separate yourself from their hardness and darkness, to hand them over to God who might very well hand them over to their hardness.

We can only do so much for others.  But sometimes we need to make the hard decisions.  

I tried with my cousin, to reach him, to love him, to draw him to Christ.  But I couldn't sacrifice myself, my family, and our spiritual health for someone who was that determined to practice evil, to worship the devil, to fight against the God I love.

I don't know where I'm going with this story exactly, but I guess it's kind of a challenge to others to be careful about how we balance "love others" with "have nothing to do with darkness" ... "reach out" with "guard yourself" ... "get involved" with "shake the dust off your feet and don't throw pearls to pigs."  

It's not always an easy balance.  But in this day and age, with the rise in occultic activity and immorality and Christian persecution, we are probably going to face more and more difficult decisions.

Do you know where your line is, the point at which you say, "I can't do that" or "I can't be part of that" or "I can't be around you anymore"?  Is the spiritual battle real to you?  Do you live in an awareness of it daily, as you live your life and make your decisions?




Oh ... and the best part of my story ...

We had my cousin's pre-teen son over one night for a sleepover for one of my son's birthday parties (when we were still trying to reach out to them).  And somehow him and I got on the topic of heaven and hell.  And I said something about it being a choice.  And he looked at me and said, "But we don't really get a choice about where we end up, do we?"  And he pointed up and down, to heaven and hell.

I saw the opportunity and I grabbed onto it.  I looked him right in the eye and said, "Oh, yes, we do.  We can choose to go to heaven.  If you choose Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you will go to heaven."

He gave me a surprised look and a little half-smile.  And then he went back to playing with the kids.

I know my cousin would freak out and probably cast curses on me if he knew I did that, but I had to do it.  That little boy might never have a chance to hear the truth of Jesus anywhere else.  And I prayed that what I said would lodge itself in his brain, and that he would recall it as he saw his parents worshipping Satan, that he would always remember deep down that there is another way - the way of Life and Light and Truth and Salvation!

Maybe someday!  Who knows?  But I planted the seed when I saw the chance.  And now the rest is up to God.  My cousin and his wife may be too far gone, but at least the kids still have a chance.
  

Has anyone else out there had to make a really difficult, messy,  uncomfortable decision or sacrifice when it came to living out your faith?  How did it turn out for you?

Popular posts from this blog

Is Yoga Ok For Christians? (Here's a hint: It's not!)

Help for Anxiety, Depression, and Suicidal Thoughts

God is love, but love is NOT a god!