In Acts 16, the bible tells us: “She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, ‘These men are servants of the Most High God, and they have come to tell you how to be saved.’ This went on day after day until Paul got so exasperated that he turned and said to the demon within her, ‘I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.’ And instantly it left her.” It can be easy to get mad at people who exasperate us with their demons, literally and figuratively. In the above account, a girl was wearing out the Apostle Paul with hers. Day after day, depleting his energy, time, patience and focus. I did some research on this text, and (for a simpleton’s sake like me) it broke down like this: The Greek word used for ‘exasperated’ is ‘grieved’ (διαπονηθεὶς). Basically, it’s ‘angry’ and ‘sad.’ Paul was sad at the condition of the girl, and mad at the ongoing, outward display of the evil that possessed her. To be simple: Paul wasn’t mad at her, Paul was mad at what was IN her. And Paul loved her enough to help get it OUT. As I get to do life with people who have demons of their own (addiction, rebellion, criminal behavior, suicidal thoughts) I want to love them so I can help them! Paul’s encounter encourages me to do that in three ways. One, that my” διαπονηθεὶς” be anger mixed WITH sadness/compassion. Two, that I do what I can, when I can, to HELP! And lastly–that like Paul–I sometimes get to see the demon flee, and the brand new person rise up!


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