In my house, there are many uninvited guests. These guests show up from time to time and really disturb the comfortable situation that I attempt to make the norm for my day to day living. The Uninvited, as some people call them, bring their friends, associates, and family members who all do their part to change life.

The guest who is the most uninvited is named Poneros. In English, he is simply called Evil. Poneros never knocks or rings the bell. He is just suddenly there, inexpediently showing his hideous face. Day or night, he does not have consistency. Sometimes he is there when I get home, sometimes it is when I wake up, other times he shows up in my children’s bedroom. The other day he showed up while I was eating breakfast. How does he get in you ask? Well, he has a key. I did not give him one as I don’t have keys to my house, just the ability to open or deny presence to those who knock. The Landlord gives him a key and I don’t know why. In fact, that is a great discussion that we often have in my house. We theorize why the Landlord gives Poneros a key. It just does not make sense. Either way, he has one and he comes in at the most inopportune times.

You must understand how difficult Poneros makes things around the house. He rearranges furniture and sometimes remodels homes. This is so upsetting. We work hard to make our homes comfortable. We become used to the way things are. For me, I like things to be “normal.” When I get up in the morning, I want no unnecessary surprises. I want to get up, read the paper, have my coffee, take a shower, etc. in the exact same way that I did the previous day. But Poneros will have none of that. When he is present, nothing stays the same. It makes me very sad. Things that I have grown so accustomed to change the moment he shows up. The entire house is remodeled and things are not where they are supposed to be. It is not just that Poneros wreaks havoc on people’s daily routine, but it is also the way he does it. I know people who have had him lock the bedroom doors to children, never to be opened again. I also know those who have woken up only to have their spouse unable to speak anymore.

Since I cannot make him leave, I attempt to do what I can to cope with the situation. Always, when Poneros shows up you can expect many knocks at the door to follow. Most of those who show up have to be let in by me, but some are let in by Poneros.

The first one who normally comes is a familiar face named Panic. Panic shows up immediately after Poneros. Sometimes I will let him in, but more often I won’t. Every time I have let Panic in, he attacks Poneros, which seems to be a good thing, but he eventually loses. When this happens, the house is a bigger disaster than it was before. Panic, as easy as it is to let him in, is not helpful.

When I don’t let Panic in, there is another guest who comes immediately after. His name is Denial. Denial is more attractive because he helps people to avoid Poneros. Instead of recognizing the presence of Poneros, Denial encourages people to never enter into his presence. If Poneros is in the living room, Denial says to go to the Den. If Poneros is in the den, then Denial leads upstairs. He usually leads me to my office. My office has been a nice shelter. Up until now Poneros has not come in for some reason. The problem, however, with listening to the advice of Denial is that, while his words and encouragement seem wise, he really, like Panic, makes things worse. If I am not in the presence of Poneros at all times, he destroys my house even more. Therefore, I try not to let Denial in either.

After Poneros has been in the house for a while others begin to knock. The first is Self-Pity. Self-Pity is really kind. She really seems to have insight and deep sympathetic understanding. She will make you feel as if you are the only person who has ever experienced the presence of Poneros, or at least the only one upon whom he has been so destructive. If you lay your head on her shoulder, she will just run her hands through your hair and say, “This is so sad” over and over again. Self-Pity has children: Bitterness and Anger. Bitterness will encourage you, as you are being stroked by his mother, to listen to his brother Anger. Anger will tell you that it is everyone’s fault that Poneros is in your house. Once you are convinced of this, you don’t let anyone in the door at all. Anger and Bitterness cause you to feel better for a time. They are very easy to listen to, but that is only because of the strokes of their mother. In the end, however, none of these help the situation as Poneros is still present and has not been dealt with.

Sometimes, during these events, you can expect another Uninvited guest named Depression. Depression has no beauty or enticing words, but there is something about him that lures people. I think that it is because of his familiarity and his ability to work so closely with all the other Uninvited. Depression will agree with Self-Pity and will give Panic some back up. He tells people that Poneros is not going to leave. He also says that all the rearranging is permanent. He believes that the difficulty brought about is one that is too much for anyone to bear. He requires that all doors and windows be locked and that any routine to which you are attempting to return is foolish. Most of the time, Depression requires that you stay locked up in your bedroom. If people knock at the door, Depression says, “Don’t answer…there is no use. The person whom they want to see no longer exists and will never be back.” Somehow Depression is so convincing. It is like he really knows what he is talking about. Even when you have caught Depression in lies and deception, he is able to convince you that he is not lying this time. And that is all it takes.

More on the Uninvited later.

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

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