We’ve been considering the account of Jesus’ confrontation with the demons indwelling the men in the Gadarenes (Mark 5:1-20; Matthew 8:28-34; Luke 8:26-37). This is one of the most detailed accounts of demonizing and deliverance in the Bible and has many important lessons for us. It is natural to wonder how these men ever got to such a state. Why are some people so greatly demonized and others seemingly unaffected? The Bible doesn’t tell us what allowed this in these men but does give us information as to the most common causes of demonizing. While any sin can open the door to allow demons in, there are some sins that are particularly effective in allowing this. Some of the more common openings to demonizing include:
Opening 1: Sins that allow another power to control us. If we turn to another power other than God, if we open our lives to influences that aren’t from God, if we indulge in sins that allow us to be vulnerable to spiritual influences from demons, then we are opening the door for demons to enter and impact us. Idolatry, for example, opens the worshipper to demonizing because they allow the demon behind the idol to have access to themselves (1 Corinthians 10:20). Drug or alcohol abuse can do the same thing. Involvement in false religions also opens a door. Sexual sin is also a way demons enter a person’s life (1 Corinthians 6:15-16). Pride, anger and fear also make us vulnerable, for they become a prayer for these things to grow in our lives, and only Satan’s forces would answer such a prayer.
Opening 2: Sin in our family line. The sin that opened the door for demons to enter doesn’t have to have been committed by us. It could have been committed by an ancestor of ours. When a demon has access to a person, he also claims right to all that person has, including their children. The Bible says God “punishes the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation” (Exodus 20:4-5; Deuteronomy 5:8-9; Exodus 34:6-7). The Bible says that children are affected by their parents sins (Ezekiel 18;2) and this is one of the ways. Children are not accountable for them, but are impacted by their consequences. The same is true of positive, godly influences from our parents which also are passed on. This is often called “generational openings” or “ancestral openings” and is one of the most common reasons people are demonized. (For more information see under Old Testament, Moses (Exodus – Deuteronomy.)