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The Parable of the Prodigal Demon

“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first." --Matthew 12:43-45

He will abandon you before you can abandon him. He sees the holy broom and the sweet spirit of the mop coming over the hill. The demon knows when he is about to be turned out with the cat, so he takes the key to the house and slips out the back. He abandons the house before the house abandons him. But the demon will return. For he is sly enough to take a key, because the demon says it’s “my house.”

But the demon thinks he’ll find a new home, a better one. So he ties his belongings to a stick like a hobo and goes out into the larger world where he hopes to find a new life. He becomes the prodigal demon. Unhappy and wayward. But the demon walks through dry places and finds no rest. He visits every honky-tonk from here to Holly Springs, Mississippi. No rest. He busts up a marriage over in Tuscaloosa. He splits a church in Limestone County. All of it as devilish as it gets, but he finds no rest in all of this madness, because he will never find a home like the one he has made with you. No bed ever cradled his darkness the way your heart cradled his.

So he sits down like the Prodigal Son and decides he’s going home. At least he won’t have to beg for sin at your house. But something is different. The windows look cleaner. There’s a fresh paint job and the yard is mowed. The weeds are gone. “This is strange,” the demon thinks.

He turns the knob and sticks his pointed-little-head inside and calls out your favorite sin. “I got some lust for you. I got some filth for you. I got a little greedy money for you. Got some vain ideas, some delicious pride, and a little hate on the side.”

Then the smell of Spic and Span rushes in his nostrils, and then Mr. Clean wallops him over the head with a magic eraser. Then Pine-sol gives him a swift kick in the rear, and the demon tumbles out into the night. Because your house has been swept clean and put in order.

But you had better make sure, if you clean your house, you put somebody besides cleaning agents in there to occupy it, because the demon will be back. He doesn’t give up easily. Cleaning our souls can be temporary, which can lead to a worse condition, if we aren’t careful. So you must decide who owns your house.

Only you can decide that. Only you know how dirty or how clean your house is on the inside. A person walking down the street can’t see through your closed blinds. He doesn’t know if you have a devil in there or if you have a sweet angel by the hearth. So bringing the demon to the light is the way to clean your soul. Confession is the door into the courtyard of freedom. The truth will set you free. Maybe. (Just be careful who you tell.) But whatever you do, get ready a train is coming. Seven hired-guns are headed your way. So invite the Holy Spirit inside. You will need help.

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