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Breaking the Bonds of Wickedness

C.S. Lewis, arguably the leading Christian intellectual of the 20th century, once said that the problem with Satan is we give him either too much credit or not enough. He is so right. People tend to blame the devil for everything wrong with the world or to laugh him off as some sort of boogie man that only lurks in the fertile imagination or religious Neanderthals.

Satan is very much alive and well and performing his nefarious deeds all over planet earth. Recent events remind us that there are profound implications for those of us who care about healing.

This struck me as a current news story unfolds. It's a sordid tale of a Catholic priest in Ohio who was arrested for a 25 year old murder of a nun. I was fascinated to learn that the motivation for the killing was his involvement in a satanic cult. Many years ago a similar story was told to me. It became the foundation for my as yet unpublished novel RITUAL.

More stunning than THE EXORCIST, which was also based on a true story, more frightening than ROSEMARY'S BABY, it tells the almost unbelievable tale of a young woman who had been groomed since infancy to be high priestess of a Satanic cult. Her work with a spiritual therapist quickens long forgotten and suppressed memories of a childhood filled with the very worst kind of terror.

Here's what really happened. A pastor who learned of my healing work with difficult cases referred a woman to me. He called me because neither her psychiatrist nor he could help her and they didn't know where else to turn.
I agreed to meet her. She was very agitated when she arrived at my office so I suggested a simple relaxation exercise -- a guided meditation where she could picture herself relaxing in a quiet lovely meadow in the woods. I turned on a tape of a babbling brook and then asked her to close her eyes and relax while I helped her imagine herself in a beautiful, tranquil, wooded glen. As soon as I started the meditation, she got more agitated. She became so frantic she began a bizarre attempt to pull off her arm, while flailing uncontrollably about my office.

Years earlier, when I worked with inner city youth in Cleveland, I had seen the awful reality of demonic possession. I recognized this in my new client immediately. If you've ever seen or heard someone who is oppressed by a demon you will never forget it. You will also never again doubt the reality of demons. Subhuman sounds and superhuman strength conspire to make any confrontation with evil spirits one of life's most memorable experiences. The haunted, ferocious look in their eyes lingers in the memory banks for a very long time.

Dealing with the demonic is simple but it isn't easy. There's no hocus pocus involved, no rosaries or incantations or rituals or spinning heads, but an awareness of your absolute authority over such evil in the name of Christ is essential. Through exercising that spiritual authority over the demons that were gnawing at her soul, I was able to calm her and begin to resolve the spiritual torture that had so suddenly attacked her.

Frankly, had I not had these spiritual tools in my therapeutic toolbox I don't know what would have happened to this woman. Perhaps she would have joined the thousands and perhaps millions of others who waste away their lives in psychiatric hospitals, drugged into oblivion, manifesting the very same symptoms of demonic oppression that Jesus dealt in the gospels yet having no one knowledgeable enough to recognize let alone deal with them effectively.

Once I calmed her down, she was able to tell me why this simple relaxation exercise sent her into an uncontrollable rage. She said as a child, she had been introduced into a satanic cult in the woods behind her church. The guided meditation took her back to that horrific time and reopened memories she had long since suppressed. Once she pictured the woods, she envisioned herself as a helpless little girl being molested in Satanic rituals. Then all those awful memories washed over her like some sort so spiritual tsunami.

Why, I wondered, was she trying to tear off her arm? Her answer was simple, matter of fact. "It should be destroyed," she replied. Her voice was barely a whisper. "I should be destroyed. I deserve to die."

"Why?" I asked her. As I watched this attractive thirty-something housewife sitting quietly before me, I couldn't imagine what she could have ever done that was deserving of self-mutilation and even death.

She looked up at me. I noticed a sad, pitiful loneliness in her tired eyes. She sighed and began to recount her incredible tale of unspeakable woe. Her father molested her from a very early age. When she finally reported it to the headmistress of her school, she was brought to the headmaster, a stern, homely, middle-aged priest. He instructed her to come to the church after dark on the following Friday evening. When she arrived, they took her back into the woods behind the church and treated her as human prey. Each full moon, for a couple of years, she was stalked, captured and raped by a group of men from a satanic cult who made sport of chasing her through the woods. All of this was by design, even her father's molestation. Since she had been singled out from birth to be trained to be high priestess of the satanic cult, the systematic sexual desensitization they planned for her was necessary for her to fulfill her role.

As she spoke, I struggled to maintain my own composure. I had heard many things in my years as a pastor and counselor but nothing prepared me for this. I was not at all sure I wanted to know, but I had to ask: "What role?" Her startling answer explained why she had tried to rip off her arm and why she felt she deserved to die.

"The high priestess has sex with the high priest...." She began. "Our headmaster." I winced. She said this in a dull monotone, her eyes gazing off into the long forgotten past. Then she quietly said, "I was expected to give birth to his child ... and ..." She paused, watching me to gauge my response.

"And?" I asked.

"And sacrifice it Satan."

It was all I could do to hide my astonishment. I was even more afraid to ask my next question but I had no choice. "Did you ... have his child?" She nodded, looking down. "And, did you...?"

"Yes," she said, her head bowed down with shame. "Her right arm began to tremble again. After a long moment, she looked up at me. Tears filled here eyes. "That's why I need to destroy my arm. Why I ... "

"Why you think you deserve to die," I said. 

She nodded. I knelt at her feet and embraced her as she sobbed. For over twenty years she had forgotten this living nightmare. She was literally programmed to suppress all memories of these awful events. But no one could anticipate the work the Holy Spirit would do. He came, just like it was prophesied in the end times, to heal our deepest pain (See Jeremiah 30). The God who knows every sparrow that falls to the ground, who has numbered the very hairs on her head, knew what had happened to my client. And He knew how to help her heal. The years I spent in the inner city learning things they never taught in psychology classes or even seminary, uniquely prepared me to undo the works of Satan in my spiritual sister's life.

Over the next few weeks, we went deeper, exploring the terrifying memories that had so recently resurfaced. I consulted with a colleague who had worked with satanic ritual abuse victims - SRA's - and learned to my own horror that such stories are all too common amongst the courageous therapists who work with these victims. But most importantly, I learned how to help her undo the bands of the yoke that had bound her for over twenty years.

Satan can no longer stay where he is unwelcome. Once she resolved that she no longer wanted the things that gave him access to her soul, he had to flee. Her situation was complicated, but as I carefully counseled her, I helped her find Christ's power to release her from a lifetime of bondage and captivity. As an aside, I must say that competent counsel must always accompany an exorcism. Without that, the situation will get much worse.

We do err when we blame everything on Satan. 'The devil made me do it' deserved to be a laughable adage in a 70's comic sketch. But we also err when we fail to understand the very real role that Satan and his demonic minions play in perpetrating so many horrific crimes against humanity in our cities and across the globe.

The most important thing for us to understand is that Jesus came to undo the works of the devil. Anyone who wants to be free from his power can be. When Jesus conquered death, he broke the power of evil against us forever. No weapons formed against us can prosper, no evil prevail, unless we want it to. If this knowledge were properly taught in seminaries, and schools of psychiatry, social work and psychology, many homeless could be helped, many hospitals emptied, many broken and devastated lives redeemed.

Satan is alive and well on planet earth. But so is Jesus. And I've read the last chapter of God's book, the Bible. The best news is this: Jesus wins. And that means so do we.



Ken Unger is President of and founder of, where you can learn more about him and his transformative ministry. click here ,
 "Ken's new book, The Ultimate Breakthrough, goes beyond self help to self healing. You can preview it at  The Ultimate Breakthrough "



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