Except John. A small, short man, standing there all alone.
The devil advanced towards him and said angrily: ‘Do you know who I am?’
‘Yes … I do’ replied John.
‘Aren’t you afraid of me like all the others?’ asked the devil.
‘No … I’ve been married to your sister for 25 years!’
The thing is, I knew John's wife. She was evil. Believe me, some people are really evil. They connive and plot in order to create havoc, chaos and ill-feelings wherever they are.
One question which is rarely asked these days is: Does the devil possess people?
Before answering this, let us remember that the devil, Satan, is a spirit. There is out there, all around us, a spiritual invisible world. An invisible realm or state of being. This invisible world consists of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit - who are spirits. It consists of Angels, and the souls of all people who have died. We are spirits. You and I are spirits - or souls is another word for it. We inhabit a body made mainly of water, chemicals and minerals. When the body disintegrates the soul/spirit lives on. And of course, the devils are also invisible spirits.
So, being spirits, evil ones, the devils can and have possessed people against their will. The Bible is full of such examples; and Jesus did on many occasions deliver people from their evil spirits or devils.
The Catholic Church believes that the devil can possess people and has appointed trained exorcist priests in every diocese. Other denominations and religions believe this also.
Thus, the devil can, if he wants to, possess people against their will. He can enter their souls and make them do his will. Very much like the Holy Spirit can enter our souls and help us and guides us in life - but only if we ask Him. The Holy Spirit does not abide in our souls without our express invitation.
However, the devil is clever. He does not possess people like he did in Biblical times. This is too dramatic. If he were to possess someone these days it would scare the **** out of us and make many people turn to God. Somewhat counter-productive, I think.
The devil is much more subtle. He influences people. He brings temptation in their way. And once influenced by his evil ways, he encourages those people to spread their evil influence everywhere around them. More effective and under the radar than outright possessing people, don't you think?
Our role and responsibility when we meet such people in our lives is to distance ourselves from their influence. It is not a sin to protect oneself. Just keep our distance and pray for God's protection and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Jesus is only a prayer away.