It can be anything from aggravating to frightening. It can cause ill effects (literally).
Spirits haunt people just as they haunt places. Good people can have evil or generational spirits around them (though there is often a hidden fault that’s the energy behind it). Those spirits can then “jump” onto others — unbeknownst to the carriers, who then think you’re being rude, unloving, or shunning them (as you instinctively keep a distance).
It’s difficult, because while a person may be sweet and good and well-meaning, we have a natural disinclination toward them if they bring around an oppression. Despite best efforts, we begin to resent them.
This can be heart-breaking, but it’s human nature, no matter how much we fight it: to associate a person or people with the spirit (or spirits) they bring — to blame the person instead of the demon (and as stated: there may be instances when the carrier is to blame, often due to one of the seven cardinal sins, including sloth, the pride of hidden fault, that allows demons to remain attached — cases that demonstrate, as it says in Proverbs, that “a curse without cause does not alight”). We must always make sure we are not carriers.
In a famous case in Indianapolis, a social caseworker who was visiting a home that was in the midst of a formal Church exorcism suddenly began experiencing a litany of unfortunate events, including serious accidents. Something was around her — and people could sense it. It had jumped on her from the house and now afflicted those around her. “I had friends who wouldn’t talk to me because they believed that something had attached itself to me,” she told a newspaper.
In all likelihood, something had.
Many of us go through this (or may be harboring spirits ourselves) and in a new tome, the Manual For Spiritual Warfare (highly recommended), some unique advice is granted, drawing from mystical theology and the saints.
“One night when he was disturbed more than usual [by spiritual attack],” notes the book, “[Saint John Vianney] said, ‘My God, I willingly make to You the sacrifice of a few hours’ sleep for the conversion of sinners.’ Immediately, the demons vanished, and everything fell silent.”
With this prayer, the enemy’s attacks were turned against it.
In short: when attacked, offer it up, especially for the conversion of sinners — and for the deliverance of whoever may be afflicted.
This way, when the devil assaults, he is working against his own interest — helping to draw converts to Jesus!
Powerful stuff, and we all go through various forms of spiritual warfare every day and also at night, often without realizing it. The ways of Satan are beyond number. He can even make you sound or appear to others as you are not, causing conflict. He can lead people to gravitate to you or distance themselves, depending on his immediate goal. There can be a demonic charisma or, conversely, a negative change in appearance. Perceptions can be manipulated.
That came to mind in a recent “special report,” when we discussed how, during that exorcism in Indiana, a priest involved was astonished how during a bike ride everyone he passed — perhaps as many as fifteen folks on roads and sidewalks — was stopping to smile enthusiastically and wave at him on the first leg of his trip. All those he saw were friendly — uncannily so. He’d never had people react to his bike rides like that before and figured the angels were happy with him helping the demonized family.
Deeper into his journey, however, there was a series of near-miss accidents (the devil had been setting him up) — and all the way home, people he passed were no longer friendly.
Now, everyone was staring at him, with looks of puzzlement, including a family.
“It was freaky,” says the priest. “They were just standing there staring at me, all with the same kind of look.”
Did you ever wonder if this has happened to you — that misperceptions or miscommunications have been spawned by the evil one; that folks may have heard something different than what you actually said, a tone that was unintended, or seen a facial expression that wasn’t really yours — or that you heard or saw wrong?
Naturally, when someone brings the confusions, electrical static, and divisiveness of evil, it causes those they encounter to want to leave. (It’s called the survival instinct.) When someone is (unknowingly) the source of spiritual attack, it’s hard not to consider them the enemy.
Yet, maybe it is a solution, at least at times: offering it for the conversion of sinners.
Another answer: focusing on the Jesus in everyone — not the evil that, for whatever reason, seems to hover about. In all circumstances, love. Search for the shield of humility.
For spirits there are, and of a number, cruelty, genius, and assortment that will astonish us one day when we see with the eyes of Heaven.