It is not unusual to learn that a mass murderer was hearing voices telling him what to do. People filled with rage may listen to lying spirits who goad them on. The demon says things to provoke the person to feel justified to hate or kill. Psychiatrist M. Scott Peck has written about this. Sometimes drug addicts open themselves up to dark spirits. The drugs lower their rational defenses. Certain kinds of psychosis have audible hallucinations.
We all listen to voices in our head even if it is just our own voice rehearsing our thoughts in our imagination. Whose voice are you hearing? Dismiss bad voices. This is important to know to stay healthy and free.
Joy Behar on The View recently mocked Vice President Mike Pence for saying he had heard the Lord speak to him. It was a matter of personal guidance that Mr. Pence had been praying about. The internal reassurance that came to him as his answer (the Lord’s voice) gave him peace about his decision.
I have two reactions. First, why would Ms. Behar mock a Christian for believing the Holy Spirit had spoken to him? She should save her criticisms for irrational people, not sane people of faith. Would she have criticized a Muslim or a native Indian for this? It seems only Christians are the targets of the liberal media’s scorn.
Second, why is it irrational to believe that God speaks? God is a person, not a mute idol. The Bible is filled with accounts of people who heard God. This includes Adam, Abraham, Moses, David, and the prophets. This continuing experience of communicating with God goes through the new covenant as well; Mary, Jesus, the disciples, and Paul.
John writes this in the book of Revelation: “Hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.” It is present tense. He hasn’t stopped speaking. The Holy Spirit still speaks today to the members of the church. The question is, are we listening?
I know mentally ill people may hear voices. This can be from brain damage or chemical imbalance. It can also come from unholy spirits - demons. People who are not followers of Jesus have little to no protection from lying spirits. Oppressed, tormented people need to be set free. By knowing the Lord Jesus and by knowing his word (the Bible) we can be safe.
There are three sources of “hearing voices.” One is the voice of your own spirit. I call this your conscience or intuition. But your inner man (your heart) does have a voice. Don’t stifle it! Another source is an evil spirit who inserts thoughts into your mind to snare you. The third source is the voice of God. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27)
In my own life, I have frequently heard God’s voice. I am a rational scientific person. I know the Bible thoroughly. The scriptures are my standard for evaluating what I discern or hear.
Usually God’s voice is an impression or knowing accompanied by peace. Occasionally it is a “thought from the throne” dropped into my mind. Rarely, it’s a voice so clear, I can’t tell if it’s audible or not.
Such was the case when I first expressed my love to my sweetheart. An hour later, the Lord spoke distinct directions to me to confirm our union by marriage. I needed her! Then, there was the angel who saved my life when he said, “Slow down - danger ahead!”
Ron Wood is a pastor, teacher, and writer. He and his wife, Lana, live in NWA near their two children, Scott and Rebekah, and their six lovely grandchildren. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
600 words, NWADG/WCEL February 28, 2018 column, Hearing Voices