Are all evil spirits demonic?
I don’t think so, and here’s why:
From time to time I will have someone come to see me who thinks they are demon possessed.
They may be hearing voices telling them to do bad things or they might be having hallucinations which they interpret as devils. They might have frightful compulsions to do things they know are evil. They might suffer from obsessions of all kinds or be drawn to dark and loathsome things.
This does not mean they are demon possessed or even that they are being harassed by demons.
If they do not display the symptoms of demonic possession, then they are more often troubled by what I describe to them as “evil spirits”. I go on to explain that the feel like it is an external evil force, but it is usually caused by something else.
The human personality is extremely complex and is made up of a tangle of physical, emotional, mental, spiritual and relational dynamics.
While we categorize problems as physical, emotional, relational, mental or spiritual, in fact all five factors are mixed together in the whole person. Relational problems are inevitably emotional and involve mental, physical and spiritual components. Likewise spiritual and mental problems will have emotional and often physical and relational factors.
In ministering to the person’s soul all these factors come into play.The “soul” doctor priest needs to be aware that there may be mental health issues, physical problems, relational and emotional difficulties which all have a bearing on the spiritual matters in hand.
Here’s an fictional example: let’s say a woman has been very sexually promiscuous. She may be driven to these behaviors partially because of bad relationships with parents, boyfriends etc. Her spiritual life has suffered as a result and she feels very guilty. This heavy load of guilt may eventually cause stress which produces physical symptoms or symptoms of stress related mental illness. As a result she may experience negative phenomena like bad dreams of devils accusing her or the idea that she is demon possessed because she is starting to hear voices.
What to do?