With Halloween being today and people dressing up as the things we envision haunting large old houses or abandoned factories, it seems like an important question to ask, "Are we haunted? Are hauntings real?"
Hauntings are an interesting concept that humans have come up with. The idea that sometimes when a person dies, though their body is dead, their spirit lives on in our world because they either have some "unfinished business" or they just don't want to leave. These spirits stick around, and sometimes they make their presence known to those of us still living. Some are content to live in our world, while creating very little disturbance. But others, the ones we most hear about, live in our world to torment and induce fear, and sometimes cause death. These are the ones that are angry about something and want to make someone pay for it.
Of course, there are some who find comfort in the idea of ghosts because that means there's a possibility of communicating with the people we care about after they die. The relationship doesn't have to dissolve with death if ghosts are real.
Then there are those who get a thrill out of the idea of encountering a ghost. Countless TV shows are dedicated to showing people hunting ghosts in some of the world's most haunted places. While there's always something clearly weird going on, no one ever seems to catch the tiniest glimpse of a ghost on camera. Yet there have been so many eye witnesses throughout history who claim to have seen a ghost that the evidence would seem to point to something close to what humanity has come up with to describe ghosts.
We're All Haunted, But Not By What You Think
We don't need ghosts to be haunted. People who are very much alive do the things that ghosts are said to do all the time. People that torment you and tear you down. Who needs ghosts when we have real living human beings, some who unmercilessly make the world a miserable place to live in for some people?
Do people really get to stick around to do the things they've always done, including haunting people? Is that really an option?
Jesus tells us a story in Luke 16:19-31 about two men who died-a nameless rich man and a homeless beggar named Lazarus. The interesting thing about the rich man is that he was desperate for the concept of the dead returning to earth to be true. He's tormented in the eternal place where he'll never have God, and he begs Abraham to send Lazarus back to warn his brothers. Abraham doesn't say it's impossible. Anything is possible with God, and there is one isolated instance in the Old Testament in 2 Samuel 23 when God did send the spirit of a dead man back. The result was terrifying to the people who experienced it, which is much what we would expect. But in this instance with the rich man and Lazarus, Abraham seems to say that it would serve no purpose to send a man back, so God isn't going to do it. The rich man doesn't ask for the ability to go back himself, but you have to think that he could only desperately wish that sticking around earth as a spirit after death was an option. But Lazarus' spirit is carried away to heaven after death, and the rich man's spirit was carried to hell immediately upon death. It doesn't say who carried the rich man. He didn't get the option to stick around. Surely he had some unfinished business, but it would remain unfinished.
Another interesting element of the story is that Lazarus, in life, was a beggar outside of the rich man's home, begging for food daily. The rich man could have made Lazarus' life better, but instead he gave him nothing. The rich man was the one haunting Lazarus in life by his neglect. But once death occurred, the haunting stopped.
God holds the power over the human spirit, and he doesn't seem to leave any room for the belief that he allows spirits to stick around after death.
But what about all the evidence? It seems like something's haunting places all over the world. It's not too hard to imagine a race of spirit beings that the Bible talks about impersonating the spirits of human beings. Who knows why they do it, but it seems like the most likely answer for the hauntings that are legitimately real. That's really another post for another time, though.
We're haunted by things that are a little more close to home. For human beings, haunting happens during life, and sometimes we're the ones doing the haunting. Nobody wants to be haunted.
Life is better spent creating hope rather than creating fear. Human beings were never meant to haunt other human beings.
What kind of activities do you have going on for Halloween?