The Day I Stopped Believing in Jesus
Even though we only attend church for our kids, the pastor and a deacon asked if they could talk with me and Mike after church today. I was surprised when they gave us the most wonderful card—and said how they’ve still been praying for my full recovery.
I immediately explained that although I know Jesus existed, I don’t think he’s the son of God. Although I’d expected a reaction—or for them to snatch the card back—this confession didn’t even phase them. Instead, they said how much they love our family. AND as we spoke, I finally realized why I don’t believe in Christ anymore....
I was such a strong Christian years ago. So, why did that end?
People might think it’s when my son died. But that wasn’t when I stopped believing in Jesus; that’s when I momentarily stopped praying to God.
I wasn’t “mad” at Him—my heart was sad, devastated beyond words. I’d prayed for my son to live; how could God need him even more than I did???
So, no. That’s not when I stopped believing in the power of Jesus. It happened when I was 17 and Christians who loved Jesus—as much as I did—performed an exorcism on me.
I wasn’t legally married. I made a mistake: I had sex. Leaders swore that a demon had been transferred to me during the act....
The lead exorcist (the assistant pastor) made me sit in a pea-green kids’ chair. For a moment I actually wondered if I was possessed because people I trusted implicitly said so.
“Open your eyes, demon!” the assistant pastor repeated until he practically shook me, and yelled, “open your eyes!”
My little heart quaked inside, so scared. The look on his face. The vein bulging from his forehead. None of this felt right. “What’s your name?” he yelled, tiny bits of saliva flying. He—and the rest of the group—seemed so excited. An exorcism. This was a big deal.
I told him my name is Elisa. He grabbed me by the shoulders and leaned on me because the chair I sat in was so low to the ground. “I’m going to need everyone’s help with this one,” he said.
He kept asking for my name. His grip got harder, and my left shoulder actually hurt. Then everyone shoved their hands on me with SUCH a mob mentality. I’ve never felt claustrophobic like that, but the whole room came in on me. I couldn’t move. I started shaking when I realized my real name wasn’t good enough—of course they thought the shaking was a demon.
“Self righteousness,” I yelled, and I’m mortified to confess that I actually went along with it....
“Hallelujah, Jehovah!” the bad-breath exorcist said. “I know there are more in there. Tell us your names!”
Other people joined in with demands, clamoring for a piece of me.
“I don’t feel anything evil inside me, guys. I don’t feel…anything evil. I want to leave!”
“TELL US YOUR NAMES!”
“Violence!” I yelled and tried standing again. “Rebellion… Suicide!” I would say anything to leave that claustrophobic room with the pea-green chair. The grips got harder as I went on and on, hoping I could finally discover the secret password to freedom.
A while later it finally stopped because apparently the demons had flown out the window or something. The exorcists left the room so they could call the main pastor, and I stayed, crying in that pea-green chair. I remember turning around and kneeling down—begging God for help.
They had as much conviction as I did. But it was a different conviction. I made a mistake; I didn’t think that made me possessed. We had all believed in Jesus—the same Jesus. And they had ALL turned on me. How could they believe something with so much conviction. Maybe that could make me wrong too.
And as I spoke with the kind pastor of the Baptist church today, that’s what I thought about: when people did an exorcism on me over two decades ago...the day I stopped believing in Jesus.