Colin and I used to fight as brothers often do, but almost all the time. We were just different people. To me he was “bad”, but I’m sure I was too. Our fights had grown more physical as we got older and we started to knock holes in our bedroom wall and destroy each other’s possessions. Ultimately, my older brother moved out of the house to attend university, which allowed me to move into another room that gave Colin and I some more privacy and space.
As we got older Colin and I drifted further and further apart. He hung out with his friends and I with mine. We still fought when we spent too much time together. There was always this omnipresent competition, but being older I always seemed to have the upper hand. I worked hard in school and in sports. I wasn’t ever the best at any one thing, but I was good. I graduated among the honor students and received a full scholarship to attend college. We developed like any other teenagers before parting ways as I left for university.
I remember turning 16, the age at which many of my peers got their first vehicles. It was not so for me. I waited until my parents purchased a new vehicle for themselves before getting their old station wagon. We were unemployed teenagers with a high probability of crashing our first vehicles so I understand not getting the high status car until we had proven ourselves worthy. This was not the case with Colin. By the time he had turned 16, I was already in college and living my own life. My father's burgeoning construction business was taking off and they could afford to get Colin a new truck. Perhaps they thought it would help his self esteem. Shortly after receiving this truck Colin and some of his friends crashed into a ditch while they were shooting fireworks from the bed while driving in a field.
The insurance "totaled" the vehicle which meant that it would cost more to repair than to simply purchase a new replacement so they issued a full refund value check for the wrecked truck. My parents used this money to buy Colin an even bigger truck.
Colin struggled in school and failed to graduate despite my parent's hard work in sending him to an expensive private school. I can imagine his shame in not walking across the stage with his classmates as well as my parent's disappointment. It was a tough school, but there were options he could have taken to study with tutors or simply apply himself. It's not like he had a learning disability like my uncle who suffers from dyslexia. He ultimately took summer classes and was able to receive a diploma. Oddly enough he attended university where I was thriving as a student leader; academically as well as socially.
We managed to keep to ourselves; however, Colin decided to drop out after just a year and pursue culinary arts school. I believe he eventually left that as well. He worked several jobs in the food service industry, he even moved to Denver, Colorado with a girl friend to pursue his path. He eventually developed a drinking and drug problem, wrecked his truck, as well as the next vehicle my parents bought him again, and lost his job. My older brother and I took time off work to drive close to 12 hours up to Denver, pick him up in a truck that I purchased from my father and tow his belongings another 12 hours back home to Texas.
We clearly loved Colin, but there was an undeniable pattern emerging which pointed to behaviors that Colin may not truly love himself. Something was wrong, and no matter how many times he was picked back up, dusted off, and set upon his feet he simply could not cope with the difficulties of reality.
It confused us, and completely tormented me for years as he seemed to make progress only to be hit with another shocking set-back. Colin struggled with his demon which led to his DUI, jail, and eventually being checked into rehab. Again I watched helplessly as now my parents were dragged into my childhood nightmare. The monster had control of my little brother, who may have died a long time ago.
Today he looks like what young Colin might have grown into, but it is not his authentic self. Instead a false-self, a demon that possesses his body, fraudulently masquerades in my true brother's place. It is terrifying!
I regret saying and doing all those mean things to my younger brother as children. I was too naive to have ever known how bad things would ever get between us. If only I could have known. I cry sometimes when I think back to the sweet child he was being tricked by the demon into giving it control over him. Lying to him about protecting him from feelings of unworthiness and not being good enough and how I played a part in helping the demon gain a foothold! The demon promised him safety, but only if the child would kneel and worship this false-self.
Today, Colin shares a home with my parents. He had seemingly turned his life around by going back to school, finishing his undergraduate degree, and getting his masters in addiction counseling. However, the demon is not gone, it's just better at hiding! The demon seethes with jealousy and envy upon those with true joy in their hearts (it can never experience this itself). The entity mostly ignores me but takes every opportunity to cut me down whenever it can. It stares at me with silent rage which is quite disturbing.
Many years ago when I myself had reached a spiritual "rock-bottom" I finally surrendered similarly kneeling, but to God. He alone is the reason I was saved from the depths of hopelessness and despair. Jesus came to me in a dream. In my brokenness He found me worthy. Since then I have committed to worshiping Him alone who is truly worthy. It's mind blowing that someone from 2,000 years ago said and did things that are still talked about to this day! His words and name have so much power and meaning that it's like He knew of us and our sufferings today, travelled back in time, and delivered His message!
Today, this morning I offer myself mind, body, and soul to you Lord Jesus and ask this humble request in spite of all the terrible things going on in this world, if you can look after the child that was my little brother and help release him from the demon's grasp. If he is already gone, please forgive me Lord for my part in helping the enemy to take him from us. Amen.