Saving Mad Men

Michael Beck

“And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.” (Mark 5:5)

The madman exists without – on the outside looking in. His alienation has been gradual; yet, the terrible insight can hit in a moment – the damning thought when he realizes he is “other.” He doesn’t belong. He is not one of “them.” And thus the need to get away – to be left alone – to be with himself, and only himself.

But such self-banishment is not what he really wants. He has not been seen, nor known in the past – he has been invisible to a world he wished saw him, knew him, cared. What others had, he was denied. What they had access to, he was barred from. Whatever attractive magic they had, he lacked.

He fights not to see himself the way he believes the world sees him, but it is a losing battle. He hears the whisper: “You really are repulsive – you are a monster.” And he answers, “So be it … I will be their worst nightmare.”

What plagues him? Legion. Tighter and tighter grow the cords of self-pity, bitterness, envy, and hatred. Sorrow and anger fuel his descent into ever deepening circles of hellish madness. His rage against a world he despises grows out of control. No one knows what to do with him. And so he must lurk in the shadows, in the tombs which the living avoid.

But then a man appears. “Why has this man violated my world? Why won’t he leave me alone?” But the Man is undaunted by the “monster.” He sees the soul He has made hidden under layer upon layer of distortion and pain. He looks upon him in love and pity despite all the disfigurement. And in a moment, all the lack of love and care is swallowed up in one loving, merciful touch. “You are not too far gone. You can be extricated from the abyss you have fallen into. I am your way of escape.”

And so the madman is brought up and out of the horrible pit. The cacophony of devils no longer rings in his ears. A new song is now in his mouth, even praise to his God – in whose presence he is welcomed, at long last loved and in his right mind.

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.