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The television program Stargate Atlantis featured a parasitic alien race called the Wraith who stole human lives by placing their hand upon the victim’s chest. As his life drained away from his body, the prey of the Wraith aged rapidly. The process as depicted seemed horrible. Indeed, it is disturbing to think of losing one’s life in that fashion. Yet, there is a way in which it is possible for “parasites” to drain our lives in the real world. These “parasites” are not Wraiths or Vampires. In fact, they may be people we have befriended. They are individuals who, by their constant neediness, drain from us our mental and physical wellbeing. Reciprocating none of the time or emotion we invest in them, they are takers and their modus operandi violates Biblical teaching. The Scriptures reveal that God demands we avoid selfishness since it is diametrically opposed to His compassionate nature. He tells us through His servant Paul to, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4 NASB)

In the four gospels, we encounter occasions upon which Jesus felt compassion for His creation. On one of these occasions, we observe a wearied Jesus feed five thousand people because He perceived them as sheep without a shepherd (cf. Matthew 14:13ff; Mark 6:34ff; Luke 9:11ff; John 6:1ff). Matthew’s gospel reveals that He had withdrawn Himself into seclusion following the death of John the Baptizer. One may infer that He did so to pray as well as mourn the death of His relative whom He esteemed as a great servant of God. Despite His grief, Jesus put the needs of others first. He healed them of their diseases and filled their bellies with food. Despite His generosity under difficult personal circumstances, the people upon whom Jesus lavished His care only asked for more. Unfortunately, this was Jesus’ lot while He conducted His earthly ministry and we are able to see that that such “psychic vampires” bothered even Him at times. Remember His reaction when only one of ten lepers He cleansed returned to thank Him. He asked, “…Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine—where are they? Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?'” (Luke 17:17-18 NASB)

I am sure that most of us have had run-ins with psychic vampires. Despite the much that we were able to give, the emotional parasite wanted more. With each favor that we performed or the succor we provided, they still possessed some need that could not be satiated. Was that experience not wearisome? Were we not literally fatigued from the event? Did we not want to cast that person from our life? If such is true of us, imagine how taxing it must be for God! Our Heavenly Father incessantly deals with the constant appeals of persons having only the intention of giving themselves and that with which He has blessed them back to Him. They seek only to take and take and take without ever stopping to say, “Thank You,” or to do their fair share to resolve their problems, problems into which they have often gotten themselves. God has become to them only a “celestial Santa Claus.” What ratio exists in their prayers between their perceived needs and the expression of thanksgiving for what God has already done? Paul wrote, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6 NASB) Are any of us so bold as to actually think that God owes us anything seeing as He has already given us His all in the death of His Son at Calvary? Psychic vampires not only fail to give back to God but also fail to give back to their fellow man as commanded in Galatians 6:2 and 10. They believe they can fulfill their beneficence by saying to their brother in need of food and clothing, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled” (cf. James 2:16). As such, theirs is faithless religion.

Psychic vampires exist in an environment in which there is disorder and every evil thing (cf. James 3:16). They wreak havoc and leave people drained of their lives, emotionally and physically. Truly, a psychic vampire is easy to spot. However, could it be that we are guilty of having a beam in our own eye as we point out the speck in the eye of our brother (cf. Matthew 7:3-5)? How often do we thank God, as we should? How often are we mindful of our fellow man? Friends and brethren, it may be we who are the psychic vampires. We may have so esteemed our own trifles that we have become blind to a generous God and a world filled with those worse off than ourselves. God help us not to lose sight of our obligations to Him to whom we owe everything or the needs of others made in His image.