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Turning from mammon, turning to God

By William Thomas
Special to The PREVIEW

From March 2005 to May 2005, I was involuntarily committed to a mental hospital because I was deemed to be a danger to myself.

My diagnosis was paranoid schizophrenia.

At this hospital, there were various classes that I attended along with my fellow patients. At one such class a counselor asked me, “What makes you unique?”

I replied, “Well, everyone’s unique.”

The counselor then said, “Yes, but what makes you specifically unique?”

I thought about this question for a moment and then muttered, “My comic book collection, I guess.”

The counselor seemed satisfied with my answer and moved on to ask the next patient the same question. However, my answer was quite odd given the fact that I had thrown away my entire comic book collection shortly before being hospitalized.

Every Sunday there was a non-denominational church service at the hospital. My roommate frequently invited me to go with him, but I always refused. I was an atheist and did not believe in any of that religious bunk. So, while almost everyone else was singing hymns, I was laying on my bed waiting to die.

The counselor asked all of us what made us unique because of the importance of knowing who you truly are. I had made the mistake of defining myself through my possessions.

As Jesus said in Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

Comic books were my mammon. Instead of worshipping God I worshipped pieces of paper with drawings on them. Instead of defining myself through my relationship with God, I defined myself through my comic book collection.

In the months leading up to the psychotic break that led to my hospitalization, I was slowly deteriorating. Foolishly, instead of turning to God for guidance and wisdom, I turned to comic books. I had the delusional belief that if I could just merely find and read the right comic books, I would be fine.

Shortly before my hospitalization, it had become apparent that reading comic books was doing nothing for my schizophrenia. As a result, I threw away my entire collection of comics, having become completely disillusioned with them for their inability to save me. What I really needed to do was to start taking an antipsychotic medication. If I had asked God what to do, He would have told me to go to a doctor and to get the help that I needed.

I spent most of my time at the hospital waiting to die, because now that my comic books had been revealed as being a false god, I no longer had anything to believe in. Whenever one of my fellow patients tried to talk to me about Jesus I would become hostile and walk away.

However, I eventually learned the error of my ways. I still read comic books, but I now know that they are just entertainment and not a god.

I now recognize Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, and I have never felt as happy and fulfilled as I do now.

Readers’ comments

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This story was posted on January 3, 2013.