["Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery," Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, 1752]
One of our exorcists recently said, "I woke up this morning and was mentally pounded with self-accusatory thoughts of how bad I am and with the thought that I am not forgivable. It was very ugly." Interesting, he had been working that week with an afflicted person who was struggling with demonic obsessions, especially the mental torment of self-hatred.
In the Bible, Satan is called, "The Great Accuser" (Rev 12:10). One of Satan's most common tactics is to incessantly hound people with their sins. His goal is to destroy their sense of self-worth and bring them to despair.
Satan hates humans. He envies God's predilection for them. He rejects God for His humble incarnation in humanity. In accusing humanity of its sinfulness, Satan futilely tries to strike back at God.
Sometimes in exorcisms, we directly experience "The Great Accuser." Demons may call out our failings. They taunt me when I make mistakes. They especially like to point out times when they appear to have the upper hand in the battle. My defense? None. My response is: "Indeed, I am a sinner." Then I add: "But I am not your problem. Jesus is. In his holy name, I cast you out!"
When our exorcist woke up to a barrage of self-accusatory thoughts, the circumstances suggest that he was acting as a "burden bearer." We trust that his sacrifice was a grace for the afflicted person and perhaps for others similarly afflicted as well.
Many, many people suffer from demonic mental torments. Sometimes they are simply of a psychological origin. But more times than people realize, Satan is directly attacking their sense of self-worth and hope. Our response as fallen human beings is simple, "I am a sinner. But my hope is in Jesus."