What's Going On?

(The Dangers of Harry Potter)

By Dr. Bryan Gentry

July 16, 2007

I was faced with this question at the end of one of our preaching services at a nearby juvenile facility. We had been holding services there for more than a year when Ray (not his real name), a distraught young man, came up to me after the service. He received Christ at one of the first services he attended and was very faithful since that time.

The juvenile inmates are given a minimum nine month sentence to complete, however, if they got into trouble during that time they would have to stay longer. Some of the young men there had successfully stretched their nine months into two years or more. Ray was not one of the troublemakers, but was on schedule to get out in the minimum time.

On this particular day he patiently waited until the service was over and came up to me and said, “Brother Gentry, I have got to talk to you! I don't know what's going on!” After everyone else left, he and I sat down and began talking. I first asked him what the problem was. He reminded me that he got saved at one of our services about eight months ago and had been a model inmate since that time. He had not been written up for anything and had recently received his release date to get out in a month. He said that his mom was really sick and needed him home as soon as possible.

Then he said, “I don't know what has come over me this past week, but all of a sudden I started cussing people out.” He said he cussed the other youth out, the staff and even cussed out his case manager. For those who do not know what the case manager does, their job is to make recommendations to the judge regarding when an inmate is ready to be released.

I then began to evaluate what would lead to such a drastic behavior change. I asked him what kind of music he was listening to. I know that the wrong kind of music will cause some people to lose control. The devil has all kinds of snares waiting for the unsuspecting. He then told me that he did not listen to any music. So I asked him what he spent his spare time doing and he said, “Reading.” Then I asked what he had been reading and he said, “Harry Potter.”

I told him, “That's your problem! Those books teach people how to cast spells and call demons into themselves. Even though you are saved, you cannot expect to play with the devil's fire and not get burned.” He then asked, “What can I do? My Mom needs me home and now they are going to keep me another three or four months at least.”

I told him, “You are going to throw Harry Potter away and get back to reading your Bible, you are going to sincerely apologize to everyone you cussed out, and then we are going to pray and see what God will do.” He told me it was too late! I got a bit indignant because he seemed to think he had a problem that even God could not get him out of. I told him not to underestimate what God can do. We prayed right then and asked God to show Himself mighty in Ray's situation and for his mom's sake.

The next time I saw Ray I asked him if he had done what I told him to do. He assured me that he had. He was faithful to services for the next three weeks, but then I noticed that he was not there. I asked one of the other boys where he was. He responded, “You mean, you didn't hear? Ray went home!” It turned out that his case manager lost his paperwork. Ray did not even finish his full nine months! Praise God!!! I am convinced that we do not see God answer many prayers because we do not believe He will. What are you asking God to do for you? Do you really believe He will?

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