Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 1, 1949

Delirium Tremens

Cleon Lyles, Little Rock, Arkansas

This disease is commonly associated with those who have long been excessive in their use of intoxicating liquors. It is a disease of the brain and nervous system, and often causes self-destruction. Not long ago I saw some men bring one to a hospital who had this disease. They had to hold him on the bed. He was trying to jump out the window to escape from some imaginary enemy. Several times I have listened to those who were trying to be cured of the use of alcohol as they related some of their experiences with this disease. At a time the person has it, the enemies of his imagination are real to him. He hears things that are never said; he sees things that never exist; he runs from enemies who were never there. And, if something is not done for him, he finally destroys himself.

Spiritual Delirium Tremens

Many people who have never been addicted to alcohol have this disease, but do not realize it any more than the alcoholic. Such a person lives a miserable life. He imagines all sorts of things. When he sees a group of people talking, he is sure they are talking about him. He is so important in his own mind that he imagines a group cannot get together without discussing him. Hence, he begins to fight what he imagines they are saying, and so finally destroys his own usefulness as a man and as a Christian.

I have seen illustrations of this very thing. One man imagines that people are destroying his character. Believing this, he can neither write nor speak without making references and statements concerning this imaginary evil. People do not know what he is talking about, hence make no reply. The lack of a reply causes him to believe all the more that they are trying to destroy him. This will continue until he falls under the strain, and few will know why he has fallen. He blames some enemies that existed only in his own imagination.

The Unwanted Preacher

It may be that a preacher has a desire to work with a certain group of people. They already have their plans made, and cannot use him. He can't see why people would not use him unless something is wrong. Therefore he accuses them of listening to somebody who is trying to ruin his character. They, in turn, know that such is not true, and only turn the more away from him because of his attitude in the matter. He has thus destroyed himself; but he will blame it on some enemy who exists only in his own diseased imagination. He sees something in writing that sounds like somebody is "gunning" for him. He rushes to some for "boycott" protection, and thereby reveals his own nature to the one to whom he hurried. He has done harm to himself, but in his mind his imaginary enemies did it.

I knew a lady once who was unable to read articles in the paper, listen to a sermon, or hear a radio program, without imagining someone had the story of her life, and was making an attack on her. Such is a miserable feeling, but many people live in such misery. A person with such an attitude finds it difficult to make friends. Everyone who knows one with this disease will try to avoid him. This only leads to an increased certainty on his part, and to a stimulation of his imagination. The only cure that has ever been found for such a one is for him to get his mind off himself. When one can be persuaded to quit thinking about himself, the cure is easy.

The Cure

"We are our own worst enemy," has always been true, but nowhere is it more demonstrably true than in this matter. People do not take our friends from us; we lose them by our own actions. People cannot destroy our character; We alone can do that. The man who lives for God, and who refuses to stoop to the low level of the crooked politician shall not suffer any real harm. There are too many good people in the world to allow real harm to come. People who know a righteous man will not believe evil of him; his friends cannot be deceived by an evil report. Only when evil is proved to them will they believe it. People who are ready to believe every evil report on the merest whisper of it feed on evil, and can do little lasting harm to any man.

A person who has the spiritual delirium tremens imagines that his imaginary enemy is "running him down," hence; he goes about trying to do the same to the one whom he imagines is his enemy. He succeeds only in destroying his own influence. It is a well-known psychological fact that we are likely to attribute to others what we have in our own nature, but will not acknowledge. The fornicator, for example, believes there are no virtuous people; the liar believes that there is no man who will not lie if the stakes are high enough; the gossip thinks everybody talks about everybody else, etc. etc. It is an endless and a vicious cycle. It is a miserable disease. It leads to self-destruction. The one cure, the only cure, is for the one who is afflicted to get his mind off himself.


J. L. Roberts, 715 N. Johnson, Amarillo, Texas: "After two years, my work with the North Amarillo Church has come to an end. During these years, we have seen many changes. When we came here, in 1947, we found the church meeting in a most undesirable building. Now the church has a plant valued at not less than $75,000.00. There has been an extraordinary growth in member­ship. Two Bible class records were set in 1948 and two more in 1949; reaching an all time attendance re­cord of 312. Many commendations, which have come our way are greatly appreciated, but we know much more should have been done. With desire and cooperation the church has accomplished this work. Some of God's best people are found here. May God's blessings continue to be with them and the preacher who is to be chosen yet. I am ready to move to another work. Congregations interested should contact me by phoning 2-1764, or writing to the above address."