Editor's Note: Pastor Roger Barrier's "Ask Roger" column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople, or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at roger@preachitteachit.org.

Dear Roger,

What does the Bible say about cursing? And by cursing I mean, when someone says something bad is going to happen to you. That kind of cursing, cursing your future.

Sincerely, Liiz

Dear Liiz,

When we think of curses, many of us immediately think of Voodoo. We picture someone pushing pins in little dolls which represent those they hate so that bad things can come upon them. We think of persons casting spells.

However, Voodoo is much more than that. Voodoo a religion practiced chiefly in the Caribbean countries, especially in Haiti. It is a mixture of Roman Catholic rituals and the animism and magic of slaves from West Africa. Those who practice Voodoo believe that God rules over a multitude of local deities and deified ancestors, and saints, who communicate with dreams, trances, and ritual practices.

In the Bible, curses and spells are forbidden practices that extend far beyond the practices of Voodoo (Deuteronomy 18:10-12).

As a pastor, I've received quite a number of curses--those that I know about and those that I don't--which statistically, I assume outnumber the former by many fold.

To curse is to wish that bad things happen to someone or to something.

On the other hand, to bless is to wish that good things happen to someone or to something.

One Sunday evening, I had this overwhelming dread that I would never see another Sunday. The sense of death was overwhelming. Each day was agony. I was on the exercise bike on Thursday peddling furiously when the phone rang. One of our counselors had just finished a session when a woman confessed that she and her friends in a witches' coven had prayed a death curse on me the previous Sunday night.

I was overwhelmed with relief. I now knew what the problem was and I knew how to handle it. I climbed off the bike, fell to my knees and prayed for the Holy Spirit to cancel any curses or demonic attacks placed against me. I asked Him to build a hedge of protection around me to protect me from any evil Satanic intention to harm my family or me. The dread disappeared.

I have no doubt that we can postulate a number of theological frameworks to reconcile the experiences like those I mentioned above with Biblical truth.

Let me share a few well-known theological construct that guarantees Christians that they need not worry about curses and Satanic attacks:

 "Nothing can separate us from God's love" (Romans 8:37-39), and, "greater is he that is in us (the Holy Spirit) than he (Satan) who is in the world (1 John 4:4). This theological construct assures us that God's love for us is never in doubt and that the Holy Spirit is greater than Satan. Therefore, we need not concern ourselves with things like curses and spells and Satanic interference. Upon closer examination, however, what these verses don't declare is that we are free from Satan's attacks and demonic curses.

My theological construct (and you certainly don't have to agree with it) is that we face a devastating a spiritual battle. We do need to be concerned with such things. After all, Peter reminds us: " Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith… " (1 Peter 5:8-9).