This will probably be the most personal blog article I have shared to date, and I do so with “hesitant caution.” Why? Well, for starters, I’m sharing a dream I had many years ago. Dreams are an interesting phenomenon, and can be very tricky to understand. They can be revelatory of the inner workings of the heart and mind, and at times they can be revelatory in the supernatural sense… or they can be the result of too much pizza earlier that evening. The sharing of dreams can also invite some interesting (and bizarre) responses and commentary. In light of this, let me say the following:
1] I do not claim to be an ‘interpreter of dreams,’ and I am certainly no psychoanalyst. What I am sharing here is what I have gleaned from this dream with my very limited understanding.
2] This particular dream is many years old, so whatever insights I share have taken that long to glean, and there’s probably more ‘years of stuff’ to learn.
3] I am intentionally using broad strokes and generalizations in what I share. I say this to the exceptionally curious: don’t try to read into this what hasn’t been said.
4] Most importantly, I am writing this as a committed believer and follower of God in Christ Jesus my Lord. It is only by submitting to Him that I can ever hope to find true liberty and peace. It is my belief that He is guiding and directing me, even at times, through my dreams.
Like I said, I share this with “hesitant caution”, but I share it none the less. Why? Because after all these years this is the most vivid dream I’ve ever had, and I just have a sense that there may be something here that can help, bless, and assist someone in their journey. It seems like this is the right time to share; I sure hope I’m right!
So I’ll share the dream, basically as I recorded it in my personal journal back in January of 1995 (with some editing). Afterward, I’ll try to do somewhat of a running commentary on it.
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Dream: THE OFFENDERS (morning of 01-04-95)
I usually do not remember my dreams. The only reason I even record this is because, not only do I remember it, but I remember it vividly. I also recognized the characters and situation from a dream, or dreams, I have had many years before… .
The setting appeared to be a very large building, much like a large school. Its structure was much like the junior and senior high schools I had gone to as a boy.
There were two main characters other than myself. I’ll call them offenders #1 and #2. They both appeared to be youths, early to mid-teens. In fact, I was a teenager in the dream.
I recognized one of the offenders from a dream long ago, where I was pursuing him for “offending the law.” I remember that, no matter how close I would get to him, in the end he would always elude me.
In this dream I recognized both the offenders. Rather than pursue them myself, I notified the “authorities.” The two offenders were each in separate rooms. I approached offender #2, who recognized me. Now there must have been a relationship established between us because he acknowledged my presence almost in a friendly way. I was grieved to have to turn him in, and so was he, but he yielded without opposition to the authorities. Then I approached offender #1. He also acknowledged me, but when I turned to let the authorities in, he ran the other way. We were in hot pursuit of him when he suddenly eluded us. I was very angry. There was no way he could have escaped.
Then we looked up at the top of the building (we were in a central court yard type area), and there he was at the top of the building in a look-out/observation area, yelling and screaming in defiance to us. I quickly organized the authorities and some ‘others’ (close friends), and we went after him, cutting off all exits from the building. We ascended the various stairwells, and we cornered him in the only room he could have gone. It was actually a small theater. We searched and could not find him. Suddenly I remembered—there was a stairwell backstage that went all the way down to the main floor where he could escape. In a mad frenzy I ran down the stairs, almost falling down. I feared that he had eluded me again. I was almost in tears when I burst through the exit going outside and, to my surprise, I nearly tripped over him at the door. He was stooping as though trying to tie his shoe laces. Wildly I dived and tackled him. We fought each other with violent rage. As I recall, he was full of violent hatred, but I clung to him, for I was filled with violent desperation. Finally I subdued him, and, bound in my arms, I lifted him over my head. By this time I was weeping from anger. The authorities came to take him away.
I sat down on a step, breathing hard from the conflict. Suddenly I broke out in uncontrollable sobs, and I was full of great sorrow and grief. I had been intimately acquainted with offender #1, and was crushed to have turned him in. But I knew that it had to be done. Still, I wept uncontrollably… .
When I woke up, I was on my knees next to the bed. I remember that I had gotten up early to spend some time in prayer. As I recalled the dream, that sense of grief started to come over me, and I wanted to cry.
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The offenders. These represent besetting issues, struggles, sins, addictions- that have almost taken on a “personality” of their own. It is a struggle with the self-life (see Romans 7:14-23). Some things have been with us so long, and have become so intertwined with our lives, that they seem to us to be “us”, and yet “not us.” However “it” lives because we live, that is, our selfish-self expression. To deal with it is treacherous, because “it” does not want to die, because we do not want to die. But die it must if we are to walk in any peace and freedom. How often we read in the New Testament that we must “put to death” the deeds of the body, that we must “take up the cross” and “die daily”, that we should “consider ourselves dead to sin, but alive to God”, and so on. 
This will be no easy task. The offenders are like master criminal minds, masters of disguise and escape. It “knows our house” if you will, inside and out, every nook and cranny. There is only one way to deal with it. It must be eradicated, firmly, resolutely, intentionally, and violently, because it WILL RESIST any attempts to be put to death.
In my dream there were two offenders. I think perhaps this illustrates how, on the one hand, we really do want to deal with our issues, and are able to do so, to a degree. But the deeper issues are much more tenacious, and much more insidious, even to ourselves. It will take all that God has endowed within us, and the help of trusted others, to subdue the enemy within.
Youths; Teens. Many of the issues we struggle with as adults can be traced back to our formative years, where difficult and/or traumatic events set the stage for bondages to come. This is especially true with addictive behaviors, habits and thought patterns. Youths are typically not mature enough to deal with these kinds of assaults to the soul. Even in the healthiest of family settings one can be ‘scarred’ by such attacks. How much more the damage to those who had less fortunate social upbringings.
This is not excusing bad and destructive behaviors; we are still responsible for our choices, for they are, in the end, our choices. But not many options were available to us in those early years, and it can take time to unlearn all that stuff. The good news is that, in Christ, we [potentially] have limitless options and possibilities available for the choosing!
Authorities. I am using this term in a positive sense, for I understand that not all authority figures in our lives have been positive. The Ultimate Authority, of course, is God; but there are also those who have gained our trust, respect, and loyalty, those whom we feel can assist us in our struggles. But they can only assist. In the end, we are the only ones who can deal with- our “selves.”
The ‘authorities’ can change over the years, depending on many differing factors. The point is that these are the ones whom we feel we can bare our souls to, those whom we feel can handle the ugliest, vilest parts of our lives, without condemning us, nor patronizing or excusing bad behavior and attitudes. They are the ones who, in love, will walk with us through and out of the bondage.
Grieving. Make no mistake: this may well be the hardest thing you will ever do. It may be traumatic and painful. It is death. All the more reason why we must approach this intentionally, resolving to, with tenacity, seek out this ‘false self’ no matter what the (personal) cost, until it is brought into submission to the cross. It is a death, and we may grieve the loss. But only in death can we find the true life that Jesus died to purchase for us, and only in His Resurrection power can we ever hope to “rise up” into newness of freedom, life, and living.
In closing. My sole purpose in sharing all this is that it may bring hope and encouragement, and maybe a little guidance, to the reader. Perhaps you find yourself identifying with the dream, deep inside your heart. Please take it to Father God in prayer and ask for His direction and instruction. He knows you best, and loves You like no one else ever could.
In the dream I finally “subdued” and conquered the rebellious offender #1. It was very hard, very trying, mentally and emotionally. But there was victory. I can only conclude that God believes that I have what it takes to succeed in this endeavor, because He has empowered me to do so. In the final analysis, seek God; He can get you through, especially when you feel that there is no way through. Be encouraged!
 Romans 8:13; Colossians 3:5; Luke 9:23; Romans 6:11