And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 22:35-40 (ESV)
Reading about love is easy? But what about when loving (and forgiving) other people is a challenge? When I got this comment on my personal (but public) Facebook page I have to admit that I did not feel a whole lot of love.
I wonder what happened to you Barbara, following in the footsteps of Doreen Virtue, when we all have the same idea, to open minds to our greatest self and to love all, serve all, did you really need to renounce it all and then make a point to be an ex new ager?… I find this “let’s give up all our knowledge and self awareness and throw our brains away to Jesus really sad, it is like you gave up and got brainwashed. How very sad for you and all the people who read your books and your tarot work especially. I am only saying what many on this page must be seriously thinking… No one deserves to throw away a life’s work which has so beautifully helped people just because some born again brainwashed people believe so, and let me tell you, there is evil and it is not in the New Age!
As I read this post, my heart took off a mile a minute, just the way it did in High School or Middle School or Grade School when I knew people were talking. That reaction surprised me, but I set it aside and wrote a fair and reasonable reply and did my best to summarize how I came to recognize the deception of New Age and the occult.
But underneath, the feeling of being unjustly accused still rankled.
I knew, for example, that I wasn’t brainwashed and that it was critical thinking NOT blind faith that had led me to Jesus. I knew that I had begun to investigate Christianity months before I had even heard of Doreen Virtue’s conversion. And I had never, ever said that any New Age person was evil. As a matter of fact, I had gone out of my way to say that most New Agers were sincere spiritual seekers who had been deliberately misled. As I was.
I kept most of those things out of my reply. I didn’t really know the woman who had commented, after all, except through Facebook. But I knew that in one regard she was right – other people who followed my old blog, The Mystic Review, including some of my real life New Age friends were probably making the same assumptions she was.
The idea that people I knew and liked and used to meet for lunch might be judging me just as harshly bothered me. And so, feeling in need of some support, I posted on the comment I’d received in the closed New Age to Christianity support group I belong to.
In retrospect, I’m not sure if I made that post for the right reasons or the wrong ones or if it was a mix of both. Part of me did want people to reassure me. But I also wanted advice on how I could serve Christ by witnessing to those in the New Age and occult. And I got both.
The feedback I received was wonderful. Almost everyone seemed to clearly understand where the woman who made the original Facebook comment (I’ll call her S) was coming from – because we had all once been in a very similar place. As a group we agreed to prayer for her and talked about how deceptive New Age was and how we could most effectively reach out to others.
But among all that good counsel one suggestion in particular really hit home. It included a prayer.
Lord Jesus, allow me to see them with your eyes and love them with your heart.
So that night prayed for S and made my best attempt to see her and love her in the same way that Jesus would. But I really wasn’t able to. So I prayed to be able to see her, and others who have hurt me, through his eyes.
The next morning I woke up before my alarm and started praying for S again and then, for some reason, I started thinking about my father, who I have forgiven but never really felt true forgiveness for. I remember thinking about how I never talk about him to my kids – or anyone. Then I heard that still, small inner voice that comes to me now and then during prayer say, “he never talked about his father either.”
I realized that I had never really thought of that before, and somehow laying there with the morning sun drifting in above the air-conditioned it seemed like a revelation.
Then, out of nowhere a powerful and very unusual feeling came over me.
What I felt over those next few minutes was so beautiful and so pure that there was an actual sensation to it – a feeling that feel somewhere between the rush of love you feel when a child is born and the tingle that comes at the end of a really touching movie. It was exquisite and beautiful and sad.
The feeling was so profoundly compassionate that my eyes filled, but at the same time so inexplicably blissful that I wanted to stay in that place forever. I have never, ever felt anything like it. But I believe that it was an answer to my prayer. And I believe that is how Jesus sees each and every one of us.
When the feeling finally faded it occurred to me that this was the experience that put everything else into perspective, all the way back to childhood. And what I am left with has changed me. Because I know that Jesus is absolutely, incomprehensibly compassionate and that he suffers for each lost soul. No matter what.
To hear my podcast which shares a bit more on how this facebook interaction played out and my experience of the love of Jesus, please click here: Testimony on the Love of Jesus
To read the full (first) comment, please see below. It is an interesting window into the way some people in the New Age look at things. Most ARE nice well-meaning people. Sadly, that isn’t really the point.