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 other people is a challenge?
I got this comment on my personal, but public, Facebook page, less than a year after I left the new age and occult in 2017. And I have to admit that I read it, 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. And it seemed so unfair.
I knew 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.
That reaction surprised me, but I set it aside and wrote a fair and reasonable reply.Some of the things she said in return were hurtful. But I was okay with that I didn’t really know her, 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, were probably making some of the same assumptions she was.
And so, feeling in need of some support, I posted on my experience in a Christian support group I belong to. Most of the feedback I received was helpful. But one suggestion in particular stood out. It recommended 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.
My Experience of Spirit
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 if God can feel compassion for members of my family, He can feel compassion for me.
And for all of us.