I remember being just like him. The search for God among the gnostics is wrought with rabbit trails and dead ends attended to by charismatic teachers who each proclaim, “this is the way!” and “I have the true understanding!”
It is easy to find yourself caught in the Siren song of these places. They fill you with both a terrible sense of guilt and self righteousness. In order to quiet the guilt, you focus your attention to conform to the dangerous ideologies of these charismatic teachers, and then point accusingly at those who fail to meet those ideologies.
In the darkest of these barren places we are fooled into believing that our love for intellectualism and Scriptural debate is the same as a love for God. It isn’t. I know. I lived there for a long time; and I was just as cruel as those teachers who taught their cruelty was formed from a place of love inside of them.
Compassion, mercy, empathy were corrupted. Our shaming and finger pointing masked themselves under those ideals, but their display revealed them to be anything but. Everything began and finished with an “I’m right; you’re wrong…I win; you lose!” posturing.
I am ashamed of my time caught in those dead ends and rabbit trails. They distracted from the search, the journey, the chasing after God. It was a time of unfair judgments and accusations. I learned a lot from the experience, but mostly I learned the importance of mercy and compassion by their absence.
It breaks my heart to see someone I care about caught in the same snares; blinded by so much self-importance that reason has no chance, and love has no place.
“Are you right with the Lord?” is a terrifying question.