CHRISTIAN LIFE & GROWTH
Empathic vs. Psychic
Can we learn to read minds?By Beth Hyduke
It's perfectly acceptable and wise to hone your interpersonal communication skills, and to practice sensitivity, listening, and empathy with others. Using these interpersonal skills and the compassion and intelligence God has given us we can often predict, with a fair degree of accuracy, what others may say, how they will respond in a given situation, how they will feel etc. — especially if we know them well. There is nothing wrong with trying to sharpen our interpersonal skills or hone our communication skills or to work on our powers of perception so we can be sympathetic to the needs of others and empathize with them in their experiences. In fact, God commands us in His Word to be hospitable, loving, sensitive, and kind towards other people (Luke 6:31; Romans 12:9-13; 1 Peter 3:8), a big element of which is genuinely caring about and for them.
However, practicing sensitivity, empathy, and perceptive listening is a far cry from trying to tap in to supernatural powers by aspiring to become a psychic. An activity is not occult because particular tools are employed (like tarot cards or a Ouija board) — although psychics often do use such tools in their practice. An activity is considered to be occult when it is done for the purposes of uncovering hidden information (oftentimes concerning future events like a person's death). The word "occult" literally means "hidden, secret knowledge." So, all attempts to gain, access, uncover, reveal, or interpret normally obscured knowledge are occult practices.
God strenuously forbids occult practices in His Word. The occult "service" that psychics claim to perform (acquiring and uncovering secret knowledge about unknown or future events) and the means by which they attempt to attain this knowledge are categorically forbidden in the Bible (Deuteronomy 17:2-5; 18:9-14; Leviticus 19:26, 31; 20:6; 2 Kings 17:16-17; 21:6; Isaiah 2:6; 44:24-26; 47:12-14; Acts 19:18; Galatians 5:20; Revelation 21:8). Deuteronomy 29:29 says, "The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law." In other words, there are things God wants us to know for our spiritual growth and wellbeing, and He has given us these things to us in the Bible. But there are other things God has deliberately, purposefully withheld from us, fully intending that we not know them. The psychic, and those that employ or use psychics, desire to gain more knowledge than God has seen fit to give, and so they try to circumvent God by accessing knowledge which He has specifically ordained to be secret and hidden. Defying God's commands and wishes for us by seeking out a psychic or seeking to become a psychic reveals sin in our hearts and is a telltale indication that we don't trust God or the limitations He's set for and on us.
Like the terrified medium consulted by King Saul in 1 Samuel 28, many who claim to have psychic powers are often simply liars, con-men, and frauds. But psychics who have access to real supernatural power really do exist. The Bible makes it clear that there is an ongoing supernatural conflict within the universe we inhabit. When we choose to defy God and strike out on our own, attempting to access occult knowledge through the use of psychics, or to hone our own psychic power, we open ourselves up to being influenced by demons who, though they may initially appear to us to be helpful or useful or benign, only seek our harm and destruction (2 Corinthians 11:14-15; 1 Peter 5:8).
There's no such thing as a Christian psychic. If a psychic has authentic supernatural power, it always stems from evil rather than good. We read about one such example in Acts 16, in the account of a slave-girl whose fortune-telling ability to accurately predict the future had made her masters wealthy. But the true source of her power and accuracy to foretell the future, we are told, was a demon that possessed her until the Apostle Paul called him out of her, at which time she lost all her "psychic power" (Acts 16:16-18).
The Bible clearly teaches that there is only one Way to salvation, life, and eternal security, and that is through Jesus Christ alone (John 14:6). The search for spiritual fulfillment, personal peace, significance, happiness, comfort, guidance in decision making, preparation for the future, and help through life's problems and difficulties can all and only be fully realized in a personal relationship with Him — not by experimenting with occult practices He has forbidden.
Image Credit: nvodicka; untitled; Creative Commons
Tags: Biblical-Truth | Christian-Life | God-Father | Satan-Demons | Sin-Evil
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Published on 6-26-17