Brainwashing. What do you think it means? It is actually a new term, first used in about 1950 in reference to the Communist Chinese process of adapting the thinking of those who continued their imperialist values to the new communist way of thought. Through a variety of methods, most of which involved pain and deprivation, the communist workers slowly changed the thinking of individuals and the culture as a whole. So you can call it brainwashing, or mind control, or indoctrination, or whatever you want. Once it is accomplished, it’s hard to go back to the truth.
Suppose God gave a message to the people He loved and that message became twisted by the evil thinking of the people. Suppose that, instead of love, the people saw anger and rejection. Suppose that, instead of grace, people read only law. Suppose that, instead of learning to trust the Lord who loved them, the people learned performance standards. And then these things were twisted so that they sounded like love and grace and trust.
The true gospel would be perverted into something else and the people of God would miss the whole point. Instead of enjoying their relationship with Him, they would be working hard to earn His favor. And the people of God would fight and be discouraged and share a weak message with the world.
Yes, I think we have been brainwashed. The whole system we knew was set up to reinforce the lie. We were not told that God loved us just because He does. We were told that He loves us when we do well. We were not told that He provides all we need for eternal salvation. We were taught to do things to earn and keep our salvation. For the most part, this constant message of error was concealed using the words of Scripture so that even the Word of God, read according to the thinking of the system, supported the lie.
But now we are free. The light has broken through the darkness and has shined on us. We see the truth and we know our Lord loves us. We know that we were never able to earn the love He freely gives, nor will we ever deserve it. We know that our salvation is in His hands alone and we are safe in Him forever.
We know these things, right? But sometimes the old thinking creeps back. The indoctrination was strong. We learned well. “It can’t really be that easy, can it?” “But what about…?” “The message of grace seems right, but…”
Who benefited from the lie? Only the evil one and those who served him. Only those who would pull us away from joy and peace and love. Only those who would hurt us.
Keep going forward. Eyes on Jesus. The truth has and will continue to set you free.