Are you afraid of being brainwashed? To be perfectly honest, I was. No it didn’t have anything to do with mind control or anything sci-fi related. It had everything to do with what books I read and which speakers I listened to.
I noticed a pattern when it came to the Christian speakers and authors I was listening to and reading. I was only investing my time in those who held all of the same views and opinions that I held. At the time I thought that was perfectly acceptable. Why wouldn’t I? Of course I would want to relate with those I’m in agreement with.
If there were speakers/authors who believed a certain way that I was uncomfortable with I would just write them off. I wouldn’t read their books or listen to them speak. But is that the right way to respond? Should we just disregard everything someone writes about and says because one or a couple parts of their belief system doesn’t line up with ours? What if God has given them insight that you need to mature but you never get that teaching because the baby has been thrown out with the bathwater?
What is it that keeps us away from those who might challenge us? For me it was fear. I was afraid that I would somehow be brainwashed and come away lost in error and deception.
We spent last winter in Kansas with family and my dad blasted me when this conversation came up. He said, “How insecure are you in what you believe that fear of being brainwashed would keep you from someone who might challenge you?” Ouch! Leave it to those closest to you to punch you in the face, so to speak.
I realized a couple of things after that. Even the fear of being brainwashed is wrong. Fear is sin period. To not read or listen to someone because the Holy Spirit is telling you not too is one thing, but to allow fear to keep you from them is just plain wrong. I also realized that I am secure enough in what I believe that I am not going to be brainwashed. As long as I am in tune with the Holy Spirit I trust that He will keep me in truth!
I’m so thankful that I have read some of the authors that I previously was unwilling to read. Some of them have changed my life! Some of those authors have beliefs that I still question and am uncomfortable with but guess what? I didn’t come away from those books brainwashed. I don’t have to compromise my beliefs in order to gain the revelation God has for me through many different people.
Now for my clarifying statement: To do anything apart from discernment is dangerous. We must be discerning when it comes to what we allow in our lives. Fear is wrong but there is nothing wrong with asking God about a book or speaker prior to reading or listening. If fact, God says, “Know me in everything….” (Prov 3:6). He will keep us from destruction but we must ask and listen.
What is it that keeps you from people who challenge your beliefs or hold beliefs you don’t agree with?
Jesse and Kara Birkey