That’s what an enemy of Christ (an atheist) said to me online the other day, after I made a positive comment about Christ and His Word. He thinks that because I am a Christian, I have been manipulated into a particular way of thinking that doesn’t match his. Therefore, I have been brainwashed.
After giving it some thought, I’ve concluded that he is right. I have been brain-washed.
I have been brain-washed in the grace of Jesus that cleanses me and sets me free from the clutches of sin, including the sins I only think. Now I am no longer owned by my old self – the sinful, prideful, lustful, hateful, scornful self. All that evil sewage has been washed away by the blood of Jesus. So yes, I have been brain-washed.
I have been brain-washed into realizing that every day those same evil thoughts and attitudes try to take over yet again, but the washing of renewal and regeneration that the Spirit of Christ laid on me when He baptized me. His amazing grace drowns them in a sea of righteousness not my own, but transplanted from the Cross of Jesus.
I have been brain-washed to embrace the new man Jesus has recreated in me, so that I am now His own, defined not by my birth or my brain, but by the perfect love of my perfect Savior.
I have been brain-washed to discover that God has given other ways to perceive Him besides my physical eyes and my human brain. He doesn’t fit in a lab, a test tube or under a microscope. He defies human logic and reason, mainly because they are so human. He proves He is there with me and for me, but it’s the eyes of my heart He has enlightened to see with.
I have been brain-washed to see worshiping Him at His place, with His people, is not an obligation but an opportunity. I don’t look at it as my chance to audition for The Voice or check a few boxes on the Good list, but it is His time to pour out a little more grace on a bunch of people who desperately need it.
I have been brain-washed to look at the people around me as brothers and sisters in Christ, children of God so dearly loved as I am, that He died and rose for them, too. I want for them what He wants for them: new life, lived by His light rather than our darkness, and extending into forever alongside all those who are called to believe and belong.
I have been brain-washed to understand that my feelings about myself, about other people, or even about God are unstable and unreliable. Therefore, I don’t base my life, my faith, my attitudes or my direction on temporary emotions or desires that are forever corrupted by the old self.
I have been brain-washed to trust in the one true God to be my God. Not the government. Not the universities nor the thinktanks. Not the media nor the celebrities. Not even science– if by that, you mean what you think science ought to say. Whatever those human institutions espouse, I will always filter through what God says. If they oppose Him, I reject them. He is always right. They are not.
I have been brain-washed to know that sin is defined by God, and I have no right to change His definition. I call sin what God calls sin. I identify evil by what He identifies as evil. I know that He does not confuse lust with love, even though a lot of us do, and not all “loves” are the same.
I have been brain-washed to believe that both theology and biology declare that we are created either male or female, and the quickest way to tell is to look between our legs. God creates us as such, and if I’m confused about that, the problem is not with God or biology.
I have been brain-washed to care for the spiritual, emotional, mental and physical health of everyone within my reach, and even those outside of it. If they are harming themselves or others, that care and love of Jesus compels me to speak up, reach out, and even rebuke or correct, if that’s what they need to get healthy, and to walk in His light. I pray they will do the same for me.
I have been brain-washed to accept the Word of God as exactly that: His. He doesn’t change it because I don’t like it. He changes me. I refuse to participate in what God rejects, and I refuse to bless what He condemns. That’s how real love works.
I have been brain-washed to love Jesus more than myself, more than my family, more than my country or my party or my sports team. He has given me plenty of love to go around, but love for Jesus comes first, because it is the source from which all the other loves comes.
I have been brain-washed to understand that being right or woke or correct or tolerant in the eyes of the unwashed does nobody any favors. They equate disagreement with hate. They confuse discerning Truth with passing eternal judgment. They are wrong. They haven’t been brain-washed. I hope I can help them see with other eyes what they’ve been missing.
I have been brain-washed to resist the temptation to hate those who disagree with me, or to dismiss them as inferior or inane because their worldview is different. Of course I believe my way is better, because it’s God’s way. But Jesus loves us both so much, that He died for each of us.
Including that atheist.
So yes, I have been brain-washed. Thank God!
Pastor Steve Kline
Pastor Steve Kline was installed as Senior Pastor at SHLC on May 25, 2014, after serving 12 years as Senior Pastor at Zion in Wayside, WI. He was ordained in 1992 and previously served congregations in Pulaski and Hales Corners.