Dear mums & dads,Last night Frieda and I watched a TV program called “Q&A.” It’s a current affairs program that highlights community thinking on various issues with questions directed from the audience and via Twitter to a panel of people who represent various viewpoints on the topic to be discussed.
Last night’s theme was on issues of faith and religion and the panel included two evangelical Christians, a feminist agnostic, an Australia lady who had converted to Islam and a film producer. This program would be well worth viewing, and for true believers very encouraging as the Christian scholars on the panel gave excellent answers expressed in a very Christian manner. Here’s the link: http://www.abc.net.au/tv/qanda/txt/s3266962.htm.
One question posed to the panel related to the “brainwashing” of children’s minds by parents, churches, religious schools, Religious Instruction classes in public schools et al. Behind the question lay the assumption that faith and religion (e.g. ethical issues about rights and wrongs) has a very harmful effect upon a small child’s mind. In this view, we should not try to influence children into believing in and following a certain religious path. They should be given the freedom to choose for themselves whether they will believe in God or not etc.
I don’t think I need to state the obvious to you, e.g. one core belief behind this assumption is that a child’s mind and heart is like a clean copybook. David writing in Psalm 51:5 gives us the biblical teaching on this subject: “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.”
This morning as I was reflecting on the panel discussion last evening, I felt prompted to share a few thoughts on this topic with you, basing my reflections on a couple of Scriptures.
Let me first of all say something about the ugly word “brainwashing.” It brings memories to mind of the brainwashing tactics used by the Chinese Communist government towards Christian brothers and sisters. “Brainwashing” in their labour camps has the goal to “re-educate” Christians (and any others who are perceived to be a threat to their hold on power) so that they embrace Communist ideology.
When this word is bantered around in such debates as last night, “brainwashing” is directed especially towards believing parents and schools insinuating that they use religion to “control” or “program” the minds of their children, robbing them of their right to make a free choice concerning their religious beliefs and ethical practices.
This is all one huge lie! Let me share two Scriptures with you that show us the true effect upon our minds and hearts, whether young or older, when God’s truth enters our hearts.
Psalms 119:130 (NKJV)
130 The entrance of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.
Far from inflicting any lasting harm upon a child’s mind, by faithfully teaching a child the Word of God – whether in the home, church or school – we are shining God’s LIGHT into their hearts, and in turn throwing light on to the pathway ahead.
All children desperately need this LIGHT. Their minds are spiritually darkened by sin and ignorance of the truth. I know that sometimes your child may appear extremely angelic, especially when sound asleep at nightJ!! But do any of us really need convincing proof of the deeper spiritual reality that our children’s greatest need in their lives is to know Jesus, the Truth?
So if we fail to teach our children the Word that “enlightens” their minds and hearts, then we can be sure that there’s one waiting in the dark shadows to gain entrance into their minds and hearts. If we don’t sow the truth in their minds, he has many ways and means and also helpers to sow his wicked lies into their minds.
I’m sure you are well aware of the evil one’s tactics and strategies to use the ideas, values and various philosophies of life floating around in our communities, plus the latest or most popular spiritual and religious beliefs, to “brainwash” our children’s minds.
And there’s still plenty more that doesn’t it into the “religious” category but is definitely “spiritual” in nature. Possibly one of the most insidious influences impacting our children’s minds every day is what enters through the eye and ear gate as they watch TV – including the TV commercials! Isn’t advertising in reality a not so subtle form of “brainwashing” by some very powerful people in order to influence our desires and decision-making – and also the desires of our children?
As believing parents, it’s our responsibility under God to keep speaking the LIGHT of God’s truth into our children’s minds and hearts and in this way rescuing them from the trap of Satan’s lies at work through these and many other channels.
What then are we doing when we proactively plant the seeds of God’s truth in the minds of our children? It certainly isn’t about trying to enslave our children but rather to set them free. Listen again to what our Lord Jesus answer this question:
John 8:31-32 (NKJV)
31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.
32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
The simple fact is that God’s truth – when believed and obeyed – sets all of us truly free, including our beloved children – when they are still very young and when they get older!.
Let’s cast off any fear that we are “brainwashing” our children and causing them to be enslaved!
Apart from Jesus, there is no true freedom, only slavery. Let us unashamedly stand up for God’s Word and not listen to the mockers or the unbelieving Intelligentsia. Boldly sow the seeds of God’s truth in the minds of your children.
Mostly importantly, LIVE God’s truth before your children.
Dear brother/sister, think about these things, and may the Spirit of God give you daily wisdom, courage, joy and love in faithfully teaching and training your children in the path of life and freedom.
Graham & Frieda
21st October 2011