I hope this post doesn’t sound angry or condemning, because that’s not my intention at all. Nor am I trying to victim blame anybody else for their struggles.
When in the course of human events, meaning social media conflicts, or even going the wrong way down a one way aisle in the grocery store, I sometimes bump into the accusation, “you’re a brainwashed, cultian, lemming.”
What can I say, I just have a lot of friends.
So if I had my druthers, we would come to the understanding that we are all brainwashed. It’s true, you are what you eat! The trick there is to pick your poison. Pay attention to what you are feeding yourself. It’s going to shape who you are, what you believe, and how you live.
I happen to love being washed by Jesus. Another name for that is, “the renewing of your mind.” It’s delightful, He’s really good, and I fully trust Him. He is the bread of life! He’s always full of surprises too, totally catches me off guard.
Something that I think is really buried, not well understood about authority, we are all responsible for sitting under the authority we choose to sit under. Nobody is perfect, life can throw you curve balls, and there are heaps of grace available to us when we slip down the embankment. Something can totally not be your “fault,” and yet still be your responsibility.
So, we are responsible for choosing to sit under whatever authority did us wrong and gave us grief. People can play all kinds of games, be highly manipulative, and very deceptive, and sometimes things in life are beyond our control. Just the same, we are still autonomous beings with freewill who make choices. Like the choice to repeatedly hand our own authority over to someone else who is incompetent and unworthy….
I’m a big fan of Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote, “nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.” We aren’t certain if that quote originated with her, but regardless it’s a good quote. I have definitely followed the wrong people in my life…..but not for very long. A lot of that has to do with walking with Jesus, He’s just good that way, He steers you in the right direction. Also, He teaches you a thing or two about your own power, your own worth, and your own accountability in any given situation.
I can’t even imagine trying to tell Him, it’s not my fault, because I just handed all my authority over to some teacher, politician, cultian, bad boyfriend, employer, pastor, whatever. He’d be like, so why did you do that?! You simply can’t blame the people you hand all your power over to for not being responsible with it. I mean, you weren’t, right? You totally gave it all away!
We have people walking around, some who are Christians, who honestly seem to believe that people can be easily deceived, brainwashed, lead astray, or seduced into some kind of false teaching, wrong thought, or bad relationship that just blows by on the wind. As if we are all just small children who can’t ever think for ourselves and must be kept safe and controlled?
We have quite a few politicians who think like that too, but I digress.
So, with all good and very gentle humor here, I am actually not a, “brainwashed, cultian, lemming,” or at least not any more than anyone else is. Perhaps I’m even a bit less of a cultian, given my history, experiences, and belief system.
I have never believed that the cure for what ails us is to rid ourselves of all bad authority, corrupt leadership, and all structures of authority we do not like. I have always believed that the cure for what ails us is that we learn to embrace our own power, embrace our own authority, our own responsibility, and stop pretending to be victims.
That is how you rid yourself of the threat of any over reaching sources of abusive authority. CS Lewis once said something kind of interesting, he said he believed some men were worthy of being slaves, but he didn’t believe anyone was worthy of being their master.
I love that. Stop looking for a worthy master. There’s only One.
This can be surprisingly hard work so my heart goes out to anyone fighting the battle, but I’m telling you, that’s what Jesus taught us! Luke 10:19 says , “Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.” And John 14:12, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.”
I have no problem with authority at all. I have trouble with those who have unresolved issues around authority, and fear it so, so much, they think I probably shouldn’t have any of my own.