A term of endearment

By Anonymous

We were first called “brainwashed” during our initial meetings with the liaison from the rural college where we were being screened for positions we had applied for. Her opening question was straight to the point.

“Why do you want to work in this country?”

She knew about the salaries and comforts of the West, and to her, those things looked a whole lot more promising than working in this remote area. Our answer pointed to Jesus, and to this she was more than surprised. She asked further questions about our faith and what it meant to be a Christian, but not long into the discussion she felt compelled to interrupt.

“You are so brainwashed!” she blurted out. It was hard for her to comprehend that anyone would really believe in what we were sharing.

Over the past three years we have come to understand “brainwashed” in a whole new way. Being called “brainwashed” on a routine basis has made us smile at the irony. From an American point of view, it is our hosts who are brainwashed by the doctrines of communism. But at this college, we were the ones who bore that label because we have based our lives on a relationship with a “mythological person” (Jesus) and a “mythological book” (the Bible). But over time, as our colleagues and students have watched us and questioned us, our brainwashed ways have had an impact on them.

Initially, “You are so brainwashed!” was our liaison’s way of saying that her worldview had no room for our beliefs—and therefore they had no validity. In her communistic worldview everyone looks out for themselves; in contrast, the Christian view is one of loving your neighbor as yourself. To think that we were created for a purpose other than self—and it all centers around Jesus—was too far out there. Nevertheless, her curiosity had been roused.

Eventually, “You are so brainwashed!” came to mean that she was on overload. Something inside our dear friend was intrigued by our relationship with Jesus, the Bible and the power to live it. But as we answered her questions, she would reach a saturation point. Then we would hear the beloved statement: “You are so brainwashed!” She needed time to process what she had just received. It was a cry from someone who was coming into the presence of the Truth and feeling a bit uncomfortable and challenged. That can be a very good place to be!

Finally, “You are so brainwashed!” changed from being a negative statement to having an almost positive tone. Our dear friend would seek us for advice and counsel about some crisis surrounding her life and relationships. She would ask, “How would you respond to this situation in your brainwashed way?” or “What does your ‘Brainwashed Book’ say about this?”

After discussing how Scripture spoke to a particular situation, we would encourage her to apply it. To our amazement we would hear back in a few weeks: “It worked!” Such experiences opened the way for further exploration about what our “Brainwashed Book” proclaimed.

Though we have temporarily returned to the United States, we continue to hear from our friend. She still uses the word “brainwashed,” but it has become a term of endearment—not just about our friendship but also in regard to her new life in Jesus! In our conversations, “brainwashed” has changed from implications of ridicule into a proclamation of respect; from implying ignorance to growing in understanding; from being enslaved in lies to being set free in the Truth!

We recently sent her photos of our family, and this was her response:

“What a lovely family you have! I believe that it is a result of brainwash. When you follow God, He show you a way to a happy life in a happy family.” She added: “I am still learning Bible, New Testament often. Every time I repeat it, I understand something new. I start to rethink my previous life.

“I am daily washing my brain.”

She apologized for not sharing the Word more accurately when using English but with her own unique words she proclaims God’s Good News with incredible excitement and clarity—a cause to celebrate! Our special friend has embraced a journey to become a living testimony and proclamation of Romans 12:2:

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (emphasis added).

We thank God for washing our brains—and hearts, spirit and soul.

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