Barriers And Boundaries
“In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (2nd Corinthians 4:4)
Barriers can be produced in an individual’s mind through repetition and reinforcement. Unlike ordinary barriers you can see daily, like fences and walls, mental barriers are not visible nor are they physical. However, evidence of their existence observed when barriers are not broken and boundaries are not crossed. Mental barriers are entrenched in the minds of those who receive instructions to where boundaries should be set.
For the Christian, boundaries are created through the Scriptures. New Christians are given godly instructions from their parents, spiritual parents or from the reading of the Bible themselves. Fellow Christians, Bible Studies and other spiritual-growth experiences, usually reinforces these barriers. Because of these barriers being invisible in nature and under the Christian’s will, these barriers are quite vulnerable to mind manipulation. It is up to the Christian to surround himself with other Believers and study the Bible on a regular basis to prevent the weakening of instilled barriers (Philip, 015, pp. 4-5).
The Bible declares in Proverbs 22:6, that if parents (and others) “Train up a child in the way he should go: when he is old, he will not depart from it.” But without reinforcement, that training will surely depart from him, especially when exposed to manipulating forces that desire to gain control over the Christian’s thoughts, ergo his mind. The Apostle Paul writes, “This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God…” (Ephesians 4:17-18, NKJV).
Adhering to these barriers are the will of the Christian’s mind. Others may dictate the boundaries, but it is up to the individual to stay within them. For example, as children, we must have heard the words “no” a million times; “don’t touch!” a half-million times and “be careful!” a quarter-of-million times. Although we could not see, the actual consequences unless we were or someone we knew were disobedient; for the most
part, we obeyed those invisible barriers. On the other hand, for those daredevils who crossed the invisible barriers they received severe burns from the stove, permanent scaring from mishandling scissors and a list of broken bones, stitches and “I’m sorry (ies)” that will last a life time. God is powerful enough to force us to stay within our boundaries, but He has given us intellect, emotions and a freewill. In other words, His permissive will says that we can do whatever we choose to do. Nevertheless, there will always be negative consequences when we cross boundaries. We make the decision to do good or follow evil. Reinforced positive barriers keep the Christian protected from external forces with manipulation on their minds (Philip, 015, p. 4).
The Bible instructs Believers to guard their hearts with all diligence, meaning to protect their thoughts by feeding it godly information and by the avoidance of dwelling on sinful things (Proverbs 4:23). Remember, “as a man thinketh, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). A person will become what he thinks about all day long. Philippians 4:4 explains that if Believers communicate with God through prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will [also] guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
The reason why your thoughts must be guarded is that this is the ultimate place where the boundaries are observed. Even though human thoughts are invisible and are not physical, thoughts (the mind) can still be manipulated through human senses. Since the world has chimed into this knowledge, it has become very crafty in gaining mind control. Satan uses many vessels to saturate the minds of Christians with deviant philosophies that seem helpful even though they know that they are not true. This subtle attack has been used thousands of years and still going strong through rationalist, atheists, theological radicals and others (Philip, 015, pp. 1-2, 6).
Lets examine six (6) basic principles used which mental barriers can be manipulated, given by Johnson C. Philips (015) in another book entitled Analysis of Mind Manipulation. Results of mind control are revealed differently in people. Some are affected gradually and others are affected immediately. By learning the six mental barriers and by being exposed to some of these techniques can prepare a Believer or even alert them to the use of mind control. Manipulation can be done by “Blinding.” We understand that mental barriers assist in keeping people from crossing boundaries.
Continuous directives and instructions remind Christians to stay on the correct side of the barriers. However, the enemy can creep into a Believer’s thoughts with lies, biases and one-sided reports to dim his perception so that s/he may become blinded to the truth. Also overpowering false statements such as “an embryo is not a living person…the surgical process is like that unto the removal of tonsils” is stated when trying to gain support of abortion (p. 8). Then there is Emotion-induced blindness where Christians become so caught up in their emotions (bitterness, anger, malice, hatred and a gamut of many more) that they are blinded by the power of that particular emotion(s). Once a person is blinded, s/he very quickly forgets the boundaries and crosses over into error (Philip, 015, pp. 7-8). “Imprinting” is another principle that is used to manipulate. If an idea is imprinted in the
mind as desirable or as proper, then the mental boundaries automatically accept this to be right. In counseling a young woman in college, she knew that smoking crack was wrong and that it was a powerful drug that destroys, but she chose to smoke it anyway: why? Because at her home everyone smoked crack, including her parents. The facts were that she knew engaging in smoking an illegal substance was against the law. However, at home, this was a pleasurable family activity, within their boundaries. This situation permeated repetitious imprinting. Legally, physically and mentally, this young woman knew the boundaries but crossed them because of manipulative imprinting. Every time
she went home, no matter how much she dreaded it, she would indulge.
A Christian teen shared in a counseling session that she had sexual relations with other girls, because of the imprinting that was produced through shock. Shock is another way of imprinting an idea in the minds of humans. The teen knew that this was inappropriate behavior, but her continuous participation made it bearable and then eventually enjoyable. This teenage girl had not only been exposed to sexual immorality, but to drugs and other rebellious things.
Fantasy-creation is another way of imprinting that affects many Christians. People in general, fantasize about sex, money, fame and power everyday. The more they dwell on these things, the more likely their thoughts will push godliness out (this weakens the boundaries) and allow sinful desires to come in. Remember when Jesus said in Matthew 5:28 that if you lust after anyone, that you have already committed adultery with them in your heart (mind)? Pornography, crude conversations and dirty jokes, all leave imprints of fantasy-creation on Believers’ minds through their eye, ear and mouth-gates.
The final imprinting is emotional manipulation by bypassing reason. Ordinarily the human mind analyzes information received and by using reason then will it take action. Consequently, emotions push out reasoning, when emotions should play a small part in the process (Ph
ilip, 015, pp. 8-10). “Desensitization” is used to manipulate many minds in small doses. This principle used to manipulate is so undetectable, so commonly used that I devoted an entire chapter to it.
Christians tremble at the thought of participating in any scandalous activities, because they were trained to avoid or remove themselves from such situations. However, after the initial shock and the repetition of such exposures the shock gradually is removed, then they become desensitized to the evil to the point of overlooking it, then tolerating it, then condoning it, liking it, desiring it, justifying it until they begin to indulge in it. This method is also called “Mike’s Law.” According to “Mike’s Law” the more the individual indulges in forbidden activities, the more s/he will desire increased doses of the activities (pp. 10-11).
Left up to human desires there would be no boundaries, this is where the manipulation through “Expansion” come into play. If a Christian is able to control his desires, then it is least likely for him to be tempted to break his mental barriers. Nevertheless, the three-fold enemy (the world, the flesh and the devil) of every Christian is very much eager to attack the Believer through the expanding of the needs, desires and expectations of the Christian, by mentally motivating him to desire forbidden things.
Fantasies know no boundaries. Craving pleasurable and luxurious things lead to sinful behavior. Where as desiring the essentials keeps a Christian in balance. Not to say that Christians should not have expensive things, but balance holds an individual within the confines of his boundaries. On the other hand, contrived desire-creation and lust-creation methods can destroy balance by creating desire and lust for luxury and pleasure in a Christian’s heart (pp.11-12).
“Fear-Creation” is a paralyzing manipulation that affects mental alertness, attitudes of combat and self-defense against evil. Once there is fear in the heart an individual fails to take immediate action. Eventually, the fearful person will either flee or compromise (p.12). Years ago my husband who passed away in 1998, shared a story of traveling on the subway in New York City as a teen. While he was heading home one day, a young man pulled out a gun and threaten to shoot him if he did not hand over his money. My husband spoke of being paralyzed with fear; he could do nothing but comply.
He felt helpless. Although he knew he was bigger and stronger than the robber was, my husband still surrendered his wallet without a fight. In fact, I am certain my husband did not think about fighting him, but rather to flee from that situation as quickly as possible even if it meant giving up his wallet. Intimidation stemmed also from fear-creation, from family, friends, coworkers and/or society can feel almost as paralyzing as being held up at gunpoint. Intimidation of this type is explained as either Peer or Social Pressures. Perhaps these types of pressures are the worst of fear-creation because they do not so easily go away (pp. 12-13). They are difficult to flee from because they are everywhere you go.
There are the pressures of your parents wanting you to be a doctor or a lawyer, when you are satisfied with expressing yourself through painting. Then at school there are the peer pressures of listening to the right music, hanging with the right crowd and wearing the right clothing. Societal pressures dictate when we should get married, how many children we should have and who should get divorced.
The final method of manipulation is through “Value Shifting.” Shifting in the mental and moral barriers changes the values, and the shifting in the values changes the barriers. That means, whatever you have deemed to be important or right, if there is a shifting of the mental and moral barriers there will also be a change in your values, so what use to be important and right are no longer acceptable (pp.13-14). The present opposition of homosexuality is a perfect example.
The Bible clearly speaks against such a lifestyle; in fact, it is abominable. However, to speak openly against such immoral behavior can land you in jail in some countries, including the United States. In an article entitled Pastor In Prison, cited from the Pastor Rod Parsley, Center for Moral Clarity Website, Ake Green, pastor of a Pentecostal church in Kalmar, Sweden was sentenced to one month in prison for preaching against sexual immorality according to Romans 1:24-27.
Prosecutors claim that Pastor Green’s sermon was a “hate speech against homosexuals” (Parsley, 2004). Clearly any hateful behavior towards anyone is wrong, for the Bible tells use to love even our enemies. But the Bible also instructs us to preach and teach the truth, with warnings of such value shifting found in Romans 1:25 “who changed the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator…” A similar law has been passed through the state assembly in California. Doubt Creation is a tool that assists in shifting moral and mental barriers. Once a doubt is released into the minds of those who esteemed something greatly, it is planted in their hearts and the respect disappears. “Subversion” is also used as a tool of shifting values. Subversion is the removal of a key component in a value that has been instilled in a Christian by his parents and/or the Bible over years. Once a part is taken away, the entire process can unravel (Philip, 015, pp.13-14).
Lesson 1-4 Questions:
1. Describe the Human Mind.
2. What is Mind Manipulation?
3. What is Propaganda?
4. Why should Believers guard their hearts [thoughts] with all diligence?
5. The lesson describes the final method of manipulation as being “Value Shifting,” What
does Value Shifting do and what tools are used to assist it?