Brain Damaged Minds February 22, 2016
How would you like to get outfitted for a 10-day hike through Yellowstone National Park, have all your maps and routes and campsites lined up, get dropped off at your trailhead, pull out your compass, and suddenly realize that this vital piece of wilderness equipment is broken. (Don’t tell me you always bring a backup. I’m the one writing this story, not you!) In that situation, nobody would say, “Oh, wow, our compass doesn’t work. It’s a worthless piece of junk. Oh well, I guess we’ll use it anyway. No idea which way is north, but it’s time to get going…”
Nobody would trust a damaged compass to guide them through a wilderness journey. But why don’t we feel the same way about our journey through life? Why are we willing to trust a damaged guidance system when we make decisions about our entertainment, our finances, our plans for retirement, our friendships, our personal priorities, and stuff like that? If we wouldn’t trust a damaged compass for guidance through the woods, why do we trust damaged equipment for guidance through life? But I’m afraid I’ve gotten ahead of myself. I need to explain what I mean when I say we have “damaged equipment.”
All of us suffer from the brain damage of sin. The Bible contains dozens of references about the detrimental effects sin has on our ability to use our minds. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jer 17:9) “You must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart” (Eph 4:17-18). Scripture repeatedly reminds us of the deceitfulness, blindness, and hardness of our heart (also called the “mind,” “soul,” “thoughts,” etc.). Every one of us naturally rebels against God and His Word.
According to God’s word, our fallen minds are no longer neutral reasoning machines, capable of carefully weighing the evidence and rendering a sound, unbiased decision. Rather, our mind is now the unknowing stoolie of our sinful hearts, putting its intellectual powers to work to figure our plausible explanations and rationalizations for our (often sinful) desires.
Next week: how our brain damaged minds function.