In technology, programming is a logical sequence of coded instructions or a series of operations, which may be used to control the functions of an electronic device. Children, too, can be predisposed to behave in a certain way through their environment, and by conscious or unconscious programming from caregivers. Conditioning may be systematic, subliminal, and negative, as in the case of trauma mind control or Satanic Ritual Abuse; or active and positive, as in the behavioral reinforcement of rewards for success in potty training.
The mind retains early habituation, and the heart acts on the emotional content of childhood imprinting. It is all saved inside the person, like a software program stored in the hard drive, until it is uninstalled. This programming may need to be recognized as such, acknowledged for what it is, and “deleted” from our minds before we can begin renewing our thinking.
Interestingly, in recent years the field of neuropsychiatry has done extensive research on the ability of the brain to continue forming new neural pathways throughout life, and even to “rewire” faulty information. Studies continue to affirm that throughout life the mind is capable of strengthening its functions and reorganizing its cognitive patterns. We never stop learning and changing.
It must be said that we all have thought disorders. We believe lies. We have inaccurate perceptions. At times we are unwise. We follow the “way that seems right to us, that leads to death” (Proverbs 14: 12). The mind is transformed in many ways: by studying the Bible, worshipping God, and reaching out to others in Jesus’ name. Our thinking is also re-formed when we become aware of our own negative programming and replace it with truth.
Sometimes in heart healing work we encounter people who are knowledgeable about the Bible and may even extensively quote it, yet who are helpless to apply its truths to their own lives. This can be puzzling unless we realize that all the “head knowledge” in the world is dead and useless until it is enlivened by the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 2: 14) and given power to change us. For many from dysfunctional families of origin, the ability to deeply assimilate God’s word is seriously hampered by false beliefs and misperceptions locked in the mind.
Mentally incorporating Biblical promises for our own lives is easier once we have confronted conditioned lies. For this to happen, the affected person must take apart his own particular ingrained untruths and analyze how they have influenced his past behaviors and continue to guide his relationships today. This is a process. First he becomes aware of the lies. Then the individual releases emotions tied up in them. Finally, the falsehoods can be renounced and replaced with God’s truth.
Before deep hurts are dealt with, the pain is permeated with thoughts and feelings we have hidden even from ourselves, so the walled-off “heart of stone” likely remains impervious to God’s word. Heart transformation from stone to flesh (Ezekiel 11: 19-20; 36: 25-27) is another way to describe heart healing or sanctification. Coming into the here and now from behind walls of false thinking makes us freer, more open, creative and flexible.
Here is an example of negative programming and its effects:
Niles grew up in a home where his dad insulted and beat him. He sometimes had no idea why he was being yelled at and whipped with a belt. His father seemed threatened by Niles’ curious, creative mind, so he made sure the boy knew better than to try and “show up his dad”. Niles made a vow never to be like his father, and never to reveal anything about himself to his dad.
As an adult Niles still feels he must work and sacrifice at his own expense in order to be accepted. He resents taking orders from superiors; at the same time he feels compelled to forfeit personal rights just to please them. His bosses often seem “stupid” to him, and he finds himself eaten up with inexpressible anger, so he has trouble sleeping and is often anxious and upset. When his hidden resentment is triggered, he can erupt into harsh ranting.
Niles has been programmed to feel he has to assume the victim role in order to be accepted. Relinquishing his own interests is the way he must behave. At the same time he still believes he can’t allow himself to achieve too much, otherwise he will be punished.
Niles is locked into a self-designed set of behaviors conditioned by his father’s abuse and denigration. He has a whole fortress of lies directing his actions, misbeliefs that must be systematically exposed, then replaced by relevant truths. Niles’ dysfunctional maladaptive pattern of choices is rooted in lies.
The Holy Spirit’s work is to guide us into all truth (John 16: 13) and reveal the hidden things of the heart. As we are willing to let God show us the untruths that have controlled our thoughts, He is faithful to reveal what we need to know about our beliefs and motives (Psalm 19; 14; Jeremiah 24: 7; Matthew 5: 8).