In his novel The Man Who Laughs, Victor Hugo coined the word *comprachicos* meaning "child-buyers." It referred to various groups in folklore who were said to physically manipulate growing children by putting them into pots to change their physical appearance. This resulted in dwarfed and deformed adults who made their living as court jesters or circus clowns earning money for their owners.
This is an evil practice, but far more evil is the manipulation of the mind. The world does this to us, brainwashing us from the moment we are born. This has resulted in thinking that is very warped. Since our behavior is determined by how we think, Paul advises us "not to conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2).
How do we renew our minds? By reprogramming them, not with the philosophy of soaps like Modern Family (which serves as a perfect example of how powerfully modern media can influence our thinking), but with the teachings of God. These are found in Scripture, which means we need to read it.
Some of us think Scripture is difficult to understand. This is the first mindset we need to break. God's word is so simple even a child can understand it, which is perhaps why Jesus said, "unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3). Children are curious little people, filled with wonder and open to learning. The older we get, the more unteachable we become because we think we know everything. Pride prevents us from admitting we might be wrong about what we believe in and hold to be true, so we close ourselves from learning.
When we start reading Scripture, we will discover how faulty our thinking is because everything in the Bible contradicts what the world teaches. You only have to read the Beatitudes to realize this. This can frighten us, so we run away from it, consoling ourselves that if we go to church once a week, we have punched our ticket into heaven. But faith is more than attending Sunday services. It is knowing God and understanding what he says and expects of us.
The easiest thing to do is to wipe the slate clean — tell ourselves we don't know anything — and start from scratch. We will be blessed for it. I present a lot of Scripture in my weekly sessions. You will discover how easy the word of God is to understand and how exciting it is, so why don't you tune in. Bring your kids too and see how they take to it like a fish to water.
May the Spirit be with you.