I have heard of hostages and prisoners who after months or years of being held in captivity becoming infatuated with their captors and even choosing to return to them. Nils Bejerot, coined the term Stockholm syndrome from an odd occurrence where during a six day bank robbery the four hostages would not testify against their captor during the trail. Although only named in the 1970’s this has been around since the beginning. Take a look at Lot’s wife, they were freed from a city where the most heinous things were happening, yet during their road to freedom Lot’s wife had to look back to see what she was missing. It cost her life.
“If only the LORD had killed us back in Egypt,” they moaned. “There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death.” Exodus 16:3
Moses followed what God had called him to do and with amazing signs and wonders from God, Pharaoh finally let the people go free. The Israelites were the very definition of slaves. They did all the dirty work for the Egyptians, they were possessions, not people to be used as needed. Yet here on their road to freedom they started reminiscing about how good it was back in Egypt. They had accepted the lifestyle they were living in as just the way it is. The hope for more was lost and they almost feared freedom as it was unknown.
Our love for the bondage of sin could be considered Stockholm syndrome, we have fallen for a life that is not good for us. And to make it worse we will defend it to the point of rejecting truth. We see believers, some we may caller pillars of the faith, throw it all away to return to the bondage of sin. The allure of a life of no regrets and no accountability is strong for some. They have created an image in their head that to follow Christ is the bondage and that to shake off the chains of ‘religion’ will give them the happiness they desire. The enemy is shrewd in his schemes and has manipulated mankind in this regard. But we need to make people aware of this. Religion isn’t what freedom is about, it is about a relationship, freedom is in the relationship between God and the individual.
How do we then free ourselves from the notion that our life before Christ is more exciting and has more to offer? When the Israelites considered going back, God provided a way forward, feeding them. Life in Christ is one we need to experience first hand. To be a believer alone is hard and not what God intended. The family of believers found in churches are there to encourage, support an disciple. It is in that environment where we become who we were meant to be. Getting involved in the mission of reaching the lost will re-centre your desires and what gives you joy. When you receive joy, which we should be seeking over happiness which is fleeting.
Are you stuck in captivity and need freedom from sin? Jesus is waiting to free you, all you need to do is ask him for free you. Maybe you have accepted Christ but the world is calling you back into sin, pray, read the word and connect with other believers, they are going through the same struggle. But as a family, you can overcome these struggles. Don’t fall for the lie that the sin has more to offer.
Father, I pray that those who have left you for the world of sin would realize their misstep and return to you. Watch over them and bring them back to the family. Those who may be reading this and haven’t yet accepted you, I pray that even as they read this, make a choice to ask Jesus into their lives and break free from the bondage of sin. Work in the hearts of every man to see the truth that sin abounds, and the only answer is Jesus. Work in your followers to share the love with those around them, let your love overflow their lives. Amen