"An Inside Perspective"

March 2016

My Dear Family in Christ,

Ever precious greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

In this world, there is a condition that has been coined, “The Stockholm Syndrome”, also known as “trauma bonding”. It is described as an emotional attachment between a victim and their captor for survival's sake.

On an aside, let me explain how I know that the Lord wanted me to share this particular message this month. I had asked Carlos to get me the proper definition of this syndrome when he went to work today. He came back and said that the computer is old and does not have it. I had already written most of this message, and so I thought, “Well, maybe the Lord does not want this message?” Then sovereignly, at that moment, the mail came, and in it was a Calvary Chapel Magazine that precious Debbie sends to me at random. I picked it up without thinking and breezed through it, stopping at a picture that caught my eye. Beloved, in the first paragraph was the phrase, “Stockholm Syndrome”, with the definition following!! I almost fell off of my bunk as I quickly shared with Carlos what I had just read! Talk about confirmation from the Lord; it was so biblical that I wanted to take off my shoes! (But , I spared Carlos.)

I believe the syndrome stems from a group of people that were taken captive in Stockholm. When their deliverance finally came, the authorities interviewed the captives to study their mindset from all that they went through. The goal of the study was to learn the effects of long-term captivity on the psyche. What was discovered was astounding!

In almost all of the cases, it was determined that after long periods of captivity, incarceration as it were, the captives became progressively sympathetic to their captors! Astonishingly, despite being treated very harshly, the victims slowly became inclined toward the cause of their captors. Their allegiance went so far, that eventually they were against the very authorities that were seeking their freedom! The prisoners became submissive and servant-minded as time unwittingly warped their perspective of freedom. Even more incredible, was the fact that the captives’ emotions led them to not only fall in love with their jailers, but to also joyfully embrace the unjust cause and circumstances that fostered their very captivity!

So yesterday, I was gazing out of my window watching the assorted routines of the prison. I found myself daydreaming about some things; the first thought was about my spring planting. My next thought was about our wonderful Pastor Akins and the awesome ministry that we have here at Rahway.

I also mused about the many officers that have been so gracious to me all these many years, and in general, I reflected on just how very blessed I am. Love began to spring up in my heart as I continued to look out the window onto the grounds of my captivity; I even had a deep Godly love rise up in my heart. Then suddenly, I caught myself! I thought, wait a minute . . . I am in prison!

I concluded that, to some degree, I do love this place! Is that crazy?! Do I have the “Stockholm Syndrome?” Is this of the Lord, or am I so institutionalized that I really don't see things cleary anymore, albeit, I think I do? Are my thoughts correct in that all things are from the hand of the Lord, and thus, I am His servant here and now, for His cause? I thought, “Did not our Lord self-incarcerate in the flesh, that He might deliver us from sin? Did He really love being in the flesh? The Free became captive to set the captives free. Even Paul said, “I have become all things, to all men, that by all means, I might save (free) some.” (I Cor. 9:22) Am I wrong to love as I do? I think not. With all my heart, I do truly love the Lord , these men, this ministry, and all that concerns it. As such, it's Christ in me.

It is written, "Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, whosoever committeth sin is the slave of sin.” (John 8:34)

I like to study the machinations of sin so that I know my enemy. Sin has a mindset, and it can have long-term effects on the spiritually naive. Remarkably, I have observed that there is also a spiritual “Stockholm Syndrome”, if you will. I have noticed that, for survival’s sake, the flesh will allow you to be taken captive by your pet sin. You will make light of it while becoming progressively sympathetic toward your “captor”, even Satan. Time will unwittingly warp your perspective of sin as it insidiously burrows deeper and deeper into your walk, fostering thoughts of normalcy, all the while dishonoring God!

Shockingly, “Christian captives” (albeit itself an oxymoron), eventually fall in love with the very sin devouring their walk. Despite being treated so harshly by it, they will begin to embrace, and then, amazingly, defend the unholy cause that binds them. Eventually, they will even side against the Godly counsel of those who seek their much needed Blood-bought freedom!

Precious one, gaze out the window of your own walk. As you reflect on how blessed you area, ask yourself, “Is it I Lord?” Does a deep Godly love rise up in your heart when you look onto the grounds of you captivity, even, your pet sin? Beloved, “catch yourself”, saying . . .