I have just returned from Awakening Europe Stockholm where I preached elements of this message which had been growing in my heart since I knew that Awakening Europe would be held there.
Stockholm syndrome was first recorded under this name in 1973. It was the result of a hostage incident in a bank in Stockholm which resulted in the victims developing what is known as captor bonding.
In the incident in Stockholm the ransom was actually delivered to the bank, but the perpetrator was not released as the victims demanded that they went with him in order to ensure his safety. The details are extraordinary. They even went on to visit the perpetrator after he had been sentenced and imprisoned. Yes, even after they were free they kept revisiting their enemy under the false belief that he had saved their lives rather than the law enforcement officials.
Is it possible that we may have embraced the enemy even though we have been set free because the ransom has been paid. And that we may keep revisiting in the false belief that there is comfort and protection available.
The victims developed captor bonding for a variety of reasons. Firstly that when they experienced acts of kindness they begin to believe that the perpetrator was responsible for keeping them safe or even savings their lives. It is also understood that the victims will lower their values to those of the perpetrator because it makes them feel safer and the perpetrator less of a threat.
We as Christians are free men and women, the ransom has been paid. Matthew 20:28. However do we live fully free. Do we at times reduce our values to those of the enemy and reduce his threat to us. Does the price of standing up cause us to create false theology to justify our reduced values. Have we over time reduced moral standards because of the threat or fear of political correctness. Or have we at times allowed ourselves the false comfort of removing ourselves from brothers and sisters who have a different expression of our faith. Or have we at times have stepped away from boldly demonstrating our faith to do the impossible to protect ourselves from disappointment.
With all of these examples we can end up looking like the enemy, powerless, divided and immoral.
The ransom has been paid, let us live in that knowledge and avoid reducing our standards and values to those of the kingdom of darkness and ultimately not looking any different from that kingdom.