The chains will bleed when you cut them. And you may cry for them, because you know them. Still… they must go.
I’ve always been fascinated by the Stockholm Syndrome – the behavior where kidnap victims become sympathetic to their captors. Some resist rescue, refuse to testify against their assailants, or in rare cases like Patty Hearst, become an accomplice to their captors’ crimes.
Standing on the outside looking in, most of us couldn’t fathom being sympathetic to those who imprison us, mistreat us, abuse us, or threaten our very life. Just the thought of being captured or imprisoned arouses feelings of revolt, fighting back, or strategizing what we would do to regain our freedom.
“If someone grabbed me, I’d use my XYZ self-defense tactic!”
“If I were ever imprisoned, I’d use a ___ and chisel my way to freedom BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY!”
It’s interesting how we have a plan for and reject the captors we CAN see. But what about those hidden captors we CAN’T physically see, but know oh so well?
Many of us wake up in prison everyday. We are captors of fear, failure, low self-esteem, doubt, and many other “wardens”. Why don’t we have the same intense resistance against, say, blame captors, as we would physical captors? Could it be we’re suffering from an internal Stockholm Syndrome?
Here are some reasons why we’re so accepting of our internal prisons:
1. Length of time served – it’s what we know, and how we’ve lived for so long.
The familiar takes zero effort, and many of us are allergic to work. We’ve been there, know that, lived that – why change? “My mama was this, my daddy was this, his daddy…it’s who we are!” False! No matter how long you’ve been the way you are today, Freedom through Love is a better way. Afraid you’ll never “get it”? Just like you learned and adapted to being hateful, malicious, a control freak, or whoever your current warden is, God’s love-plan for you includes healing and washing away the stench of your prison, and teaching you to walk, with Love, into your freedom.
2. Prison benefits – The Attention, Pity, and Blame (AP&B) Card
“So, you’re telling me, if I walk in freedom, I’ll no longer receive all of this attention and pity, and I can’t blame others for my horrible misfortunes?” That’s right. Now, how many of you reading this would slam the door shut, and rush back into your cell? How many of you value your AP&B card over a get-out-of-jail-free card? Quitters, Love will never leave you worse off for choosing to be free. What you thought you would lose is the greatest gain of all.
3. Rikers vs. the County Jail- the more hardcore the prison, the more justified to stay.
I agree. There are levels of suffering, misfortune, and hardships that warrant greater rescue tactics, greater healing, or more time to realize freedom than others. You may think fear is worse than unforgiveness, or pride is worse than lying. But it serves us more to focus our energies on the miraculous power of Love, than to compare and magnify all of our logical reasons why we can’t be free. Is there anything too hard for the Creator of the Universe? No, there isn’t. Just ask Elie Wiesel, Chong Kim, or your family member or friend who’s beat unthinkable odds. You can be free.
3.5. I like prison
Perhaps your stance is: “F (bomb) the world and everybody in it. I like me this way, period!” To you, beloved, I offer – there is no way you like your prison more than God LOVES you! It is for you I pray for the purposed event or person that will shine the light of Freedom, and you’ll be feeble in your attempts to deny Love. May Love be irresistible to you!
Quitters, don’t cry for your chains. I know you know them, you may have grown fond of them, perhaps you’ve even dressed them up in jewels and pretty colors – but there is no such thing as a beautiful prison. Un-leash your healing and the best life you’ve never known. Love is Freedom.