She was eventually captured and sent to prison for awhile because the jury could not accept the psychiatrist’s diagnosis of Stockholm Syndrome, a malady officially named after a bank robber kept hostages in a Stockholm bank vault for 131 hours. Like Patty Hearst, they emerged from the ordeal exhibiting sympathy for their captors. The mind does strange things when under stress.
Doctors say this happens when the abductors constantly tell the victim there is no hope, that no one knows where he is and no one will rescue him. They spin lies about their own “mistreatment,” while abusing the victim at the same time. They tell the victim he is going to die, not just once, but over and over. Then for some unaccountable reason they do something nice for that same victim. The victim grows not only to depend upon his captor, but to identify with him as well. That is Stockholm syndrome, and anyone who has struggled with sin should recognize the symptoms.
But I see a different law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity under the law of sin which is in my members, Romans 7:23.
In meekness correcting them that oppose themselves; if peradventure God may give them repentance unto the knowledge of the truth, and they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him unto his will, 2 Timothy 2:25-26.
Sin abducts a man and tells him lies like the one Satan told Eve—“God is just selfish, you won’t die--you’ll be just like him.” It tells him he’s stupid to listen to anyone else. It tells him that no one else cares, that no one can save him, and that he will die anyway, so why not die having fun? Satan, the father of all sin, tells the captive that he is the only one who really cares and the only one who can do anything for him. Satan is the one who started Stockholm syndrome, not that bank robber in Sweden.
We tell people over and over that sin is deceptive, that once you are in you may never get out. Sooner or later you reach a point where you won’t listen to anyone. …being darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their heart; who being past feeling gave themselves up to lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness, Ephesians 4:18-19.
What scares me is this doesn’t have to be heinous sin to work. People who spend their days gossiping will become impervious to any sermons on the subject. Satan has told them, “You’re only trying to help,” and they believe him. People who begin every sentence about a person with, “I’ll never forget when he did [this] to me,” will never heed the lesson about the unforgiving servant who was handed over to the torturers for his lack of mercy. “That’s different,” Satan tells them, and they believe that too. Any sin can deceive you. Any sin can take you captive, even the smallest.
What can we do? Never excuse sin in yourself. Look to Jehovah, the Psalmist says in 25:15, and he will pluck you out of the net—he’ll rescue you from those abductors. Exhort one another, the Hebrew writer says in 3:13, so that you won’t be so easily deceived. Prove the spirits, John tells us in 1 John 4:1, and look for the way of escape Paul adds in 1 Cor 10:13.
Don’t open the door when Satan knocks. Don’t let yourself be taken captive.
But I see a different law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity under the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me out of the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord...There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and of death. Romans 7:23-8:2