The news of three young girls who lost 10 years of their lives after they were kidnapped and held hostage for 10 years in Cleveland, Ohio, was almost unbelievable. How is it possible to remain a captive in a house, so near to so many others living normal lives, for so long? Their capture and imprisonment was within a few feet of others who enjoyed normal lives and were completely unaware as to the desperation-taking place right next door. Why could they not escape? How could so many be so close to them and yet unable to help? How could their captor have such power to control every second of their lives for 10 long years?
We should never assume to understand what these precious children endured, but I must say that rarely did I hear a single detail about this incident that did not remind me of others whom I have known that have, or continue to, live in captivity as well – spiritual captivity. For some, jealously, resentment, anger, lust, hate, and hurt have restricted their freedom for decades. The inability to forgive, assumptions of prejudice, and even the fear of wholeness, has victimized and imprisoned many who live around others who enjoy the freedom and wholeness that they can barely imagine having.
The servility and invasive reach of unresolved issues can be incredible. Divorce, lost jobs, sabotaged relationships, and the daily suffocation of a life doomed to meeting the every whim of these irons, though often embarrassing, seem inescapable. Blaming others and excuses make convenient fig leaves, but the concealment they provide is short lived and demands a constant replenishment of fault finding and the fresh discovery of the failures of others. Soon, you will need new neighbors, a different school, another marriage, or to change churches… again.
Mark 5 tells us about just such a man. His issues had already separated him from his family, his clothes, and his dignity. His latest home was a tomb— a place for those with no life. Restraint and distance (vs.2-4) seemed to be the only solutions available to those around him – until he saw Jesus, ran, fell at His feet, and worshiped Him (v.6). Jesus set him free, and returned him to his family, friends, and most of all his freedom. There were no more bizarre spectacles, unexpected tirades, and no more embarrassing displays of irrational behavior.
Imagine life, (yes life) without the constant need to blame others because now you have accepted the truth and the truth has set you free (John 8:32). No more score keeping, fault finding, excusing making, hiding, avoiding, chronic disappointment, lying to yourself, or blaming your circumstances because in Christ you have discovered the peace that only He can give (John 14:27).
Remember, Amanda Berry and her pleas to the 911 operator. Remember how she said, “hey I am the one, the one who was in the news, the one who was kidnapped”. Do you ever dream of crying out to your family, friends, broken relationships, and others you have hurt or from whom your captors separated you and declaring to them, “hey, its me… remember, the one who was ripped from your life, the one who has been missing for so long. I was lost but now I am found. I blamed you because I was blind, but now I see.” This kind of deliverance can be had for believers only when we discover who we are in Christ. It can be had for the lost only when they discover Christ’s powerful love and forgiveness.
So, here is the phone. Tell Him who you are and where you have been. Tell Him that you need Him to come to you because you cannot come to Him. Ask Him to save you. Ask Him to deliver you from the bondage you have known for so long.
9:00AM Discipleship10:30AM Worship Service