Stockholm Syndrome is a psychological shift that occurs in captives when the face a grave threat, but shown acts of kindness by their captors. The captives tend to sympathize with their captors. The captors are essentially self-serving. When subjected to prolonged captivity, captives can develop a strong bond with their captors.
Pondering: Stockholm Syndrome named after a 1972 bank robbery that took place in Stockholm, Sweden when robbers held bank employees hostage for six days. The victims developed an emotional attachment to their captors. They even defended their captors after their ordeal. The term "Stockholm Syndrome" was coined by criminologist and psychiatrist Nils Bejerot , who assisted the police during the incident and referred to the syndrome in a news broadcast (Wikipedia).
Remember Patty Hearst, the millionaire and newspaper heir kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army and held hostage for two months. She actively took part in a bank robbery with the SLA and went to prison for her participation. It was later believed she was a victim of Stockholm Syndrome.
Coaching: Christian women can suffer a type of Stockholm Syndrome when sin takes us captive. As we face desperation and misery, we cry out to God for deliverance; if God does not immediately help, some decide He is not listening and hopelessness sets in.
"Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us even when we were dead in our transgressions made us alive together, by grace you have been saved" (Ephesians 2:3-5 NASB).
A psychological shift in our thoughts can enslave us in the same self-serving force causing the pain in the first place. Perhaps we should call this enslavement Spiritual Stockholm Syndrome. Our problems can trap us in an attention getting scenario; instead of humbling ourselves before the Lord and celebrating true thankfulness for His help. When we allow a prolonged exposure to sin we expose our thought processes to a dangerous mental shift in thinking.
Blaming God because He did not come to our rescue when or how we thought He should causes our faith to suffer. We talk ourselves into doubt, and misplaced trust because we are captured by sin. It is not God's intention to give us all the answers here on earth. However, He will not give us more then we can handle no matter what has shackled us. He will be our strength all the way through if we hold on to our faith.
During Israel's captivity in Egypt under the Pharaoh, the Hebrews suspicious and broken condition destroyed their ability to listen, believe, or hear God's voice through Moses. They were addicted to the Egyptian way of life. Like the Hebrews, it is possible to sympathize with our captors.
When I was a naive you girl, I dated a very handsome man. I began thinking I might be in love, until he became overly possessive. After a while, his controlling nature took on a shocking change; far from home, he held me captive. He threatened and frightened me for several months. I turned away from God thinking He had abandoned me. It felt like God did not care about my hurt and fear... a shift in my thinking led to hopelessness. I allowed a Spiritual Stockholm Syndrome to set in. God was there the entire time. He was in control; it was my refusal to listen and hear God's plan until a healing spiritual shift in my thinking reignited my faith and strength in Him. God saved me.
"If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain. If I can ease one life the aching, or cool one pain, or help one fainting robin unto his nest again, I shall not live in vain" (Poems of Emily Dickinson).
God knows each individual circumstance rather it is doubt, fear, lack of faith, finances, infidelity, or emotional problems. Help is already on the way. God has already begun bringing the remedy to us. The process of saving the people of Israel had begun, yet they chose to be broken and did not listen (Exodus 6). They created their own captivity in the desert.
God eternal purpose:
The Lord creates a life plan for each of us.
It is our job to walk the path He creates for us.
We search and find our purposeful destiny.
He guides us through His Spirit.
God's divine plan for the Hebrew nation would give birth to a Messiah who would bring salvation to the world. God was in the process of blessing Israel, but they still could not see or hear. The ancient Hebrew's witnessed wondrous miracles in the desert, yet they continually turned against God. As a result, the adults that left Egypt did not enter the promise land. What a terrible consequence of sin. There are great lessons in the Exodus. God gives us the opportunity to draw close to Him in the middle of trouble. Drawing close to Him in unbearable circumstances leads to spiritual awakening. Knowing God in an intimately close relationship strengthens us in trials. He will see us through the valley of despair and carry us up the mountain of purpose.
Challenge: I challenge you to stop being the victim of Spiritual Stockholm Syndrome; a dangerous shift in your thinking. Shift back toward God and ask yourself what areas of life you rationalize and sell out to the devil. Make a list of your compromises and work on one at a time. Only you can decide to stop being a victim and become the victor, through the Holy Spirit.