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Summary: The ’rats’ that eat us up

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Here is a brief news item I ran across this week on the internet:

“In July, the town council in Peru, Vt., ordered Roland Williams out of his house for a month while authorities cleaned the place up. Williams had been purchasing large quantities of dog food and cola every day to feed the hundreds of rats that had been gathering on his property. And in New York City, officials reported in May that a woman feeding cereal to rats in her apartment and singing to them had also relinquished her bed to them while she slept in a chair.”

Does anyone here know what ‘higida’ means?

That comes from the cartoons you watched as a kid, where the cartoon character saw something he just couldn’t fathom, and he’d shake his head to clear it, and as he did, you’d hear the sound, ‘higida, higida, higida..’. Recognize it now?

Stories like the one I just read make us go ‘higida, higida’, don’t they?

What could have brought these people to a place where they would not only feed the vermin infesting their homes, but sing to them...? Give the bed to them...?

The stories strike us as humorous for their absurdity, and disgusting when we picture what is actually going on. But they should also sadden us, when we think about what must have happened to these people; to their self-esteem; to their willingness even to survive.

They have given up, and given over. They have given up the struggle, apparently seeing it as useless, and they have given over all that they hold dear, to become willing prisoners to that which would destroy them.

As I read these accounts, I recognized what is referred to as the “Stockholm syndrome”. Probably most of us have at least heard the term, but as time goes by we tend to forget where these terms originate.

In 1973, four hostages were taken in a botched bank robbery in Stockholm, Sweden. At the end of their captivity, six days later, they actively resisted rescue. They refused to testify against their captors, raised money for their legal defense, and one of the female hostages later became engaged to one of her now jailed captors.

The Stockholm syndrome comes into play when a captive cannot escape, is isolated and threatened with death, but is shown token acts of kindness by the captor.

Obviously, this twisted state of the psyche got its name from later studies of these events that transpired in Stockholm. But the same syndrome has since been seen in other situations in life. It is seen in battered wives, survivors of the Holocaust (not many of them left), and like situations.

It basically boils down to this. The victim feels helpless and has lost hope for relief from a situation; gropes for and clings tenaciously to any little perceived goodness or benefit coming even from the person or situation causing the problem, and eventually begins to sense a false love and dedication to the very person or circumstance they’ve been imprisoned to.

I want to talk to you today about a sort of “Stockholm Syndrome” that seems to exist in the spiritual realm; blinding Christians to their freedom and victory in Christ, and keeping them bound to (and sometimes even sympathetic with) that which would destroy them.

Rats.

The little sins, the ungodly behaviors, that cry out for attention, receive that attention in the form of yielded members, and leave a wake of guilt and confusion that keeps the Christian defeated and ashamed to seek help from his only real source of rescue.

Let’s approach the issue this way: 1. YOUR CAPTOR NEVER HAD YOUR GOOD IN MIND, 2. THE STOCKHOLM SYNDROME IS NOT AN EXCUSE, and, 3. YOU’VE BEEN SET FREE, BUT YOU NEED DEPROGRAMMING.

YOUR CAPTOR NEVER HAD YOUR GOOD IN MIND.

First, let’s recognize who or what our captor was. For the moment, lay aside all the mental pictures of the Devil; evil guy in a red suit, horns and pointy tail and goatee. I don’t see Paul referring to Satan once in this 6th chapter of Romans. In fact, Paul doesn’t refer to Satan throughout his letter to the Romans, until the 16th chapter; and that one reference is to God, using our feet to crush Satan through an obedient, victorious Christian walk. That’s a different sermon, let it go for now.

What I do see Paul saying here in the 6th chapter, is that the Christian is to consider himself dead to SIN (vs. 11), not to let SIN reign in his mortal body (vs. 12), and that SIN is no longer master over the believer (vs. 14).

Paul has established in the early verses of this chapter that through Christ the believer has died to sin and sin’s power, having been buried with Christ through baptism, and raised into newness of life in Him.

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