A few weeks ago, our entire region (and most of the country) was captivated by the news that three women who had been missing for years had been found in a basement in Cleveland. (Even if you weren’t captivated by that news, I guarantee the related, autotuned YouTube video will captivate you…) They had been held captive there by a twisted, sick man who abused them in ways I’m sure we can’t imagine and are only beginning to discover.

I’ve never been a hostage, so it’s hard for me to imagine what kind of experience it is. I’m sure it’s terrifying. I’m certain it’s something I never want to go through. I’m positive that it’s life-changing, and even if a captive is released, his or her life will never be the same.

Remember Elizabeth Smart, the little girl who was held captive by people within two miles of her home? When she was rescued, many people began to ask questions like, “Why didn’t she just run?” But she has answered those questions with simple answers. “You don’t think you will get away.” “You’re afraid if they catch you again, they’ll kill you.”

Some captives even begin to experience “Stockholm Syndrome,” where, after a lengthy period of captivity, they begin to feel some sort of bond, even sympathy, empathy, or affection, for their captors. We can’t wrap our minds around that, but again, we haven’t been there. We don’t know what it’s like to settle into the idea of being a captive.

Then again, many of us do. We just don’t know it. Because we’re captives, but many of us are unknowing, and many of us are willing.

Today is the beginning of a week-long blog series called “Hostage.” For each of the next four days, we’ll explore something that holds us hostage in life. We’ll unpack it and talk about how to be freed from that particular captivity.

The key that will hold this whole thing together is found in one simple verse, in John 8. Jesus told His disciples that if they remained faithful to His teaching, that they would know the truth. He told them, “The truth will set you free.”

In John 14, Jesus told the people listening to Him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” He’s the way to freedom. He’s the truth that sets us free. He’s the life we want, but can’t have when we’re captives to other things. He holds the keys to our freedom.

Tomorrow we’ll get started by talking about the first captor, bitterness.

I’m praying for you today. I’m praying that something you read will set you free through the truth of the Word of God to live in a way that you’ve never lived before. To have life to the full, as good as it gets.

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