On February 4th, 1974, the billion dollar heiress, Patricia Hearst, was ripped from her apartment by the urban guerilla group, the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA). Her father, Randolph Apperson Hearst, paid $6 million to meet some of the SLA’s $400 million worth of demands for her release. She remained captive because the SLA deemed the ransom inadequate. In a bizarre turn of events, just two months later, Ms. Hearst wielded an assault rifle as she aided the SLA in a San Francisco bank robbery. Subsequent communications from Ms. Hearst asserted her commitment to the goals of the SLA.
What really happened to this kidnapped woman? Was she brainwashed by her captives? Was she angered by her father’s refusal to meet the demands of the SLA? Experts believe she suffered from the Stockholm syndrome, where hostages sympathize with the aims of the captors. The FBI argued that Patricia Hearst was a willing participant in the heist and issued a warrant for her arrest in September of 1975. She was apprehended and eventually convicted of armed robbery and spent 22 months in jail.
Sin has kidnaped us from birth. As hostages to sin we are alienated from God. Most people grow comfortable with this captivity, even preferring the way of sin over God’s way of salvation. Although we never wield an assault rifle in a bank for the benefit of our kidnapper, sin, we subtly convince ourselves that our “sin” is not as “bad” as some other people’s. We carry on with our lives and refuse God’s ransom for our freedom from sin. He paid our ransom with His own Son, Jesus Christ. The brainwashing from sin, however, potently keeps us captive. We refuse to walk away from sin even though we are free to go with God. We choose to stay with the kidnapper instead of accepting God’s salvation.
The situation worsens once we have to face the charges against us. Sin brings an eternal death sentence to everyone accused because all are guilty before a Holy God. No high-priced attorney will be hired to plead the case for our “good points.” The trial will be quick and easy because all men and women are sinners and not one is able to escape the penalty of sin through his or her efforts. Besides, we could never afford the price of our freedom from sin. It was so astronomical that it cannot even be described. God gave everything for you when He gave His only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to take the punishment for your sin. The cost of your freedom was not merely a huge sum of money, but the life of Jesus Christ the Lord.
In the Bible, a man named Job was kidnapped into a life of tremendous suffering. He lost his family and all his earthly possessions. His friends gave him terrible advice on how to cope with suffering. Finally, God ransomed Job and brought him salvation from his trial. Only God was able to rescue Job. Only God can rescue you from sin and the judgment of your sin—eternal death. Based on the monumental work accomplished by His Son at Calvary, God announces, “I have found a ransom!” (Job 33:24). The New Testament further explains that the Lord Jesus “gave Himself a ransom for all” (1 Tim 2:6). Refuse to be held captive by sin! Take God’s priceless ransom, His only Son, Jesus Christ!