We may feel proactive and involved in change, especially by figuring out whom to vote for in this upcoming election, but the truth is we are complacent and comfortable. We think progress is the State changing abortion laws from it being illegal at nine months to it being illegal at only three months. We think progress is choosing who seems to be the most conservative candidate to represent our nation. We live in complete fear at the possibility of one person holding opposite values of us becoming President.
Many happily send their children to public school and dare not to let their children miss too many days lest the Parents get in trouble by mom and dad . . . I mean the State. Many fight for homeschool rights only still to submit themselves with joy to the regulations of the Department of Education. Many who homeschool, happily submit their portfolios, or with joy hand over their money to “certified” teachers, to make sure they are doing this education thing right (because you know how incompetent we are).
We celebrate with ignorance when we get our children’s birth certificates. We celebrate our licenses that give us permission to marry someone and subject our families to the jurisdiction of the State. We condemn people who are trying to make a living because they are not licensed properly. People flash what we call cash on social media, not realizing it is like holding up a bunch of IOUs. Around February each year, many celebrate when they receive their own money back, some with a bonus from their neighbors. Why do we rejoice at so many measures of tyranny?
What this tells me is that we have a condition called Stockholm’s Syndrome.
Stockholm’s Syndrome is when a hostage begins to feel affections or trust towards their captor. The name of this “psychological diagnosis”, comes from a hostage situation that occurred in Stockholm, Sweden. In August of 1973, a convict named Jan-Erik Olsson, on leave from prison, ended up conducting an armed robbery in a bank. Someone was able to hit the silent alarm button, but Olsson was able to wound the policemen who came to rescue. He made demands of money, a car, and even a release of a friend. Since he had hostages, the police met his demands. However, Olsson required that he was able to leave with the four hostages to ensure his escape. The police refused this demand.
While the hostages were inside waiting to be rescued, however, it is said Olsson comforted them. He gave a jacket to one who was cold; he allowed movement for another who was claustrophobic; he allowed phone calls to family. The hostages began to form a bond with him to the point where one of the testimonies was that “he treated us well.” Hostages reported more fear of the police than of Olsson. They even defended Olsson in their testimonies that he did not hurt them.
Stockholm’s Syndrome is said to occur for several possible reasons: because the victim sympathizes with their captor for survival, grows a bond after being with them for a while, begins to share values, or the captor nurtures them.
This phenomenon reminds me of the movie John Q. in which Denzel Washington plays a father whose son needs a heart transplant. His insurance, however, will not cover it, so he is denied. The desperate father then takes an emergency room hostage demanding a heart transplant for his son. The hostages are all people who are also there for their own medical emergencies. They all are afraid and frustrated at first, but this father begins to show them care, and they find that they share views on insurance. They begin to discuss it, and soon they are talking like they are sitting on a couch fellowshipping at someone’s house. It was like they forgot they were being held hostage. With a newly-formed bond, they ended up defending this father. Some even ended up helping him. One of the ladies who was eventually released was greeted with a host of reporters who were eager to hear the horror story, only to hear her say, “He’s a good man!”
In real life, there are many examples of Stockholm Syndrome. Children or women who get kidnapped and over time built a relationship with their abductor—no longer seeing them as a threat. This is frequently true in human trafficking today: many women who are forced into it end up resigned to it and do not see a reason to leave even if they have a chance. Likewise, while there were many slaves in the American South who escaped or attempted to escape, many never even tried because they felt they had a “good master.” They were fed, after all, so they saw no point of leaving. Many people, after serving long prison sentences, have no problem going back. Some may even desire to do so. Some will continue to commit crimes in order to go back. They know outside of prison it is harder than the certainty of bed and food they grew used to on the inside, and they have psychologically suppressed the indignity and servitude.
Under our own forms of servitude, we have become complacent in the same way. Just as Olsson gave a jacket to his cold hostage, our government gives us a pacifier to be quiet. It gives us incentives to comfort us and hush us up. When comfort won’t do, it uses the power of the police state to scare us into submission. So we then accept the tyranny for its comforts and its parental discipline. We then grow affections towards our captor and naively support it with our devotion to the left or the right.
Stockholm’s Syndrome in the Bible
When Moses led Israel out of Egypt and the people faced hardship in the wilderness, they began to reminisce about Egypt. They complained and whined to Moses about how they wanted meat and how in Egypt they would be eating well. They seemed to have forgotten all of the harsh treatment and the fact that they were slaves in Egypt or they did not care anymore. They were willing to go back to hardship rather than to trust God and have Him provide for them. Faced with the responsibility of freedom, they preferred the slavery of their captors. Even after seeing God do wonder after wonder for them, they still doubted God when faced with the walls of Jericho.
Israel was always faced with the temptation to trust man instead of God. Even when going against Assyria, some Jewish leaders wanted an alliance with Egypt rather than trusting in God’s power. “Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help and rely on horses, who trust in chariots because they are many and in horsemen because they are very strong, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel or consult the Lord!” (Isa. 31:1).
This is also our constant battle, to put our trust in man or God. It seems that it is a hard task to help people see this when as a nation we have developed a sense of Stockholm’s Syndrome for a government that is progressively going against God.
In times like these, we need leaders who are able to encourage the people to put their trust in God and not man, and who will encourage people to not fear man or the tyrannical State.
America’s better way
Our Constitution, although not perfect, was founded by men who were resisting tyranny. It was shaped around biblical values and God-given rights. This same constitution, built on these biblical values, allows for disobedience against unconstitutional laws. The constitution was written to protect us from the type of government we currently have and that is progressing. We must remember that the freedoms that we do still experience in this country were not given to us on a silver platter but on bloody battlefields. John Adams once wrote to his wife, “Posterity, you will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in heaven that ever I took half the pains to preserve it.” Men were willing to fight and die for their freedoms, including the freedom from unjust taxation which many celebrate every summer.
Consider how this view of resistance is written directly in the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That WHENEVER any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness [emphasis added].
Even during the time of the American Revolution, however, you had many people who suffered from Stockholm Syndrome. These remained loyal to the British Empire to avoid conflict, and were called “Loyalists.” Although they probably did not like paying higher taxes, they were not willing to go against the King. Some slaves remained Loyalist only because Britain promised them freedom if they fought, which I can sympathize with. But there were also many people who were just waiting around for freedom and independence, some who thought it was morally wrong to go against tyranny and believed their suffering to be legitimate, some who were pessimistic about liberation, some who were afraid, some who were financially attached, and many who were emotionally attached.
I believe our country is filled with many such Loyalists today, and for some of the same reasons listed above, as well as ignorance. I believe that the indoctrination in our public schools has made us passive. The American Revolution as taught in schools today would never encourage the type of defense of freedom that existed then. The pulpit is also to blame. They are filled with passive pastors who will not speak out against tyranny, whose only concern is the soul and not society, who preach against preachers who preach against tyranny, who have Romans 13 “submission” stamped on their foreheads without proper interpretation, 501(c)3 agents and not prophets. We have become too comfortable with our oppressor, and we put our trust in their strength.
Deliverance from Stockholm Syndrome
The first step is to recognize that we have a problem. We need to realize the bondage we are in. As long as we act as if the next president will solve all of our problems, compromise God’s law to gain an apparent inch towards righteousness, and create more laws that burden the people, we will remain in bondage. As long as we think a country is free when Olympic Medal Winners are punished with heavy taxes for winning, where murder is called a woman’s choice, where CPS can abduct your children without question, where the government forces healthcare and vaccinations on people, allows no real property rights, and believes prison is justice for thieves and murderers, then we will continue embracing our captors all the way to our destruction. We need to wake up and acknowledge the lawful slavery we have embraced for ourselves, see the unjust laws as an attempt to dethrone God, and oppose the tyranny.
Deliverance must begin with pulpit. During the time of the American Revolution, although you had other social issues such as slavery that needed to be dealt with, you had preachers who were motivating the people to resist the tyrannical government. Some were even encouraging raising funds for the army and its support for the war effort. Even when you look at the history of the Pilgrims who fled from England due to tyranny: they were motivated by the preachers in the pulpit. The preachers had to motivate them towards righteousness but also to encourage them to trust God and endure suffering.
Pastors must stop defending a nation against God, stop encouraging blind submission, and teach their congregation to count the cost. Pastors must usher their congregation out of the slumber of Stockholm’s Syndrome. Pastors must teach their congregations how Christians can have an authentic voice in their communities and in the nation rather than allowing them to remain plugged in to the political matrix voting for the “lesser of two evils.”
When we teach our congregations to vote for one candidate merely out of fear of the other, we have already accepted a government that allows too much power in one person’s hands, or in the hands of captors who are using candidates as mascots. We already admit they have too much power; when we vote for this current system, therefore, we are condoning it. We must acknowledge the whole system is broken and not just the President.
The truth is, even if a candidate agrees with us on abortion, foreign policy, vaccinations, health care, etc., we must remember that the biblical view of government demands its role to be far more limited than what we have. It is simply time to break out of our Stockholm Syndrome and start the limiting. Pastors must equip their congregations how to get involved locally to reform from the bottom up. There are brothers who already have laid some foundations to mobilize the church in this work. Restoring America One County at a Time by Joel McDurmon and The Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrates by Matthew Trewhella are good places to start.
Trevaris J. Tutt is the Pastor/Church Planter of Truth and Grace Bible Church in the inner city of Jacksonville, Florida. He is married with four children: two boys and two girls. He is an entrepreneur and is currently working on writing books to educate and edify the body of Christ on doctrine, apologetics, history, and biblical worldview.