I think we all struggle to some degree with a sense of captivity, though it may take different forms…
Maybe in your case, you were told to shut up and sit down when sharing what you thought was an innocent funny story at the dinner table as a child and ever since that moment, you’ve heard that demeaning voice whenever you start to say something to express the laughter inside of you that urges to be expressed.
Perhaps you poured your heart and soul into your art when you were younger (by the way, it’s amazing how many of these wounds are imposed when we’re young) and someone told you it was awful or embarrassing. Their fragility and social impishness became your curse.
Or maybe it’s closer to the flesh than that. Maybe someone has succeeded in emotionally or legally manipulating you. You’ve fallen prey to someone’s predatorial advancements towards you.
Or, maybe the captivity is bodily (or threatens to be).
If you can relate at all to this sensation of captivity, you might notice a truthful voice that rings in your mind (and was written down a few thousand years ago)…
Is Israel a servant, a slave by birth?
Why then has he become plunder?
- Jeremiah 2v14
This is the question from the prophet, Jeremiah. He’s posing the bold question, essentially, Is this what God has in mind for us? Are we slaves by birth?
This story is not a modern one, but rather, one that is as old as the first sentient human beings came to be. In the human heart lies the propensity to otherize, dehumanize, and plunder. History ebbs and flows with one group of people otherizing the other before they become plundered and overtaken. This is also true on an individual level.
Whichever way you cut it, this separation from self, God, and others is the meaning of sin - the psycho-spiritual distortion that overtakes all of us and that we cannot free ourselves from.
However, it does help to understand our predicament and to take heart. The gospel speaks prophetic truth into this RIGHT NOW.
No… This is not what God has in mind for you. You are not a slave by birth, no matter what form this captivity has taken for you.
Though you and I may be small and finite, we are children of an infinite God. Your God is bigger than that, so, in that light, something far bigger than you enfolds you now. I pray that you can know your belovedness and freedom right this very instant, even in the midst of your captivity.
May this Word - this eternal promise from the creator of the universe - speak a new narrative into you right now. And may this narrative of unconditional belovedness be your guiding light. May the liberating Word of God speak to you specifically and set you free.