A few years ago I was in a South Florida home with a young man who had
captured a wild hawk and in a short time had converted it into an obedient
Falcon. At the sound of a whistle, the bird would fly from its perch, light on
the man’s arm, take food offered it, and on command return to its roost. When
it was outdoors and free to escape, the hawk made no attempt to do so or
return to its natural state. I was amazed that this wild creature could be made
to abandon its instinct, its normal behavior, its ancestry, and submit to the
command of another who had deprived it of normal life.
More so, I was astonished to learn that the hawk’s complete transformation
had been accomplished within three days after its removal from the wild. In
that brief time it had become a voluntary prisoner, submissively doing the will
of its captor and adapting to a strange and unnatural environment. But as I
watched, I saw much more than a falconer and his captive bird. I saw a
spiritual truth unfolding before my eyes—Truth—in the form of a question I
want to ask you:
Can humans be mentally captured, removed from their natural
state, subdued, and forced into a life-style that is totally alien to
themselves and God’s intended purpose for them?
Let me illustrate the answer: In 1973, four bank employees in Stockholm,
Sweden, were captured during a robbery and kept inside a vault. Strangely,
within six days they became so devoted to their captors they not only resisted
rescue but afterward refused to testify against the criminals. This
psychological phenomenon became known as the Stockholm Syndrome and is
identical to what happened to the hawk.
The most notorious instance of the Syndrome in America came year ago when
a 19 year-old millionaire-heiress, was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation
Army, kept in a dark closet, blindfolded, unfed, and abused. Then something
strange happened; She joined her captors’ organization, renamed herself
"Tanya" and took part in robbing a bank of which she and her parents were
part owners. When captured and tried she was sentenced to seven years in
prison. In another case, an airline hostage later married one of her captors.
Politically, we call this transformation "brain-washing". A large Church of
Christ in Boston, Massachusetts, was once accused of using this tactic in
"converting" new members. One of their steps was to deprive the people of
sleep through all-night "prayer", then, at dawn, church officials mentally
bombarded them with religious ideology and overwhelmed them
psychologically. In such a deviate method, the Holy Spirit was unneeded–just
I have a dear friend who as a child was accused of a crime he did not commit
—but one to which he confessed after police interrogated him under bright
lights for eight hours. Thankfully, he is a committed Christian today but his
normal life was stolen from him by this horrendous childhood event. We have
all heard of traumatized wives who refuse to leave an abusive husband. The
style of maltreatment may change but the end-result is the same: The mind can
be taken captive by powers of darkness.
In my own ministry, the most extreme case I encountered was a young female
victim of childhood Satanic Ritual Abuse who had been deliberately made
schizophrenic by her Satanist parents and was controlled by them through her
alter-ego. One part of this young woman’s mind was an educated, trained
R.N., and a believing Christian. Her other part was a totally different
personality who used an alias name and participated in Satanic behavior.
Impossible!, you say. Not so. The Apostle James warned twice about being
"double minded"– a word which In Greek means "two-souls". As Christians,
we see varying degrees of this condition in people who become captive to
Satan but refuse to escape his control–even when they have opportunity to do
so. In extreme cases, it takes only 3-4 days for the Stockholm syndrome to
emerge even when captive and captor are strangers. Bizarre? Yes, but true.
According to psychologists, the victimized person bonds to the abuser as a
means to endure the violence. A psychotherapist explains, "When someone
threatens your life but doesn't kill you, the relief generates intense feelings of
gratitude. This, coupled with fear, makes the captive reluctant to display
negative feelings toward their captor. The victims' need to survive is stronger
than his/her impulse to hate the person who has created the dilemma." The
victim then comes to see the captor as a 'good guy', even a savior. I have met
Satanists who adamantly insisted that the devil was good.
In June, 2002, the nation was shocked by the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart, a
14 year old Utah girl from her bed at night, who was kept by her abductors
nine months. Elizabeth later showed Stockholm Syndrome effects when she
made no attempt to escape though she had ample opportunity to do so.
Airplane hostages have been known to sympathize with their captors and one
became so emotionally attached that she married him. In some cases, former
hostages have visited their captors in jail, recommended defense counsel, and
one even started a defense fund for them. We see this in the behavior of some
abused wives who voluntarily stay with a dangerous husband.
In explaining the process of converting a wild hawk into an obedient falcon, of
how the bank employees, Patty Hearst, and others, were mentally abducted, I
want you to make that comparison to the way Satan captures and subdues his
victims. This condition occurs in response to these conditions:
1. The hawk must be a grown but immature, inexperienced male.
2. The hawk is drawn to the trap with "food", usually a mouse or small animal
that is under a clear but protective dome. When the hawk dives down to grab
the prey, his feet become trapped in the snare and he is captured. —By the
way, he never gets the food that tempted him.
3. The hawk is immediately hooded, deprived of light, the ability to see, or the
power to fly away.
4. For the next 24 to 72 hours, the hawk is kept awake on the falconers
heavily-gloved arm. Though the hawk is not allowed to sleep it is periodically
offered food—which, in the beginning—it refuses. The hawk associates sleep
and accepting food with surrender so it desperately fights to stay awake and
refuses to eat.
5. Deprived of light, food, and sleep, when the hawk finally eats and falls
asleep, it psychologically acknowledges its’ dependency on the captor and
becomes "bonded" to him. From that time on, the bird may fly freely in the
outdoors but will voluntarily return to its owner like a young bird returning to
its parents’ nest.
6. Lastly: After bonding to the falconer and accepting its’ new identify, many
hawks revert to "baby-bird chirping". In humans, we call this "arrested" or
"reversed emotional development". In effect, the falconer becomes a foster
parent and the hawk, mentally returns to a state of infancy; at this point it
begins making the "baby bird" sounds when it wants food or the falconer's
Much of the problem which Pastors encounter in their congregations is this
same condition in immature church members. We hear a lot of "baby bird
chirping" in individuals who have reached their adult years but have not
grown emotionally. In most cases where I encountered arrested (or reversed)
emotional development there had been a childhood crisis or traumatize ing
event that paralyzed the person’s mental development. Divorced parents,
serious illness, unwanted moves, sudden changes, loss of security, caused the
COMPARING THE HAWK AND THE HUMAN PROBLEM
1. IMMATURITY: 1 Corinthians 14:20-21: "Do not be children in
understanding ... in understanding be mature." Hosea 4:6. "My people are
destroyed for lack of knowledge."
2. SNARED: Proverbs 7:21-23. "With her flattering lips she seduced him.
Immediately he went after her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, Or as a fool to
the correction of the stocks, Till an arrow struck his liver. As a bird hastens to
the snare, He did not know it would cost his life."
3. BLINDED: 2 Corinthians 4:3-4. "But even if our gospel is veiled, it is
veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has
blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ,
who is the image of God, should shine on them."
4. DENIED REST: Matthew 11:28-30: "Come to Me, all you who labor and
are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn
from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your
souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
5. RETURN TO INFANTILE BEHAVIOR: Galatians 5:1-5: "Stand fast
therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be
entangled again with a yoke of bondage ..."
6. THE ESCAPE: 2 Timothy 2:24-26. "And a servant of the Lord must not
quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those
who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they
may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the
snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will."
SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES TO THE "MIND"
"And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach,
patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will
grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may
come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken
captive by him to do his will." 2 Timothy 2:24-26.
"But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind,
and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members."
"Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers; The snare is
broken, and we have escaped!" Psalm 124:7.
Isaiah 26:3. "You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on
You, Because he trusts in You."
Mark 12:30. "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with
all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first
Romans 12:2. "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by
the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and
acceptable and perfect will of God."
Ephesians 4:23. "And be renewed in the spirit of your mind."
Philippians 2:5. "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus."
Colossians 3:2. "Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth."
2 Timothy 1:7. "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of
love and of a sound mind."
2 Corinthians 13:11. "Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of
good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace
will be with you."
Best of all, remember that Jesus came to "set the captives free." No where is
this truth illustrated better than with the maniac of Gadara. Mark 5:17,
explains that the townspeople " ... went out to see what it was that had
happened ... and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the
legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind." What the devil had taken
from him, Jesus had restored. This part of Kingdom Ministry must be
continued in the Church today!
THE BATTLE OVER LAW AND GRACE
GRACE frees us from the law so that we can be motivated by love. And
wherever grace reigns, the believer will be more motivated by a desire to serve
the Lord than he was ever motivated to serve the Law. Grace does not leave us
in an unmotivated state. It never frees us to be irresponsible or defiant.
Instead, whenever grace reigns, we will become more involved, more serving,
more committed–but with more true freedom and joy. God's objective in
giving us grace is to produce graciousness in our lives. Any teaching that
produces defiance and antagonism in the lives of its followers is a false
concept. Avoid it. Mere freedom from the law does not imply that we are
under grace. Not so! Rebellion is an attempt to be free from the law. Carnality
is an attempt to be free from the law. In such cases, this kind of "freedom" is
only a deceptive imitation of grace. It simply exchanges one form of darkness
for another. Sadly, it is a deception into which many Christians fall. A Hymn-
Grace led my roving feet
To tread the Heavenly Road,
And new supplies each hour I meet
While pressing on to God!
Grace all this work shall crown
In everlasting days!
It lays in Heaven the topmost stone
And well deserves the praise!