The rich can pay a ransom for their lives, but the poor won’t even get threatened. [Proverbs 13:8 (NLT)]

roadside cross - Old World WisconsinWhat if you were held hostage and no one cared enough to pay your ransom? There was a black comedy in the 1980s called Ruthless People in which that happened. When a young woman is cheated by her contemptible boss, she and her husband kidnap the boss’s wife in retaliation. Little do they know that their nemesis doesn’t want his nagging wife returned. In fact, he’d been planning to kill her himself to gain control of her family fortune! Hoping the kidnappers will do the dirty work for him, he deliberately disobeys all of their demands. The inept kidnappers find they have more than they bargained for when their victim turns out to be a foul-mouthed mean-tempered shrew. In the dark of the basement, however, the hostage wife sees the light. Both her disposition and physique make a vast improvement, she bonds with her kidnappers, and the three exact revenge upon her husband.

Fortunately, as Proverbs points out, if we’re not ultra-wealthy, the likelihood of being held for ransom is pretty slim. We needn’t fear being taken by kidnappers or, worse, having a spouse unwilling to pay to get us back! Rich and poor alike, however, can be held hostage by sin. Fortunately, the ransom was paid more than 2,000 years ago by Jesus when He died on the cross. His blood redeemed and freed us; He rescued us not just from sin but also from death and hell. His death provided everyone with the opportunity to accept his gift of atonement and forgiveness; the ransom has been paid to God and all are free to leave sin’s captivity.

Unfortunately, not everyone understands they don’t have to remain prisoners. Perhaps, having grown accustomed to (and comfortable with) wallowing in sin, guilt, and shame, they’ve fallen prey to what is known as the Stockholm syndrome—they like being captives. Perhaps they don’t believe the ransom has been paid and are still trying to save themselves on their own. Perhaps they just can’t believe that God would love them enough to sacrifice His only son for them. Whatever the reason, they just can’t take that step and accept Jesus’ free offer of atonement and forgiveness.

Thank you, Jesus, for loving me enough to pay the ransom that released me from captivity to sin.

From the depth of sin and sadness
To the heights of joy and gladness
Jesus lifted me in mercy full and free;
With His precious blood He bought me,
When I knew Him not He sought me,
And in love divine He ransomed me.
[“He Ransomed Me” (Julia H. Johnston)]

For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. [1 Peter 1:18-19 (NLT)]

Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace. [Romans 6:14 (NLT)]

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