It was a late day at her office in Moncton, New Brunswick. But at 8PM on Friday, February 26th, Jackie finally put on her suede jacket, grabbed her brown purse and her lunch bag and swinging her arms, headed to the parking lot. Another day of work finished and she was probably looking forward to watching the Olympics that evening with her husband. But it was to be one of the worst days of her life. Somewhere in the parking lot before she arrived at her car, something happened. She never arrived home that night. Nor did she show up the next day. Jackie disappeared.

The family notified the police. The search began. The various scenarios were considered and the possibilities were examined. The questions were asked. What happened to Jackie? The hours turned to days and the days turned to weeks. (Jackie is not her real name.)

The family posted a $25,000 reward for any information that might help them find Jackie. Posters of the 54 year old, 5’3” woman were posted everywhere. A vigil was held and flyer drops were made. The story was constantly in the local news and frequently on the national news.

A surveillance video showing Jackie exiting her place of work was posted on YouTube and within a day or two, attracted over 25,000 hits. Three hundred friends and supporters joined the family at St. Bernard’s Church in Moncton to pray. Soon hundreds of churches across Canada were communicating with the family to assure them of their prayers.

The family tried to remain hopeful but it had been almost a month since Jackie disappeared. She left no note behind and no plausible explanation to calm their anxieties or to comfort them.

Almost one month later, on March 24th at about noon, a frightened woman ran out of driveway of a boarding house in Moncton, wearing a t-shirt and shorts. Frantically, she waved down a Purolator truck. The startled driver looked scared but moments later he sped away with the woman in the truck.

Jackie was returned to her family that evening and they sat up all night talking about the ordeal. Who can imagine what it must have been like for her to be abducted by an older man, taken to the basement of his boarding house and to be physically confined for almost a month? Who can imagine the excitement, the thrill, the happiness and the relief of escaping captivity and finding freedom and safety? Only someone who has experienced it.

The alleged kidnapper was charged with kidnapping, unlawful confinement, sexual assault, theft of money using violence, assault with a weapon and uttering threats.

The entire city of Moncton and beyond was ecstatic at the news of Jackie’s freedom and safety. The streets were palpably a-buzz with joy. Someone who was held captive escaped to freedom.

Spiritually there is a more sinister captivity going on every day. The culprit is not a 62 year old man from a boarding house who ate at the nearby food kitchen. The Bible says that people are held captive by the cords and shackles of their own sins. Captivity and bondage. Sin is monster-like in its grip and debilitating effects.

The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin.

Proverbs 5:22

People are held in bondage by the sin of religious pride and will forego freedom because they have found a certain security in their bondage and feel a weird intimacy with their captor. It is known as the Stockholm Syndrome.

Others are held captive by a vicious habit they would love to break. It has a strangle hold upon them. Many know they are on the slippery-slopes of self-destruction but are powerless to free themselves.

Sin is a tyrant in our lives and the Bible uses metaphors such as slavery and bondage to convey the awfulness of sin in the human family. Sin often offers short term pleasures to hook a person into a lifetime of bitter bondage. Ultimately, sin brings about death and eternal destruction unless freedom can be found.

In the Bible’s Epistle to the Romans frequent references are made to the reality of sin in our lives. Every person (not just a few bad ones) needs to be freed from the dominating tyranny of sin. (Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23) Sin is cruel because if it has its way, it will land you in Hell. Satan too is working towards that dark end for you.

The good news is there is freedom. You can escape the bondage of sin. You can escape the ultimate end of sin – eternal death. You can’t buy your freedom or earn your freedom. If you are ever going to be freed from the bondage of your sin – you will have to accept God’s gift.

For the wages of sin is death,

but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

(Romans 6:23)

Jesus said to religious people trapped in the bondage of their religion:

“The truth will set you free.”

If the Son (Jesus Christ) sets you free, you will be free indeed.

(John 8:32,36)

You could be freed right now as you read this. Two thousand years ago, Christ died for your sins upon the cross. He was raised from the dead and He has both the power and the authority to set you free today. He wants to. Will you turn to Him for freedom and liberty? Receive Christ as your Savior and you will be ‘free indeed.’

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