For some reason this morning I got to thinking about how easily we gravitate towards things that hold us captive.
Remember that scene from Braveheart where Princess Isabelle is trying to convince William Wallace to compromise and come to an agreement with King Longshanks of England? “Peace is made in such ways,” she says softly. Wallace’s eyes blaze with fire as he responds: “SLAVES are made in such ways…” Where all the other Scottish nobles are compromising and selling their rights to Longshanks in exchange for “peace,” William Wallace knows that there is a price to pay for Longshanks notion of “peace” … it only comes at the cost of freedom.
There are so many things in life that promise to give us peace in the moment but in the long run lead to slavery. Ask anyone who has ever been addicted to anything…the reason they continue going back to the substance they are addicted to is because they want peace. They don’t want to have to cope with life. They don’t want to have to think about the pain that has been inflicted upon them or that they have inflicted upon themselves. They don’t want to hear the voices of a society that has abandoned them or written them off. The drug gives them a false form of temporary “peace.” Before long they can’t even function on a basic level because they are physiologically dependent upon that substance. Slaves are made in such ways.
So many allow the fear of pain to coax them into selling themselves into slavery. And it doesn’t even have to be slavery to a substance. It can be slavery to a relationship. To a job. To a life of mediocrity. To a feeling of security. To a feeling of being socially accepted. And in every sense of the word, people can become ‘addicted’ to the things that promise peace but ultimately hold them captive, simply because they are afraid of what life would look like if that thing were removed…kind of like an emotional “Stockholm syndrome.” The cage of conformity becomes comfortable. These kind of invisible addictions are the worst kind. At least the alcoholic has an addiction that is visible and not socially acceptable. The worst kind of addictions are the ones that we are blind to, because they are accepted and encouraged by the culture around us.
Its what has caused many women to compromise and ‘settle’ for controlling, suspicious, paranoid men… the fear of being alone. Its what causes people to settle into routines and lifestyles that safely keep them out of the arena of risk and away from the fear of pain. Its what has caused many men to sabotage themselves and any opportunity for success they may have, because they are afraid of the pain of possible failure, or the expectations that would be placed upon them if they were to succeed.
At the center of our willing submission to slavery is this feeling of inner emptiness. A pain or brokenness that the substance promises to temporarily relieve. It’s a pain that must be studied, understood, wrestled with. It’s a wound that many must reopen if they ever want true freedom.