Mary Jemison was an illiterate, eighty-year-old woman when she recounted her abduction at the hands of the Seneca Indians to writer James E. Seaver. Mary was probably taken in 1758, when she would have been fifteen years old. Her first emotions were terror and confusion. She passed a group of white settlers whom the Shawnee had killed and whose corpses they were burning in a fire. She was whisked by canoe to the Seneca village, where she was given a squaw’s clothing, accepted for adoption by the tribe, was taught to speak the Seneca language and not allowed to speak English in the hearing of her “sisters,” had children by a Seneca husband, and eventually measured time, approached life, and spoke as a Seneca Indian. She even grew to feel contempt toward the white people and was completely sympathetic to those who snatched her from her home, saying that “one thing only marred my happiness while I lived with them on the Ohio, and that was the recollection that I once had tender parents, and a home that I loved” (America Firsthand: From Settlement To Reconstruction, Vol. 1, 3rd Ed. by Robert D. Marcus and David Burner. St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1995, pp. 61-67).
Interestingly, time and interaction with her captors eventually, thoroughly changed her attitude and outlook toward them. The Bible speaks of those who are “taken captive” by “the snare of the devil” (2 Tim. 2:26), “the traditions of men” (Col. 2:8), and by the beguiling actions of deceitful, ungodly men (2 Tim. 3:1-6). When we are captivated by Satan and the world, we gradually grow accustomed to worldly dress, habits, and viewpoints. We may even grow contemptuous of the righteousness and truth we once embraced. Sin changes our outlook and skews our perspective. We may have moments of fond recall of the life in God we once enjoyed, but the longer we stay where we are the harder it becomes to break free.
Thankfully, since Jesus came to lead captive a host of captives (Eph. 4:8), we can be freed from the confinement of sin! Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Unlike Jemison’s situation, we only become prisoners by choice, there is a clear right and wrong party, and there is an absolute need to break free of life in spiritual captivity. Rejoice that Jesus makes that possible, and has done all He can to make it happen!