Gollum: Mankind Bound By Sin (Part II)
Last week we talked about the important lessons we could learn from the character of Gollum in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.
We learned that: Gollum teaches us a very important lesson in terms of relationships as well as humility, and thankfulness.
- Relationships – Our relationship with God should never be based upon how much we are given or received. For if that is where our hearts lie, then we have opened them to the ways of corruption and can harbor a great deal of bitterness and resentment in our hearts.
- Humility – When we begin to measure what we feel we deserve, we forget the gifts that God has already given us. We tend to neglect to appreciate the blessings we have and take them for granted. Our pride, if we allow it to swell or be damaged by what we feel we are lacking, can act as a wrecking ball toppling the foundation of our relationships.
- Thankfulness – We do not always get everything we want. This does not by any means mean that God does not love us or care for us. In fact, He loves us very much. He loved us so much He sent His Son to wash away our sins and free us from sin, condemnation, damnation, and an eternity in Hell. Sometimes too, during our time on this earth…God does not allow us certain things we want because He has something better in store. While we may not see it or realize it away, God is always looking out for us. He always has a plan and purpose for our lives.
The Dangers Of Conditional Relationships
Gollum put various conditions on his relationship with the Hobbits as he guided them through Middle Earth to the very heart of Mordor. His terms, were really quite simple. So long as the Hobbits were kind to him and did not show signs of falseness or trickery, Gollum would lead them obediently as well as safely into Mordor. However, if this was to change at any point and time…Gollum would turn on the two Halflings. We see this painted well in Smeagol’s changing behavior over the course of The Lord of the Rings series.
At the beginning of the Lord of the Rings Smeagol (aka Gollum) is caught by Frodo and Sam. The creature having owned the ring for a rather long length of time is drawn to it much like the other evils of Mordor. Once Gollum is captured, him and Frodo set terms. Those terms are that Gollum knows the way to Mordor and in exchange for his life, as he came upon the Hobbits as a threat, he would lead them to the Black Gate.
Somewhere along the way, Frodo begins to feel pity and compassion for Gollum. Recognizing the terrible burden that Smeagol once bore, Frodo feels a sense of responsibility for Gollum. That same obligation as well as duty drive the Hobbit to protect Smeagol in their journey and perhaps even gains the decrepit creature some favor. It also allowed Smeagol some shelter from the suspicions of Samwise as well as Faramir.
Frodo gets the poor creature’s life spared at the Forbidden pool. However, the Hobbit’s protection of him is also misinterpreted. Given Faramir’s crude handling of Gollum, the twisted creature begins to distrust Frodo and Sam.
This same distrust and suspicion leads Smeagol to plot against the Halflings bringing life to the rather sad conditions Gollum’s relationship with Frodo was based upon.
We Should Not Be Gollum With God
Have you ever decided that because God did not answer a prayer the way you wanted that you were done with Him? Have you perhaps scorned Him? Maybe been angry with Him because something did not turn out the way you hoped, wanted, or expected it to?
There was a time I did. To my deepest regret and shame, there was a time I was angry and hated God because I did not get what I wanted.
Years ago, I had an ailing grandmother who was fighting cancer. When her battle was not looking too be going too well, I did what most believers do. I prayed. I asked for healing. I prayed that if not, that God take her home to be with Him and end her pain. As much as I wanted my grandmother to stay, she was called home. She died January 3rd…1992.
Needless to say, I was not happy. In fact, I was angry. I spent a great deal of my high school years going back and forth with God as I had placed a condition on my relationship with Him much as Gollum had done with Frodo and Sam.
My account and Gollum’s conditioned relationship with Frodo makes me think of the biblical story of Jonah.
Jonah’s Disappointment With God
Jonah 4New International Version (NIV)
Jonah’s Anger at the Lord’s Compassion
4 But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. 2 He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. 3 Now,Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” 4 But the Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?” 5 Jonah had gone out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. 6 Then the Lord God provided a leafy plant[a] and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant. 7 But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered. 8 When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die,and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.” 9 But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” “It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.” 10 But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh,in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?”