“Indeed in nothing is the power of the Dark Lord more clearly shown than in the estrangement that divides all those who still oppose him.”
~Haldir, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 2 Chapter 6 ~
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
~Martin Luther King, Jr.~
“Forgiveness is a funny thing. It warms the heart and cools the sting.”
~William Arthur Ward~
One of the most compelling lessons that we can take from The Lord of the Rings lies in a particular friendship. The friendship of which Tolkien illustrates a lesson in forgiveness is through the unlikely companionship of Gimli and Legolas.
What makes the friendship of Gimli and Legolas so important?
This friendship bridges a rather wide gap in the Middle Earth as the dwarves and elven kind have a long standing feud that spans over hundreds of years. So deeply rooted too is their rivalry that they keep a record of the others’ wrong doings.
Have you ever done that? Have you gotten so upset or felt so hurt by another’s wrongdoing that you let it sit with you for long periods of time?
I can count multiple instances such as these when I have been hurt. There are too many times too that I can recount where I also felt the bitter pangs of betrayal.
Grudges, Bitterness, and Resentment: Weeds That Choke
“Resentments and grudges are two of the main culprits that perpetuate cycles of self-abuse and victimhood. Stowed away inside you like parasites, they deplete you of your God-given life force and separate you from your inherent worth, your joy, and the love in your heart.”
When we let our pain turn into resentment as well as bitterness, we lose something truly precious. We lose the love we carry for one another. That same fondness becomes disdain, jealousy, anger, as well as resentment. We begin to hate the very things and people we once loved.
This same bitterness can take to our hearts, much like a weed does to flowers, and choke the very feelings that bring us close to one another right out of us. In other words, keeping track of one another’s wrong doings…. ends relationships. It also bears forth a bitter crop which kills any hope of building future relationships. Hatred obscures the heart of trust, love, and even hope!
Gimli and Legolas
Gimli knew of the times the elves had abandoned his kin. Likewise it was no secret to Legolas the manner in which the dwarves greed drove them to bring about the destruction of the elven realm of Dorian. Needless to say, dwarves and elves had caused each other much grief in their friendship with one another. For these two to have become friends with such a long line of grudges being held, it is nothing short of an act of grace!
Scripture On Holding Grudges & Forgiveness
1 Corinthians 13:4-5New International Version (NIV) – 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Matthew 18:21-35New International Version (NIV) – The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.[a]23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold[b] was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins.[c] He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’ 30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened. 32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. 35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”