Choosing Control: Saruman’s Power
“As the power grows, its proved friends will also grow; and the Wise, such as you and I, with patience come at last to direct its course, to control it.”
~Saruman to Gandalf, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 2, Chapter 2 ~
The quest for greatness continues this week. Only now, it is not the humbled Eowyn’s journey we partake, but that of Saruman the White.
Examining Saruman The White
“I might perhaps have consulted Saruman the White, but something always held me back.”
“Who is he?’ asked Frodo. ‘I have never heard of him before.”
“Maybe not,” answered Gandalf. “Hobbits are, or were, no concern of his. Yet he is great among the Wise. He is the chief of my order and the head of the Council. His knowledge is deep, but his pride has grown with it, and he takes ill any meddling. The lore of the Elven-rings, great and small, is his province. He has long studied it, seeking the lost secrets of their making; but when the Rings were debated in the Council, all that he would reveal to us of his ring-lore told against my fears. So my doubt slept – but uneasily. Still I watched and I waited.”
~ Gandalf the Grey and Frodo Baggins, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 2 ~
Leader of the White Council, Saruman was a part of one of the most secret and respected orders of Middle Earth. He also was to be an ally as well as protector unto the free lands of the West.
In other words, Saruman was the type of character you might see as your best or one of your closest friends. He was someone others were supposed to be able to turn to. He was someone in whom others sought wisdom or council.
Can you imagine having such a friend? Maybe you do. Now imagine that same friend in a different light.
The Power of Manipulation
Saruman had a sacred place of trust among the races of Middle Earth. That power though, once corrupted, nearly brought about the destruction of all. The white wizard who had gained favor as well as trust used them to his own gain. Forsaking friends, Saruman became obsessed with the promise of power. A power, perhaps he never came to realize that would never be shared with him.
His lies as well as the omission of details put the Middle Earth in dire straights. The Council was unaware of the ailments of King Theoden in Rohan just as they were clueless of the wars that that terrorized the city of Gondor. If that was not bad enough, the white wizard was also hard at work forming the very armies that were bent on ending the age of men.
Saruman, in modern terms would likely be the friend that:
- Acts kindly in the presence of his companions but in their absence becomes spiteful
- Lends an ear for his friends so that they might find favor in his counsel and when he grows angered those same secrets become subject of local gossip
- Knows some distressing news of importance and withholds it from you because you forgot his birthday.
- Provides you with some much needed assistance only because you paid him or promised to do something for him.
He does not sound like much of a friend does he? Does he resemble someone you know? Maybe someone you see every day?
The truth is, I have been a Saruman. I may know a few too.
The Gift Of Grace
The most sickening and perhaps the saddest realization here is the more we notice people looking up to us, the more influence we tend to have. Simply put, that is when we begin to take things as well as the people we love for granted. We stop appreciating what we have.
Love is the greatest gift of all. It is one that is without purchase, that price has already been paid. More importantly, it is something we are given though we do not deserve it.
John 1:14 NIV
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
The twisted example of Saruman’s friendship teaches us:
- Not to abuse the trust of those in our care
- The pursuit for control will hurt those we love most
- Appreciate what we have
What The Bible Says On Control
2 Timothy 3:1-7 New International Version (NIV)
3 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive,disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.