Daisy shared a facebook post by Pastor Mark of New Hope church with me the other day. I really wish I could post it here, it was so timely and just so right. It’s only a few minutes long, but more of an encouragement and reminder for ‘those who live to see such times’.
He mentions a scene, one of my many favorites, from the Lord of the Rings/Fellowship of the Ring, where Gandalf and Frodo are talking while deep in the belly of Moria. Those who’ve seen the movie, or read the book may know which part I’m talking about. Frodo notices movement in the dark below them, and Gandalf tells Frodo that it’s Gollum who has been following them now for 3 days. Frodo says, for the task that he must do, that he wishes the ring had never come to him. Gandalf responds that so do all who live to see such times, but all we have to do is decide what we do in the time that is given to us.
Pastor Mark brings that conversation into the here and now, with everything going on- a lot of folks are discouraged and probably afraid of what’s coming next. He reminds us that we desperately need Jesus in the world to come and fix things. But Jesus is the one who put us in the times we’re in- and He holds yesterday, today and tomorrow. He put us here in this place and time, because… He knows what we are capable of doing. He knows exactly what tomorrow holds, and tells us not to be afraid. Some day He will come and put all things right, but in the meantime- we need Jesus and that is where our focus should be, in sharing Him with a needy world.
It was a great message, and I don’t do it justice here. But as I watched it when Daisy sent it, I thought of the part of the story which preceded that bit of conversation, and thought it is so important of a reminder too.
Let me play the clip, then I’ll explain…
Notice that Gandalf explains what the ring has done to Gollum- very much what sin does to us if we hold onto it. Have you ever heard the phrase, “Hurt people, hurt people”? It’s true. And anger also breeds anger. I know I tend to snap out at others when I am angry with myself. Or if people project their anger, and hate on others- gas lighting a behavior that they are committing. I found this very much applicable to our times as well. We are a nation full of angry people, lost people and dare I say evil behaving people. But think of the ring and what it did to Gollum- he hated and loved it, just like people hate and love their sin. Which is why so many try and justify it. By somehow justifying and demanding rights and acceptance, they are trying to feel better- about themselves.
Now notice Frodo’s response- anger and disgust, “It’s a pity Bilbo didn’t kill him when he had a chance.” How many in our society- all sides of the political/culture/race spectrum are so quick to want others to “die” or be shut up, or move to wherever… so quick to judge, as if all are righteous and pure?
Gandalf replies, “Many live that deserve death, many die that deserve life… can you give it to them Frodo?” Who but God can make a determination on who live or die in their sin? Yes, we can call out sin as sin~ we have to or people will never understand what Salvation through Jesus is. But we have no right to condemn others, we don’t have the power of God.
“Do not be too eager to deal out death and judgement” Gandalf also warns. “Even the very wise can’t see all ends.” Who knows the mind of God? Pastor Mark reminded, we have a God who knows the end from the beginning, and He knows exactly who deserves life and death. He knows who is here for what purposes, and He knows which hearts will harden, and which heart will open to Him.
So in the times that we are living to see, our tasks are hard- love our enemies, see them through God’s eyes, and no more condemning them. That’s God’s job. But pray for them, share the gospel, that they will be ‘rid of the ring‘ and that they might become whole in Christ. After all- we were once enemies of God. Jesus died for us in spite of that.
Have a blessed day all.