Saturday, July 26, 2008

Hating and Loving Ourselves

“Sin is not something you just shake off, like a pesky viral infection. It is enslaving, immobilizing. WE ARE HELPLESS against it.” ~ William Pile, What The Bible Says About Grace

One of the things that I really liked about the movie The Two Towers is the portrayal of the creature Gollum. If you were able to watch the movie you probably began to pity the sad little guy. We could plainly see the struggle Gollum had with the ring, the two distinct sides of his personality. I found what Colin Duriez wrote about Gollum in The J.R.R. Tolkien Handbook very interesting.
The character of Gollum also reveals Tolkien’s concern for repentance in human life. Despite his depravity, a side of Gollum struggles to rise above the overwhelming demands of the Ring, which possesses him. There are times in the story when it seems possible that Gollum will be saved.

For almost five hundred years Gollum was enslaved by the power of the One Ring. Even after years without the Ring, Gollum still was consumed by his “Precious.” Because of this enslavement Gollum both hates and loves the Ring and himself.

Watching The Two Towers I found myself pitying Gollum. Not because he is such a miserable creature, but because I understand his feelings. I know what it is to hate and love oneself and that enslaving sin that controls a life. I would guess that you too have experienced these feelings.

We may not want to participate in sin any longer and we hate it because we know the consequences. We also have a desire within ourselves to continue our lifestyle, for we still love our sin. Since we have this dual personality, we end up loving and hating ourselves, not just our sin.

If this is the way you feel I hope that you can find comfort in knowing that others have felt the exact same thing. The Apostle Paul fought against these same feelings and desires.
{21} It seems to be a fact of life that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. {22} I love God’s law with all my heart. {23} But there is another law at work within me that is at war with my mind. This law wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. {24} Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin? (Romans 7:21-24; NLT)
Will power, right thinking, pep talks, even a greater knowledge of God’s law will not give us victory in this struggle. This struggle brings us heart ache and disillusionment, but it is good. I hope that you are struggling with this love/hate relationship, because it serves a purpose. It reminds us that there is something greater, a higher calling for us to achieve. If you find yourself feeling like Gollum it means that you are on the right track. People might not understand your struggle or how far you have come, but God knows. Just because you have not reached a standard set by someone else or have not lived up to your own ideals doesn’t mean that you are failure. Don’t give up. Remember that even though you may hate and love yourself, God’s love has not changed. He still loves you.

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