The Estrangement that Divides
If you know me even a little bit, you probably know that I read A LOT! I could spend a few hours talking about the merits of reading and why everyone should read more.
Recently though, I started primarily reading classics. I'm sure there's a really wise and mature reason for why I did this, but actually I just wanted to read more classics. So this summer I read The Hobbit while I was in Poland, and I started reading the Fellowship of the Ring in September. Sadly, I had to put it aside BUT I finally finished it over Thanksgiving break last week.
And while I read FOTR, I was surprised by how some of the conversations about the central conflict of the story coincided with a real life conflict. I'm sure you've heard about it. It's Michael Brown's verdict.
I don't plan on sharing my thoughts on the verdict. I'm not even sure I have a cohesive thought. But from the conflict over this verdict, I do have quite a few thoughts about the way that I've seen people treat each other based off of their different opinions and beliefs.
And a passage from FOTR, really captured my thoughts.
"Alas for the folly of these days!" said Legolas. "Here all are enemies of the one Enemy, and yet I must walk blind, while the sun is merry in the woodland under leaves of gold."
"Folly it may seem," said Haldir. "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."
Book II, Chapter 6
This passage comes from a point in the FOTR when all of the members of the company are blindfolded as they walk to Lothlorien to care for Gimli the dwarf, since the elves wanted Gimli alone to be blindfolded (because he's a dwarf). There's bad blood between elves and dwarves in LOTR. Aragorn, who is leading the company during this part of the book, has everyone blindfolded as they walk into Lothlorien.
This quote struck me. The people are united as enemies of the one Enemy, Sauron, yet they are still divided. Sauron's power is seen in how he is able to divide those that oppose him.
How true is this in life outside of this fictional world?
There is a real Enemy. The Bible says so, and people that follow Christ are opposed to him.
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
But we don't often live our lives in anticipation of standing against the devil's schemes. Jesus defeated the devil, but he's still trying to fight a lost battle, and his greatest weapons are lies, divisions, and discord.
Lies, division, and discord are things that really keep us from loving our neighbors as ourselves and sharing the love of Christ. The devil is a culprit but so is our pride.
So how do we stand against the devil when it comes to lies, division, and discord?
Well, we can first seek Christ, his love, and God's strength, which stands against the devil. We can seek to love others even when we disagree with them. We can seek to promote unity through the love of Christ, even if we disagree on earthly things. And we can seek to love people that are different from us, whether it's race, social class, or culture.
These are just some thoughts stirred up by reading The Fellowship of the Ring. I have more thoughts about the book, but I highly recommend that you read The Lord of the Rings for yourself if you haven't read it already. It's definitely a thought provoking, entertaining, and highly recommended read!
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