Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The One Ring of Unforgiveness

Throughout the epic Lord of the Rings, the One Ring holds onto its owner as much as its owner holds onto it. The One Ring grabs hold of its owner and possesses their thoughts. It alters their personality and they begin to act in ways once foreign to them. Miraculously, Frodo managed to carry the ring all the way to Mount Doom where he had planned to throw it into the volcanic pit so that the Ring and its dangerous power could be destroyed. But when the time came to throw it into the pit, Frodo couldn't do it. He wanted to hold onto it. Presumably Frodo could have done a lot of good with the power at the Ring's disposal. And I think in the movie he tried to convince himself of that. But he never really wanted to hold onto the ring for the good it could do. He wanted to hold onto the ring because it was holding onto him.

Sadly, we often treat grudges just like the One Ring. Someone hurts us but then we never let go of it. We carry it around with us like a dead weight. Bitterness grows inside us and it changes our personality. And then we pretend to forgive but we hold onto it because "we need to deal with it" when, really, that's just a good way to hang on a little bit longer. Proverbs 17:9 tells us, "Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends" (NLT). Sometimes, we "forgive" the people who have hurt us but we hold onto the issue because we "need to deal with it" or because we "need to be wise." But the truth is that we hold onto the hurt because the hurt has a hold on us. We dwell on it and then try to call it something admirable. And while we hold onto it, that hurt pushes us further and further away from our friend.

Grudges and bitterness hold onto us as much as we hold onto them, and we cannot allow ourselves to be deluded about why we hold onto them. We will never be able to use unforgiveness to help ourselves anymore than Frodo could use the One Ring for good. Dwelling on hurts is only good for driving people apart.

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