“Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.” ~ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
While on a journey to Mordor to destroy the ring of power and free the world, a mighty wizard, Gandalf, and a lowly Hobbit, Frodo, had many discussions about the reasons for their quest. One of the central figures seemed to be a creature called Gollum.
Frodo learned about Gollum’s past and about how the ultimate ring of power had subverted Gollum’s will and mind and caused him to be a slave to the ring. In the process, Gollum had done much wrong, turning against others and even killing many individuals.
Frodo did not like the quest that they had undertaken. It was, first of all, very un-Hobbit-like. Second, it was fraught with danger. Frodo had a lot of anger directed at Gollum and his role in the past. Frodo expressed to Gandalf that he wished Gollum had been put to death. We see part of Gandalf’s response above.
What does any of this have to do with a pastor’s column in a Sunday bulletin?! As a matter of fact, it has a lot to do. You see, today is Divine Mercy Sunday. There are many who may take the position that we are undeserving of God’s love and mercy. There are many who may say that it would be better if we died in our sinfulness.
Why would God “lower” Himself to take on our human flesh and nature? Why would God allow Himself to suffer and die on the cross, a sign of humiliation reserved for wretched criminals? Why would God not simply eradicate us all and start over again?
One word: love. God loved us so much that He promised to set us free from the bondage of sin and death and bring us back home to Him. He fulfilled His promise by sending His Son and His Son fulfilled the promise by dying on the cross and rising on the third day.
God’s love is seen in His mercy which is directed at His people. Jesus challenged us to have mercy on one another just as the Father has mercy on us. Frodo learned the necessity to have mercy. You and I need to learn that lesson as well.
FAITH ACTION: Be merciful today, especially those toward whom you may be carrying a grudge. Forgive … and be forgiven.