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Lent, and The Hobbit

February 17, 2013

We took our boys to see “The Hobbit” for the second time, and this quote stood out. The first time, I thought “ah, this explains Saruman’s descent into the dark side” – the second time, it stood out for other reasons

“Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.” -Gandalf (J.R.R. Tolkien)”

Yes, small acts of kindness and love are important. Not only “random acts of kindness” – when it feels heroic, not just when it’s being noticed and feels good…

The choicest believers…, ought yet to make it their business all their days to mortify the indwelling power of sin. …..Do you mortify; do you make it your daily work; be always at it whilst you live; cease not a day from this work; be killing sin or it will be killing you. ….John Owen: (Overcoming Sin and Temptation, 50)

The comment “be killing sin, or it will be killing you” segweys into one of our required annual corporate training classes around “code of conduct.” Some of the ways the company communicates the seriousness of maintaining the code of conduct are through anecdotes by people who have suffered consequences from NOT maintaining the code of conduct. The stories are often about little lapses in judgement – moving too fast – not paying attention to little things, small ‘excuses’ for grey area decisions….”Mistakes were made but not by me” (Tavris and Aronson) documents

‘..how the brain is wired for self-justification. When we make mistakes, … we create fictions that absolve us of responsibility, restoring our belief that we are smart, moral, and right— a belief that often keeps us on a course that is dumb, immoral, and wrong. ‘

Pajamas Media has an article this week giving 5 signposts – the little things that don’t fight evil (or mortify sin, in Christian lexicon) in the way Gandalf describes. All easy for anyone to slide down these slopes…

1) I/You vs. I/It – treating others like objects instead of human beings with families, feelings, and dreams, just like us.

2) An Ends -Justifies-the-Means Mentality – where Saruman went wrong

3) A Feeling of Victimization – Some of the most malicious people you’ll ever run across …perpetually feel as if they’re being victimized by invisible, malevolent forces beyond their control

4) Escalation and Line Crossing –  “Little by little one walks far.”.. Evil begins with fantasies, poor choices, and small steps …

5) Refusal to Accept Moral Absolutes – if everything floats in a grey area …we can very easily slide into levels of depravity most people haven’t even imagined possible

 A good reminder for me – during lent –  be killing sin or it will be killing you and  small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 2, 2013 2:36 am

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