Do you despair of your sins?

Most of us struggle with hidden (and sometimes not as hidden as we think) sins. They seem to devour us, cause us to despair, to quit fighting. Nothing seems to work; we feel outflanked and unable to defeat our unholy desires. Watching LOTR: Return of the King, I found King Theoden’s words to his men stirring and useful. His men realize they do not have enough to defeat Mordor’s orcs. They are feeling especially downcast because Aragorn has left to travel the paths of the dead and will not lead them in battle. Theoden looks at his men and says,

No…we cannot defeat them. But we will ride out to meet them in battle none the less.

The power in his voice provides a stirring illustration of the will to fight in a battle that he has no hope of winning. Later on the field, he calls them to ride to die, “To death!”In the movie, their hope of winning is staked to Frodo’s ability to destroy the One ring of power. In real life, the one ring of power has already been destroyed. Jesus as completed the work and has “sat down” as writer of Hebrews records. Therefore, we have reason to hope even more than Theoden. Let us keep running to battle knowing,

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:
  “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
    and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
  because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
    and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however,it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it
. Heb 12:1-11.

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Filed under Biblical Reflection, Meditations, sin, The Lord of the Rings

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