Contemplative Life

Gollum or George?

by Chrissy Koach

Movie fans may already know what I’m talking about: one is obsessed and the other is oppressed.

One is consumed with desire to possess something, and one is feeling crushed by circumstances surrounding him.

Neither one is perfect:  George verbally attacks his entire family and even Mrs. Kinder, the kindergarten school teacher, over the phone, directing anger at everyone for awhile.  He drinks too much and then gets a punch-in-the-face when Mr. Kinder runs into him at the bar a few hours later.

George is made up of flesh, blood, and soul. Gollum is more like a greed-filled zombie: a good example for us of “the living dead.”

I have identified with both of these characters.  While my heart longs to be the kind of person who falls to my knees after a good punch in the face, my flesh cries out to scream and hit back.  Have a tantrum, scream and bite, like a trapped animal.  Like Gollum.

But I’m not a trapped animal: I am a child of the Living God.  And on my Gollum days I must work hard to live out the faith I profess.  It’s necessary for me to avoid certain behaviors, thought patterns, attitudes, prejudices (= opinions!).

The important question at the moment is, What is manifesting in my soul?

Envy?  Anger?  Grief? Fear?  Shame?  Or am I sorry I got “caught”?  Do I feel crippled by circumstances? What are my TRUE beliefs about God, His Character and Omnipotence, Omniscience, and Absolute Love over me?

“…Let me tell you something wonderful, a mystery I’ll probably never fully understand. We’re not all going to die—but we are all going to be changed. You hear a blast to end all blasts from a trumpet, and in the time that you look up and blink your eyes—it’s over. On signal from that trumpet from heaven, the dead will be up and out of their graves, beyond the reach of death, never to die again. At the same moment and in the same way, we’ll all be changed. In the resurrection scheme of things, this has to happen: everything perishable taken off the shelves and replaced by the imperishable, this mortal replaced by the immortal. Then the saying will come true:

Death swallowed by triumphant Life!
Who got the last word, oh, Death?
Oh, Death, who’s afraid of you now?

It was sin that made death so frightening and law-code guilt that gave sin its leverage, its destructive power. But now in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three—sin, guilt, death—are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God!   (The Message, I Cor. 15:51-58)

All three are gone: sin, guilt, and death.  What does this REALLY mean to me?

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