Over the past few weeks, I’ve revealed some of the lessons that I learned from watching The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. (Click here for the first lesson, here for the second, and here for the third.) I love it when I can be entertained and learn something at the same time, don’t you?
The fourth and final lesson I want to talk about is this: temptation is ever-present, but you can overcome it. Well, unless your conscience is as far gone as Smeagol’s. Then again, he was demon-possessed.
The main temptations faced in The Lord of the Rings
The most obvious temptation that all of the good-guy characters face is the temptation to give up. You don’t always see it, but you have believe that at more than one point, every single one – except maybe Gandalf – want to quit the game. Yes, even Aragon. Especially when he thinks that Arwen, his future elf-wife, has died.
Speaking of Gandalf, how about when Saruman tempts him to come over to the dark side? Sure, Gandalf is a man of strong morals and character, but he is tempted nevertheless.
Neither Sam, Merry, nor Pippin are obligated to see the whole quest through. And they are likely very tempted to bail pretty early on. Galadriel is clearly tempted to take the ring from Frodo when he offers it. And, apparently, Frodo is tempted to relinquish his task at least in that scene – probably in others, as well.
These are not mild temptations to do things that would have little impact. No. They are strong temptations that, if given into, would have dire consequences for the entire world. In addition, the temptations are accompanied by fear of the potential horrible consequences if they choose to resist the temptations (for example, death seems certain much of the time if they keep going forward). Yet, the characters resist.
What’s your excuse?
About a year ago, I lost a new friend, because I called her “stupid” in a round-about way. I did so because she admitted that she’d gone back to smoking cigarettes. “Nicotine is addictive,” she told me.
So I’ve heard. But many people – including my mother – have quit cold turkey. They fight temptation every day for a while, sometimes years. But they resist it, and their lungs are much happier for it.
I quit eating sugary sweets in my mid-twenties. When some vanilla ice cream in my mother’s freezer tempted me, I gave in. But the first bite repulsed me. I hadn’t eaten anything with sugar in it for so long (it had been at least six months by that time), that I couldn’t stand the taste. After that, I was able to resist the temptation.
People sometimes ask me how I stay so thin. Simple: I resist temptation. I know overeating will eventually cause chronic illness to develop in my body. I know certain foods will do the same. So I resist.
“But I just had to have sex with him/her! We let things go too far.”
Really. Shut up. It’s not “too far” until the you-know-what is in the hole. And why the *BLANK* did you start kissing when you knew that was the risk?
We all make excuses for not resisting temptation, from stealing office supplies from a job to committing murder (although, I certainly hope that latter temptation has never been serious for any of my readers!). How weak can we be?
The characters in the Lord of the Rings do not have superpowers. They simply have faith, focus, and the ability to access their inner strength.
So can you. But you have to decide it’s worth it.