J.R.R. Tolkien, in one of his lesser known works, The Silmarillion, created a fantasy world to explore the war between good and evil that takes place all around us. At one point in his story, the primary Satan-figure, Morgoth, imprisons Hurin, a human warrior, and compels him to sit on the sidelines and watch the ongoing conflict unfold.
Through the Eyes of Morgoth
Worse, as if watching helplessly were not demoralizing enough, Hurin is forced to view events through Morgoth’s eyes. That means Hurin’s perspective is twisted. He sees events, but he views them through a distorted lens that gives more credence to the breadth and power of evil than it should have.
That story has stuck with me because it’s a temptation I easily fall into. In my world, I regularly get invited to hear dark things, and if I am unguarded, I can find myself living and acting as if darkness will forever have the upper hand.
Sometimes people want me to see the world negatively and so they couch their confidences accordingly; other times it’s simply my own tendency to give darkness too much weight. Either way, when I fall into the temptation, I walk away from a conversation feeling any or all of the following:
- A heaviness in my spirit moving me to despair that anything good might be able to happen.
- Fear of potential future scenarios, none of which promise anything positive, but all of which chase each other endlessly, round and round inside my head.
- Either hopelessness about what I or anyone else can do about the situation, or the opposite extreme, a feeling that it’s all up to me to single-handedly set things right.
- An over-aggressiveness to lobby my viewpoint to as many people as I possibly can to drum up support for my perspective.
- An unquestioned belief that people fall into the polar opposite categories of complete villains or faultless heroes.
- An equally unquestioned belief that the villains are infinitely powerful and the heroes are absolutely powerless.
Through the Eyes of Christ
So what’s the antidote when my world turns this dark? The only way to refuse the eyes of Morgoth is to actively pursue the eyes of Christ—specifically our rescuing, redeeming Christ—by whatever means possible (i.e. through scripture, conversations with people who currently see more clearly, worship songs, prayer, faith-filled stories, etc.).
And so, I need to pursue Christ’s perspective until I remember that there’s not a single atrocity or betrayal that someone can tell me that God has not already seen and heard, and yet still bet His life that His plan of redemption was: 1) an adequate and appropriate response to all evil, and 2) absolutely guaranteed to prevail against all evil.
In other words, I need the mind of Christ if I’m to have a prayer of speaking the words of Christ to broken people in a fallen world. Anything less will result in me speaking faithless words from a darkened mind.
A Spiritual Eye Exam
How do you know that you’ve pursued and re-appropriated Christ’s perspective? Here are the test questions for me:
- Do I find myself recognizing that every human is always an image of God, but is never more than an image of God (i.e., have they resumed their right size and value as human beings)?
- Is my confidence in Christ, His power, and His plan more accurately reflecting His own confidence in Himself, His power, and His plan?
If the answer to those questions is “yes”—or is at least trending more positively—then I’m viewing the world less through Morgoth’s eyes and more through Christ’s. And only now am I ready to re-engage the battle around me, after having once again faced the battle within me.
Join the Conversation
What “spiritual eye exam” do you use to test whether or not you are looking at life through the eyes of Christ?