A Lesson from Frankenstein

By Brent King On October 26, 2015 Under Lessons in Fantasy

“I ought to be thy Adam, but I am rather the fallen angel…” ― Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

frankensteinAs I have walked through the horrendous world of monsters, it was only a matter of time before I met Frankenstein. He stood there before me in the dark—sewn, scabbed, and hideous. Yet as I scrambled after him over the heartbreaking landscape of his world, he seemed less and less scary and more and more like me.

I have come away from Dr. Frankenstein’s creature changed, and now I know a bit more about monsters. First, my mind goes back to something Tolkien said, “For nothing is evil in the beginning. Even Sauron was not so.” If Tolkien is right, then no monster we meet starts out that way. Even the Orcs were once Elves. Monsters, then, are mutations, fallen from a thing of beauty to a wretched monstrosity. But why?

Wounds. Terrible wounds and torments. John Eldredge says that “every wound, whether it’s assaultive or passive, delivers with it a message,” and that “our reaction to it shapes our personality in very significant ways.” He says that there are two common reactions to that wound: violence and passivity.

This means that we have a significant part in creating our own Frankensteins by the wounds we inflict to those in our relationships, families, and communities. If the story of Frankenstein has taught me anything, it has taught me that often that sewn, scabbed, and hideous creature confronting me isn’t really a monster. It has been treated like a monster, so it has taken the form of a monster. Yet more than anything else, it is a wounded creature that needs to be loved and treated with care and compassion.

“All have trials; griefs hard to bear, temptations hard to resist…Make it a rule never to utter one word of doubt or discouragement. You can do much to brighten the life of others and strengthen their efforts, by words of hope and holy cheer. There is many a brave soul sorely pressed by temptation, almost ready to faint in the conflict with self and with the powers of evil. Do not discourage such a one in his hard struggle. Cheer him with brave, hopeful words that shall urge him on his way.” – Ellen White, Steps To Christ 120

Are there any real monsters? Perhaps. Yet most monsters are merely beings with fresh wounds and terrible trials, and compassion, love, and cheer will be to them the antidotes.

How do you treat the Frankensteins in your life?

 

 

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