Smeagol was a hobbit back in the day but on his birthday he kills his best-friend over a ring that was found at the bottom of the lake they were fishing on. When the friend denies Smeagol the ring as a present, they fight over it and Smeagol ends up choking the life out of his BFF. Consumed with his love for the ring and guilt for the murder, Smeagol turns into a slimy creature called Gollum: Smeagol's alter ego if you will. My guess is that Gollum is a result of Smeagol's actions: murdering his best friend and allowing the ring to become everything: his "precious."
When he meets Frodo and Sam, Frodo immediately has grace and mercy for him for only Frodo can relate to Gollum. Frodo now carries the ring and it has become his burden to destroy. Though it doesn't consume him to the degree it did for Smeagol, Frodo knows what a burden it is to have the ring. His compassion and mercy for Gollum come out of that knowledge.
Something in Smeagol responds to Frodo because soon after meeting up with the two hobbits, Gollum struggles with Smeagol trying to come out. Gollum tells Smeagol: "You're a liar. Nobody likes you." So consumed has Gollum become with his guilt that he doesn't like himself. He's isolated himself so much and been swallowed by his sin and lust for the ring that it's easy for him to believe that nobody else likes him. Sadly, he's never really ever able to see that Frodo does like him, and that if he had allowed it, Frodo would have been his friend to the end. Smeagol missed out on having a friend who could relate to him: both had carried the same burden and would have benefited from each others experiences. Instead, Gollum convinces Smeagol that Frodo is a betrayer rather than a protective friend.
When Gollum told Smeagol that "nobody" liked him, he was believing the worst of him is what makes up his identity. He's convinced himself that all he is are the bad and flawed parts. He's believed lies for so long he can no longer see anything but the bad. He's convinced himself that lies are truth.
"They will cheat you. Hurt you. Lie. You don't have any friends. Nobody likes you," Gollum tells Smeagol of Frodo and Sam. Though ultimately Gollum wins, there is a brief moment where Smeagol tells Gollum several times over: "Leave and never come back." He denounces the lies that have made him Gollum and briefly becomes Smeagol. Joy is returned, hope is restored and he has a faithful companion.
I think of these people I mentioned earlier and think of how there is a barrier between us that prevents us from being friends. They have nothing to feel guilty for (besides regular sin stuff like the rest of us) like Gollum did. My friends' lies are that they are responsible for something that was not their burden to bear, or that they are unloveable. All of them don't like themselves and have admitted it to me. Lies have consumed my friends for years and because of the lies they believe they have kept me at a distance. I am not who my friends need though. My friends need one who is more faithful than me. They need God. But I relate to both Gollum and Frodo. There are lies I have believed about myself (like Gollum) and there are people I have wanted to influence (like Frodo) that resist.
So consumed are they by the past, they have allowed it to determine their future. Their plans have been affected and their morals and values lay dormant in the hopes their way will bring them peace. The walls they put up are hard to break down and I fear they will, like Gollum, fall into "shadow," but I won't give up, boundaries may need to be drawn and loving broken people does not mean being a doormat, but hope that they will one day have peace is something I never stop praying for.
Even Gollum, as far as God is concerned is within the realm of God's grace. We are all Gollum. And we are all Frodo. In ending this blog post I have to ask you to think about the Gollum's in your life and then to remember that Smeagol is still somewhere in there, hopefully their ending will be different and happier than Gollum's. Maybe with your love and patience and above all God's grace, those in our lives who have had precious little to be happy about can find joy.