Last weekend I won. Not a game. Not a gamble. No, I won parenting. I sat my five-year-old son down, and we watched A New Hope (that’s Star Wars Episode IV originally released in 1977). Together, we hung on every word Luke spoke, and we watched as light sabers lit up the screen and our hearts. My son was floored when Obi-Won Kenobi sacrificed himself at the hands of evil incarnate – Darth Vader.
Everyone remembers Darth. THE villain of villains. That sinister cape, the triangular helmet with the huge, empty eyes, and the very voice of death are forever seared in the minds of all who have seen any portion of the original Star Wars trilogy. All the attributes you’ve always hated about every bad guy are all wrapped up into one super-evil and packaged, conveniently, in black.
Haunted by Vader, I began to observe the Dark Side as we continued to watch the movie. Most were like their prodigy leader – evil and masked. Then, I made an interesting observation between the Rebel Alliance and the Dark Side. The good guys, who were controlled by the “Force,” all had something in common: Luke – no mask. Leia – no mask. Han – no mask. Chewy – hairy, yes, but no mask. Obi-Won – no mask. Now, contrast that with the villains of the Dark Side: Vader – mask. Storm Troopers – mask from head-to-toe. Boba Fett – mask. Emperor Palpatine – no mask but he wears a hood to conceal his hideousness. The comparison isn’t without exceptions, but you get the point. Darkness is masked and light is not.
Ironically, it’s the same in reality. Real darkness is most often masked.
- Adultery masked as “she gets me.”
- Prejudice masked as “it’s tradition.”
- Apathy masked as “I don’t have time.”
- Murder masked as “a holy war.”
- Predators masked as “friends.”
- Anger masked as “passion.”
- Pornography masked as “art.”
- Drugs masked as “release.”
- Hate masked as “political ideology.”
My son never could grasp why Obi-Won had just “given up.” He couldn’t grasp the death of one man for the good of the whole. He failed to recognize the longevity of the plan. Young kids live in the here-and-now…for better and for worse. Obi-Won Kenobi was thinking about the future – the long-term effects of his sacrifice. My son never realized that to forever kill the masks of the Dark Side, someone had to die.
Reality…we all have masks we love to wear. And, behind these masks, nestled deep in the ravines of our hearts, is evil – Darth Vader-like evil …the kind we hope no one ever finds out about. We think it. We speak it. We commit it. And, mostly, we hide it. If our masks are going to be killed along with the evil hiding behind them, someone has to die. And, someone did die.
Paul, the apostle, wrote to Titus, a young preacher, and told him this about Jesus Christ, “For the grace of God [that’s Jesus] has appeared bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age…” (Titus 2:12-12).
Christ kills the evil and the masks that hide it. God “delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13-14). In Christ, our sins are removed from the sight and mind of the only being that matters – God the Father. Now God sees us just as He sees Jesus. Perfect. Are we? No. Not yet. But because of our God-given faith in Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, God has chosen to “remember [our] sins no more” (Jeremiah 31:34). Masks are no longer necessary because you no longer have anything to hide, because “…though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow…” (Isaiah 1:18).
There’s a struggle to hide behind our masks…to love our masks…to hang on to our masks so we don’t have to deal with the real us, but Christ came to kill those evils behind our masks, and through Him, we have been given freedom from our masks; therefore, fight courageously.
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). That’s our evil-executioner and our mask-destroyer speaking. He died at that hands of evil, so you and I could have a future. I pray we’ll see that future and take up our sabers and fight.