Family Works [September 23, 2018]
Of all the movies made in the eighties, I believe Star Wars was near the top. The plot was simple, the characters well-thought out, and the special effects were state-of-the-art for that time. In fact, my son Drew, who considers himself an expert in the quality of special effects, commented after viewing the Star Wars trilogy recently, that he could not believe the special effects were so good considering the movies were made way back in the eighties.
Evil personified in these movies was a villain by the name of Darth Vader, robed in black, wearing a black hood, and breathing through a special device that made him seem monster-like. What a startling contrast he was to the good guys, like Luke Skywalker who wore white and maintained that boyish grin that assured the audience that nothing particularly bad could ever come from such an innocent one. Such a contrast made it easy for children to cheer for the good guys and boo the bad guys. It was not unlike the old cowboy movies where the bad guys wore the black hats and the good guys wore the white. Only the setting was different. Instead of taking place at the O-K correl, it took place in a galaxy far, far away.
What is most interesting about Darth Vader, the chief villain in Star Wars, is not only the character we are seeing in the movie, but his past history. It seems that before he became diabolical, he belonged to the good. He cared about and fought for what was right. But slowly, Darth Vader was lured to the dark side. He was tempted repeatedly, and eventually was lured into the darkness, where his life was consumed with evil.
Why are we so often tempted? Why is it that even when all is going well, when we are successful in nearly every area of life, that we can choose to self-destruct? Countless stories of this self-destruction come to mind. Think of the man who has a good home, loving wife and children, who although knowing how wonderful his life is, deliberately chooses to become involved in an affair which ultimately destroys his family. Or, the teenager who understands the risks of premarital sex, yet deliberately chooses to give in to the temptation and engages in sex which often results in destroying her life and eventually the life of an unwanted child. Or, the wife who secretly runs up thousands of dollars of credit destroying the financial stability of the family. Or, the young man who snorts cocaine knowing the hopelessness of this path. The stories are countless, but the results are the same. We can ruin our lives and the lives of those who love us when we give in to temptation.
Temptation attacks on two fronts. The attack may come from inside of us, especially if there are unresolved emotional issues which can easily make us vulnerable to particular temptations. We all have our points of vulnerability. Some of us are tempted to abuse alcohol, others sex, others food, others power, others drugs, others being overly critical . . . whatever your vulnerability from within it is wise to recognize it for what it is and take the necessary steps to manage your point of vulnerability. Or, the attack may come from outside of us. Certain people present a bad influence, in whose presence it is easy for us to do the wrong thing. When I was young, I arrogantly would boast that there was not any situation I could not handle. But as I have matured and faced temptation, I have come to understand there are certain situations I should avoid.
Temptation can determine destiny. Too bad Darth Vader didn’t understand this. Hopefully you do. May you resist the lure of the dark side.
Rob Coombs is a professor with a doctor of ministry degree and a doctor of philosophy with an emphasis in Family Systems.
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