Star Wars: light vs. dark
It has already been a month since Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens was released, but the buzz is still going strong. New movie-based toys are hitting the shelves this month, and avid fans are arguing about what might happen next. Star Wars has a whole galaxy of characters to love, but the biggest question is the debate we’ve been having since Obi-Wan and Darth Vader first crossed blades:
Would you choose the light side or the dark side? Would you rather be a Jedi or Sith?
In reality, there’s a much more appealing path out there that neither the Jedi nor Sith offer. Both sides are missing something important from God’s plan for the human experience.
The problem of the Dark Side
Ephesians 4:31—Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
The dark side is more obviously evil. It’s easy to see where characters like Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine, and Kylo Ren go wrong. They’re greedy for power and domination, and they use the Force to get what they want, no matter who stands in their way. The Sith code goes so far as to call peace a lie and encourage dark side followers to seek strength and power through their passions.
Proverbs 29:11 tells us, “A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.” The lie of the dark side is that giving in to your negative emotions is a good way to gain power. The truth is that it’s a good way to lose control and start down a path that leads only to death.
The problem of the Light Side
Romans 12:15—Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
It’s easy to want to be like Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda, or Luke Skywalker, but the Jedi order that the Star Wars movies portray is as broken as the Sith. The Jedi code proclaims that to have peace and serenity, light side followers must deny all emotions and passions. As a result, they are forbidden to have any attachments or love.
The Song of Solomon, a book that celebrates passionate love as designed by God, exclaims, “Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it” (8:6). The lie of the light side is that peace is the absence of emotions, which Jedi believe lead to evil. The truth is that peace is the presence of God, who created our emotions.
The balanced nature of God
God doesn’t have an either-or relationship with emotions and holiness like the Jedi and Sith do. According to the Bible, He holds both at once.
We see that God is a God of emotions:
He feels joy (Zephaniah 3:17): “The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.”
He feels anger (Psalm 18:7): “Then the earth reeled and rocked; the foundations also of the mountains trembled and quaked, because He was angry.”
He feels hate (Psalm 11:5): “The LORD tests the righteous, but His soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.”
He feels love (1 John 4:16): “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”
God is also a God of holiness and justice:
God is not tempted (James 1:13): “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and He Himself tempts no one.”
God is righteous and sinless (Deuteronomy 32:4): “The Rock, His work is perfect, for all His ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is He.”
God is both patient and just (Numbers 14:18): “The LORD is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but He will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, to the third and the fourth generation.”
God doesn’t have to choose between justice and emotion; He is the perfect example of both.
May God be with you
Galatians 5:22-23—“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
God calls us to live lives that are full of love and joy as well as peace and self-control. This contrasts both the light and dark sides of the Force:
Unlike the Sith, we should give up evil passions (1 Peter 1:14-16): “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’”
Unlike the Jedi, we should embrace love (Mark 12:30-31): “‘And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
This is the only way to gain peace and strength to face whatever comes (Philippians 4:4-13). The hope of Star Wars is “May the Force be with you,” but what we get from God’s presence far surpasses the Force’s presence.
Choose your side
The idea of taking up a lightsaber to save or rule the galaxy is an appealing one, but Star Wars presents a false dichotomy. Giving yourself over to the Dark Side means giving yourself over to malice and rage; giving yourself over to the Light Side means rejecting love and joy.
There is another way. Choose God, the real source of both passion and peace, and you can walk a path the Jedi and Sith both miss.
Here at First Free, our goal is to walk that path together. If you don’t have a church family of your own yet, you are more than welcome to join us! If you would like to learn more about God’s nature and living with love, we would be happy to share what we believe.
Romans 8:37—“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
About the author
Elizabeth Buege graduated from the University of Northwestern—St. Paul with a B.A. in English Writing. She works as a freelance book editor, offering writing and editing tips alongside her services at www.elizabethbuege.com. She also teaches weekly writing classes as the secondary writing tutor for the ESCHEL homeschool co-op in Oakdale, MN.
When Elizabeth isn’t working, you can probably find her reading or writing for fun. She also loves gardening, cooking, exploring parks, and hanging out with big dogs and small children. She attends First Free in Maplewood and is thankful to have found such strong fellowship so close to home.