“Into exile I must go. Failed I have.” – Yoda
That’s perhaps one of the most disappointing lines I’ve ever heard spoken in a movie. It comes from Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. If you watched the old Star Wars you know that Anakin Skywalker was the apprentice of the Jedi Knight Obi-wan Kenobi but then turned to the dark side of the force and became Darth Vader. The final installment in this series is actually when we see how Darth Vader and Lord Sidious defeat Master Yoda and Obi-wan. It was a fantastic movie – until the very end.
As the fight between good and evil reaches its climax, evil wins, but not because evil overpowers good. No, evil wins because good fails to get up and fight, instead choosing to run. That’s where Yoda’s statement comes in – he has been fighting Lord Sidious and falls down. Quite honestly, instead of getting back up and fighting to the death he runs like a coward down a turbo-shaft and escapes. Obi-wan does the same thing – once Darth Vader has been defeated in the fight, instead of delivering a death blow to his opponent to destroy this evil one, Obi-wan walks away to leave Vader to die; unfortunately for him (and everyone else in the universe), Vader is found in time to be saved. It will be many more years until another Jedi Knight appears on the scene to right the wrongs committed by these two.
From a theatrical standpoint I found this terribly disappointing. From a theological and philosophical one, though, I find it devastating. I happened to turn on the TV tonight and I watched this scene from the movie (because it was on). It saddens me – it really does. The entire scene reminded me of the quote that reads, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
The philosophy found in the movie is absolutely anti-Christian (perhaps I should say Anti-Christ), yet I find that we often fall victim to it. How many times do we neglect to stand up for those that need defense? How often do we silently approve of conversations or jokes we hear (simply because we don’t verbally disapprove of them) at work? How often do we fail to call ourselves Christians because of who may hear us and what they might think?
And this all goes back to original sin. When we look at the Genesis narrative we all know that the first “sin” was when Eve took and ate of the fruit. Yet if we read the text carefully we see that Adam was “with her” (see Gen 3:6). I strongly believe that the great sin committed by Adam was his failure to stand up for what was right and protect Eve. No, he wasn’t the one who “took the fruit and ate it” at first, but he also didn’t stop the woman from doing it. And that is the sin he committed. There were two sins – one of commission (what Eve did), but also one of omission (what Adam failed to do). And, like Yoda, when Adam fell down he ran and hid.
But Christ calls us for so much more. Jesus told Peter that the gates of Hell would not prevail against His church; by describing the gates of Hell in a defensive posture, Christ implies the church would be on the offense. Yet too often we fail to fight for what is noble and true and right; often because it is “too hard.”
John Wesley said, “Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.” His advice challenges all of us to rise from our slumber and do good, not run because evil looks too big.
If you need a scriptural command to not stand still when evil is afoot, read Obadiah 1:11, where those who stood idly by were considered as bad as those who committed the acts of war (see also James 4:17 and Revelation 3:15-16, or even the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25 and Luke 19).
Let us never fall prey to the words of Yoda, for if we do we may never hear, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” by our Master Jesus. Find someone this week for whom you can do good.