“There’s no light left in Kylo Ren” – Luke Skywalker
Well, I made it to February 1st before putting a quote from Star Wars: The Last Jedi in an article (an exercise in restraint to be sure). Though I’m not the biggest fan of the movie, for reasons I won’t list here, I do believe the movie did a great job relaying the hopelessness of the rebels situation throughout the movie. This quote from Luke Skywalker speaks to that theme of hopelessness, and in many ways, the culture we find ourselves in today.
Without giving too much of the movie away I want to establish the context of the quote before relating it to today. In a discussion between Luke and Rey about why Luke went into exile, it is revealed that Kylo’s turn to the dark side was in large part due to Luke’s belief that he was too far gone to be saved. Rey believes Kylo can still come back to the light and it’s then that Luke affirms his belief that “there’s no light left in Kylo.”
Ironically, it was the belief that there was no good left in Kylo that ultimately pushed him fully into the dark side of the force. It’s this same mentality that pushes people who may be doing wrong into a category of irredeemability in our minds, and ultimately condemns them to Hell without so much as a fighting chance.
I write this article a day after the United States Senate blocked a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks. It can be tempting in moments like these to think about the representatives who voted to block this bill as nothing but evil. It can be tempting to look at those who voted those representatives in as nothing but evil. It can be tempting to look at the fact that a country as advanced as ours even entertaining the idea of ending a life reflects our evil heart, but I implore you to reconsider.
There’s no doubt in my mind that the early church saw Saul as pure evil. After all, it was Saul that dragged many of their friends and family from their homes in order to be imprisoned (Acts 8:3) and it was Saul that stood approvingly over the execution of Stephen (Acts 8:1). On the flip side, Saul saw his actions as not just good, but God-approved. Even though the Ten Commandments, the foundation of the Jewish system of law, condemned murder, murder was acceptable when it was carried out on these blaspheming Christians. I have no doubt that many, if not all, of the Christians of Saul’s day would have heartily agreed “there is no light left in Saul of Tarsus.”
God knew better.
God knew that there was light in Saul. God knew that Saul could become a tremendous force for good if only someone would show him the way. That’s true of many in our culture today, but we’ll never know it because we refuse to believe it and we don’t give them a chance to show it.
Are there evil people in the world? Absolutely, but not all those who do evil things are evil people and not all those who do evil things are so far gone that they can’t be redeemed. We seem to have forgotten that our God is bigger than the evil that exists in the world. We’ve forgotten that the message of Jesus is one that offers rescue from even the darkest depths of man’s imagination.
When it seems that people can’t get any worse, we lean on hope. When every corner of our world is darkness and depravity, we lean on hope. When the world seems all but lost, we lean on hope, specifically the hope that Jesus can overcome it all and change the hearts and minds of those around us for His good. This is how we win, not by lectures or anger, but by believing that the gospel still has the power to bend hearts toward the mind of Christ.
In a world full of evil, hope may be all we have and it is enough.