True Friendship

There is one thing that always bothers me every time we watch Star Wars, having to hear the Emperor call Anakin, “friend”. I have seen those movies many times and not once did I see him do anything that was “friend-like” toward Anakin. He convinced Anakin to mistrust to Jedi, storm the Jedi temple, think he could achieve some great power by following the Dark Side but never anything that showed true friendship. All of the Emperor’s actions were for selfish reasons, not caring what these acts would do to Anakin or the people around him. Yet Anakin was called “friend” by this guy not once, not twice, but three times.

When the Emperor was still Chancellor Palpatine he spent years being “buddy-buddy” with Anakin, earning his trust and getting him to agree with his ideas. The enemy can work in the same way, moving in too close trying to make us think that his ways and his thoughts are the ones we should listen to. The enemy may make you feel like he is on your side-just as Palpatine did with Anakin. Do not be fooled he is not your friend and never will be, just how Palpatine was never Anakin’s friend, he was barely even Darth Vader’s friend.

In Proverbs 22:24-25 it says, “Do not make friends with a hot tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.” Sounds like the situation Anakin found himself in does it, I mean what kind friend would pull someone through the muck that Anakin was pulled through. All of that was for Palpatine, to bring him glory, to bring him power. Once Anakin had outlived his usefulness, Palpatine was going to have his next guy kill him, which he was hoping would be Luke. By listening to the words of his so called friend, Anakin ended up fighting his true friend and probably the best friend he ever had.

Obi-Wan had been patient with him, he cared about Anakin enough to tell him the things that he needed to hear, rather than feeding his foolishness by telling him the things he wanted to hear. Obi-Wan was a true friend that turned into Darth Vader’s enemy. You can see it in Obi Wan’s eyes and hear it in the tone of his voice when he speaks about Anakin in Episode IV, just how much he still misses him. It is important to be mindful who you allow into your circle of friends, because it is true what it says in 1 Corinthians 15:33, “Do not be misled, bad company corrupts good character.”

It can be easy to be enticed by the words of the enemy but we all have the authority given to us by Jesus to but the enemy back in his place. Never be afraid to tell him he no longer has the right (in fact he never had the right) to rule over your heart or keep your true self in the background. Do not be afraid to speak God’s truth over the situation, the enemy doesn’t need an explanation he just needs to know that he is not welcome. After all in the end did Anakin give the Emperor any explanation? So do not associate with those who anger easily for bad company corrupts good character and be mindful of your friends.

Remember, there is one that you can go to any time for anything and He, truly is the best friend you’ll ever have.

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Who is your Darth Vader?

Oh Anakin, think of all the wonderful things he could have accomplished had he not been led astray. Sure he had anger, fear and doubt but don’t we all. In 1 Corinthians 15:33 it says, “Do not be misled, bad company corrupts good character.” Anakin had some bad company, very bad. All of Anakin’s foolish thoughts were encouraged by Palpatine, he even egged him on to get him to be what he needed him to be. What Anakin really needed and had in Obi Wan and also Padame, were people who cared enough about him to tell him the truth, even if it was hard for him to hear. He -could have- benefited more from the things he needed to hear, rather than the things he wanted to hear.

I believe we all have our own Darth Vader, everything in us that is not good, everything that goes against God’s best for our lives. Remember Galatians 5:22-23? Darth Vader isn’t exactly the “poster child” for the fruits of spirit. Anakin’s Darth Vader was after power, blind to the costs. My Darth Vader wanted control, specifically control of my family’s love and attention. Just as Palatine focused on Obi Wan as the main threat, the enemy focused on my mother-in-law. I was led to believe that she was standing in way of receiving my husband’s and daughter’s love and attention. In the same way that Anakin was led to believe that Obi Wan (and the Jedi) were standing in the way of his quest for power (and respect).

Without realizing it I was putting a wall between me and my family just as Anakin was putting a wall between himself and the Jedi. I was blessed to have good company (that I listened to) to help lift the wall, restore my relationship with my mother-in-law and save my relationship with my husband and daughter. In the end Anakin didn’t let his Darth Vader win, Palpatine said it himself that the Jedi are relentless, and thankfully so. I didn’t let my Darth Vader win and you don’t have to let yours win. We are precious sons and daughters of the one true King, take hold of that relentless spirit that will keep your Darth Vader at bay.

Anakin was better than his Darth Vader, I am better than mine and you are better than yours. Slipping down the path of darkness is something that doesn’t take a whole lot of advanced planning, its pretty easy to just start doing it. There nothing awesome about being Darth Vader, I’m reminded of a quote from Friends something Rachel says, “Yesterday I really felt like I hit rock bottom, but today its rock bottom 50 feet of crap and then me.”  That is were Anakin sits when he is Darth Vader, buried under the weight of his choices. He lost everything that was important to him, his position with the Jedi, his friendship with Obi Wan, his wife, and the chance to parent his children. Whatever it seem that could be gained or fixed by listening to the enemy, its not worth it.

Who is your Darth Vader? What could he be after? Be mindful and alert for bad company truly does corrupt good character.