Friday, March 27, 2009

Harry Potter and a Way to Resist the Devil

Sometimes I feel as though this life of mine just isn’t worth living. I feel sad, lonely, hopeless, angry, bitter, confused, and practically every other negative emotion a person could ever feel. I feel these ways more often than not, and I struggle terribly at times to stop these feelings. But every once in a while something comes along that makes me forget about everything bad in the world. It lifts my spirit, reminds me of something good that sometime happened, or gives me hope for something better.

I love watching the Harry Potter movies. I’ve never known a series that advocated love, friendship, and hope more than it. There’s a scene from the latest movie, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, toward the end, which moved me so much when I saw it the other day. I’d seen this movie a couple of times before, but I hadn’t really stopped to pay attention to this particular scene as closely as I should have. In it, Harry’s nemesis, Voldemort, takes control of his mind and body, incapacitating Harry, filling his mind with all sorts of horrible thoughts—the death of his parents and loved ones, times of loneliness, insecurities. Harry lies on the ground fighting to resist these feelings. Seeing him struggle, his teacher and mentor, Dumbledore, leans down beside him and says to him, “Harry, it isn’t how you are alike. It’s how you are not.” Harry then sees his two closest friends, Ron and Hermione, standing in the distance. He’s suddenly able to fill his mind with thoughts of their friendship, and of all the good times they have had together. And he thinks about the people he has known and loved. With these thoughts, he is eventually able to break free of Voldemort’s hold on him just enough to respond to him. “You’re the one who’s weak,” Harry says to him. “And you’ll never know love, or friendship. And I feel sorry for you.” At this, Voldemort tries harder to attack him, but Harry is able to fight him off. Voldemort leaves Harry’s body and then just stands over him and says, “You’re a fool Harry Potter. And you will lose everything.” A few minutes later, as everything has settled down and the movie is about to end, Harry tells his friends that they all have something Voldemort doesn’t have. “What’s that?” asks Ron. “Something worth fighting for,” Harry replies.

Can anyone else see the connection here between what happened in this movie and real life? I didn’t see it the first couple of times I watched this movie, but the way Voldemort attacks Harry is exactly how the devil attacks each of us. The devil fills our minds, runs us down, makes us to dwell upon all the bad in our lives and in the world, and in the hope that in doing so it will eventually destroy us.

I tend to think that God sends me those little moments of goodness to help me resist. Like Harry, sometimes I need someone to tell me I’m not bad. Sometimes I need something to remind me of better times. Sometimes I need to know my friends are still my friends. I am loved. I have known friendship. I have friends. I may sometimes be very much like the devil, but in so many ways, I know I am so very different from him. Dumbledore’s advice to Harry is good advice to accept. It’s not how we are alike, but how we are not alike that should make all the difference. I have known and experienced so many wonderful things the enemy never has and never will. These are things he can’t understand, but damns others because they do. Rather than hating and tearing down others and myself, and giving up, as he’d like me to do, and as he does, I have something better to hope for. I have something so much more worth fighting for. Why would I ever want to give that up?

I wrote in one of my comments to another post recently that if people would just look more for the good in themselves and the good in others, this world would be a far better place to live in. I believe in that with all of my heart. It’s that good that separates us from the devil. I believe there is good in everyone, and that no one is beyond saving. I believe that’s a big part of what the Christian message should be to the world. We can either join up with the one who has only ever had our destruction and misery in mind, or we can join the one who has brought about all the good we have ever known and could ever hope to know. Which one is more worth fighting for?

Like Harry Potter, I think I’d rather fight for what’s good in the world. And like him, I too feel sorry for the enemy. He will never know love. He will never know friendship. He will never know anything but hate and destruction. And I will never understand why he fights for that so much. Maybe it’s simply because he has already lost everything, and he wants all of us to lose as well. Whatever the reason, I’m not like him. And I’m not as he suggests I am. Despite whatever flaws I may have, I am so much better than that. And the next time he tries to take over my mind and my body, I think that’s just what I’ll tell him.


Tit for Tat said...


I was reading something that you might find verrrrrrry interesting. Here you go.

David C Brown said...

Greater is He that is in you than He that is in the world - the Holy Spirit is here to help in this kind of need.

P said...

Great thoughts, Brandon. You just made my day a little better. Thanks.

Brandon said...

I somehow forgot to comment back on this thread. Sorry guys.

T for T, I looked up the site. I think I may have actually already commented back to you about this elsewhere. Interesting, yes. But flawed in a few regards.

David, you're right. The Holy Spirit can certainly help.

P, I'm glad.