A mysterious man cloaked in a dark cape flies on the wings of heroism to boldly defend and protect the citizens of Gotham…have you guessed it, yet? Yup, the newest Batman movie! In The Dark Knight, Batman (Christian Bale) resolves to bring an end to the crime in the streets of Gotham. Radically he strategically partners with District Attorney Harvey Dent and Lieutenant Jim Gordon in joining forces to foil the ultimate criminal – the Joker…
Yes, the Joker – whose backstory is what is going to make this Batman movie memorable for many movie/celebrity lovers. Beloved actor, Heath Ledger, played the role of the Joker in The Dark Knight. The tragedy? Heath Ledger died of an accidental overdose just weeks before the final filming of the movie.
Did something about the darkness of the character he was playing in this movie contribute to this tragedy? There are a lot of rumors out there. Allegedly Heath Ledger so thoroughly immersed himself in playing the part of the Joker that it overflowed from the film set into real life, to such an extent that he was encouraged to obtain psychiatric help. Those around him, both on the set and in everyday life, noticed the dramatic character change, mood swings, and crazy sleep patterns and urged him not to allow the dark character of the Joker to infiltrate his life. No one knows if the disturbing nature of Heath Ledger’s character, the Joker, contributed to his accidental overdose.
In The Dark Knight, District Attorney Harvey Dent says, “The night is darkest just before dawn. I promise you. The dawn is coming...”
How true is that in this world full of sin and hopelessness? For those who do not have the hope of eternal life and purpose, the dawn is coming. We all eventually die. We all eventually will go one of two places, Heaven or Hell.
Hell. Talk about no hope what-so-ever. The pit of hopelessness. Once a person dies without having trusted and believed in Christ as their Savior, there is absolutely no more hope for them. How terribly tragic. How terribly sad. How terribly…well…terrible. The Bible says it like this:
He, too, will drink of the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name. (Revelation 14:10-11). We all are at risk of becoming hopeless in this world of darkness and sin. Without the Holy Spirit, anyone can become prey to the darkness of this world. Satan is out there alive and kicking, ready to take any of us down in a moment’s notice.
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8).
That would be the real tragedy in a person’s life - in one of our loved ones lives. Can you imagine those we love being in the pit of despair and never – ever – being able to remedy or escape that hopelessness?
The sign over the gateway of Hell in Dante’s Divine Comedy sums it up well, “Abandon all hope those who enter.”
It is vital that we share the Good News with those around us. Without Jesus, what hope do they have – really?
As The Dark Knight hits the big screen, people around you will be in a buzz about the movie, especially because of the added factor of Heath Ledger’s tragic death. Use these discussions and turn the conversations toward God. Share how you deal with the darkness of this world by turning to your loving savior Jesus, and that you do have hope - eternal hope - because He died and rose again for you AND for them.
Here are some ideas on how you can transition from The Dark Knight and/or Heath Ledger into a conversation about spiritual things. Listen as others share their personal life and then look for opportunities to share Christ and the hope He presents to all who choose to trust and believe in Him. Questions below:
• Do you ever feel hopeless?
• Does this world feel overwhelming and sinister at times?
• How do you cover up your hopeless feeling? Drugs, sex, shopping, alcohol, cutting?
• Ask your friends whether they would embrace an eternal cure for hopelessness, if they knew what it was. Then tell them about The Cure – Jesus Christ.
• Share a personal experience with your friends of a time when you turned to Christ to be filled up with His Hope.
The enemy is out there - stand firm and stand guard, AND teach those around you to, as well. We want to do what we can to reduce the amount of tragic deaths around us. We want others to be able to walk from this time here on earth, a mere blink of an eye compared to eternity, and walk straight into our loving Savior’s arms. Now that is ultimate hope.