Are you destroying yourself?

This week, I’ve been gripped by another Netflix special; Marvel’s Jessica Jones.

Jessica is a tortured, messed-up, alcoholic private investigator who has a secret – she’s also a superhero. She developed the gift of super strength after surviving a car accident which killed her whole family. She’s now mostly alone in the world, trying to carve out a normal life and help people, all the while attempting to hide from her arch-nemesis, Killgrave.

Killgrave is another super-hero in human form but in contrast, he’s using his superpowers of mind control, for evil purposes.   He walks into homes and with a flash of his twinkly, icy eyes, demands the owners pack up their things and leave. They do.   He tells children to scream psychotic abuse at strangers in the street and they obey.  For amusement, he commands people to jump in front of buses and without flinching, they jump.

Jessica says to him, ‘You’re an evil, sadistic killer, who’s murdered hundreds of people’.

‘Au contraire’, says the purple-suited half-monster, Killgrave, ‘I didn’t hurt a soul…they did it all to themselves’.

Admittedly, Jessica Jones is a pretty dark series. There’s scenes of violence (I’m not a fan of violence, so I skipped those bits) and it’s not for the faint-hearted, but I kept watching as I started to see what the film makers were doing.  

This was an epic battle between good and evil and yet evil, (Killgrave) knew that he didn’t need to lift a finger; he only needed to get people under his control, and with just a few words, they’d unflinchingly do as he commanded.  They’d kill others, abandon their homes, give him money….and when Killgrave was bored with their subservience, he’d tell them to kill themselves, and they did.

I don’t like to focus on evil, but I still believe in a satanic force which is set up to be everything that God isn’t. It’s devoid of anything good; loveless, hate-filled, murderous and divisive.   But in a stroke of genius, this force rarely does its own dirty work; instead evil has an uncanny way of using us to destroy ourselves. 

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  ‭‭John‬ ‭10:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I’ve realised that it’s pretty easy to fall into the cavern of self-destruction.  We build walls around ourselves, get addicted to stuff, fall into toxic relationships, even end up being controlled by our own negative thought life.   Whole churches and communities have been destroyed by racial tensions, war, greed and neglect.   And just like the character of Killgrave, the devil never lifted a finger.  

Even when Jesus was tempted by the devil (mentioned in Matthew), the devil’s best ploy was to tempt Jesus to destroy Himself. Turn these stones to bread…defy God…eat something…worship me and I’ll give you everything you want.

Thankfully (for the sake of humankind!), Jesus told him where to stuff it and a supernatural battle for control was won that day, just like it was on Resurrection Day. 

We’re not built or designed for self destruction.  Everything in our bodies, from the way cells are regenerated, to the way scabs heal and emotional wounds are forgotten, is all about life.  Even when we do self destruct, the damage can be repaired – many illnesses can be reversed by lifestyle changes, relationships and heartaches can be fixed with apologies and repentance. 

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

A culture of life is checking whether the things I’m saying are bringing life or are they bringing death?  Are my actions and thoughts making things grow, or are my actions causing things around me to shrivel up and die?  

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. 

I don’t know how Jessica Jones finishes (haven’t got that far yet), but it shows me one thing for sure; the enemy is here to encourage and promote endless, pointless, shameless self-destruction. But God’s story has a different ending;  even in death, there’s life.