Lighten Up, Darkness Is No Laughing Matter.

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I decided to take myself out on a date to watch the Joker. I’m a big fan of Batman and although he doesn’t make an appearance, his nemesis is a character with lots of subject matter. The Joker has always given the superhero a run for his money by being a painful thorn in his side. The beauty of the Joker is that no one could make Batman question his moral code like this clown.

Funny, isn’t it?

There are vast and visible differences in each man’s nature however both are birthed from tragedy. In the 1989 Batman movie, Jack Napier (a.k.a. Joker) is a criminal mastermind who falls into bubbling acid which leaves him permanently disfigured and this drives him to new levels of insanity.

In the recent film, the Joker is a man named Arthur Fleck who is afflicted by mental illness and gets beaten down by society at every turn. He is an unstable, part-time clown with ambitions to be a stand-up comedian who lives in New York during the 1980’s.

I won’t get into great detail but Arthur (in clown gear) gets assaulted by three drunk aggressors while on the subway and ends up shooting them all. We later learn that these guys were businessmen who worked for Wayne Enterprises. This sparks demonstrations and protests in Gotham City after Thomas Wayne, the billionaire mayoral candidate, calls those jealous of the wealthy as “clowns”.

This event marks the beginning of the Joker who has now been called to his purpose and that is to avenge the downtrodden, overlooked citizens of Gotham. In a strange way, Arthur has a sense of fairness even when he is killing people. He doesn’t blindly murder because he is a blood thirsty psychopath.

Over the years, there have been adaptations as to how the Joker came to be. Despite his evolution, the only thing which appears to be consistent is the Joker’s involvement in the killing of Batman’s (Bruce Wayne) parents. In the original movie, he directly shoots them and in the current version, we see a person donning a Joker mask who pulls the trigger. In any case, both stories agree that the Joker plays a key role in the demise of Batman’s parents.

Irrespective of Arthur’s destitute condition, he becomes a voice for the voiceless and a hero for the oppressed. He evokes sympathy and empathy from the audience because most can relate to his struggles and strife. It’s for this reason that we are drawn to the Joker. We can’t help but make a place for him in our heart because to deny him would be a denial of ourselves.

It’s movies like this which force us to re-examine everything we know about good and evil. The opposing forces of duality is a conflict which exists in the human heart. It’s a tale as old as time and it’s what inspires our greatest stories, poems, movies, songs, paintings and so on.

Essentially, this battle of good versus evil is  precisely why we have the Bible and the reason Jesus died on the cross for us. In all of history, He is the only one who conquered death. Satan was really upset about this because death is the price we pay for our sin but God has shown that He is far greater.

The stakes are high because it’s your precious soul which the demon wants to possess. God gave us the power of free will and it is through this that we make our choices. Ultimately, all decisions come together to build character which establishes our beliefs and values. There are people who will openly confess their desire to go to hell because they want to continue their sinful life. Meanwhile, we have others who live by moral code and do good things in hopes of getting accepted into heaven.

A person’s spirit is their essence and once that becomes compromised by overwhelming darkness, you’re doomed. The things which we choose to focus on will have a profound effect on how we feel about life. For example, if I’m only driven by money and material gain then there is no room for God. The Bible teaches that you cannot serve two masters and that’s the truth. If we do not make God our central focus then we will be led astray to eventually idolize something which will only destroy us. I have seen this happen time and time again to people all around me.

It’s critical to know exactly on which side of the fence you stand because it really is a matter of life or death. The devil tempts and tricks to drive us further away from God by using earthly riches and pleasures. For many it works because they cannot see beyond this physical life.

Most things from the spirit come from the heart so it can be difficult to connect to an abstract concept. Except that this is no fairy dust, your soul is very much alive and it responds to everything. We know this because it is very challenging when we try to operate with a broken spirit which cannot shine much light. Alternatively, there is almost nothing that we cannot do if we feel spiritually sound and whole.

No joke.