Monday, October 10, 2016

Green with Evil

I just watched the teaser trailer for the new Power Rangers movie and I can barely contain my excitement. I was twelve years old when the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers television series first aired and immediately became a life-long fan. I loved all of the original cast: Jason—the Red Ranger, Kimberly—the Pink Ranger, Billy—the Blue Ranger, Zack—the Black Ranger, and Trini—the Yellow Ranger. My favorite character, however, didn’t join the cast until part way through the first season. In a five-episode story arc title Green with Evil, fans were introduced to Tommy Oliver—the Green Ranger.

At first, Tommy isn’t a Power Ranger. In fact, he’s neither a hero nor a villain. He’s simply an ordinary teenager attending Angel Grove High School. However, thanks to his remarkable martial arts skills, Tommy catches the eye of the evil empress Rita Repulsa, the Power Rangers’ arch villainess. Rita kidnaps Tommy, puts him under her spell, and transforms him into the Evil Green Ranger dedicated to the destruction of the Power Rangers.

After infiltrating and ransacking the team’s Command Center, the Green Ranger bests the other Rangers in battle, sending them in retreat back to their damaged headquarters. Once the Power Rangers discover the Green Ranger’s secret identity, however, they reach out to Tommy as a friend and fellow student, helping him to overcome Rita’s evil influence. Finally coming to his senses, Tommy penitently wonders aloud, “What have I done?”

“What you did, you did under Rita’s influence,” Jason responds. “You own the power now. Fight by our side and we can defeat Rita.”

“After everything that’s happened?” Tommy doubts.

“Tommy we need you. It’s where you belong,” Jason assures his fellow Ranger. Then, extending a friendly hand, Jason invites, “Will you join us, Tommy?” With a nod and a handshake Tommy’s life changed course. Together, the Power Rangers foiled Rita Repulsa’s evil plans and saved the citizens of Angel Grove.

I can’t help but notice some spiritual parallels in Tommy’s tale.

Just as Rita’s evil influence clouded Tommy’s mind and corrupted his morals, sin has a similar effect on us. The Bible describes sin’s influence, saying, “Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity” (Ephesians 4:18-19 NLT). Sin closes our minds and corrupts our morals. It leads us down a destructive path away from God’s goodness and grace. We all wrestle with sin and sometimes surrender to its seductive influence. Thankfully, however, we are not alone in our battle.

Just as the Power Rangers reached out to Tommy, confronting him and helping him to overcome Rita’s grasp, close Christian friends can do the same for us. The Bible says, “My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” (James 5:20 NIV). It’s our responsibility as brothers and sisters in Christ to watch out for each other, to keep one another accountable, and help each other conquer the sins that so easily beset us. Through the encouragement and help of close Christian friends, we can foil Satan’s evil schemes and experience true victory in Jesus!

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