At an extremely crucial moment, a man sitting behind a computer presses a series of buttons and unleashes a torrent of destruction. It is devastation unleashed. A precise, powerful strike rains down vicious annihilation.
This is ugly.
Surely this must have taken place a long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…
Death From Above
The Death Star (and it’s successors) looms as the haunting specter in the Star Wars universe. The Empire constructs the ultimate weapon of mass destruction and it doesn’t just strike fear in the hearts of the people…no, the Death Star brings a sense of coming extinction to all who oppose. This thing will END them.
In Rogue One, we get an intriguing narrative on how the Death Star comes to be. Additionally, we see it’s very first usage on Jedha city that you can watch in the clip below.
Gareth Edwards directs the scene brilliantly, allowing you to take in the scope of devastation on a grand scale. The explosion itself reaching up to the Death Star, like a hand grasping for help that won’t come. It is easy to get lost in the immensity of the destruction you are seeing.
The most poignant moment comes from Director Krennic, who has been in charge of the Death Star. As he observes the widespread desolation, he utters the phrase, “oh, it’s beautiful.”
In that one line, you can see the disturbing detachment of this technology.
Krennic has just fired a blistering death-ray on an entire city of people (and assorted alien races). He has just slaughtered a staggering amount of lives. And yet, behind the safety of his screen, the emotional distance is too far for him to even grasp the brutality of his actions.
Instead of contemplating the immense carnage, he is consumed with how perfect, indeed “how beautiful,” his weapon has worked.
There, in Krennic’s weapons and response, is a timely principle that every single one of us would do well to learn.
Your Own Death Star
At an extremely crucial moment, a person sitting behind a computer presses a series of buttons and unleashes a torrent of destruction. It is devastation unleashed. A precise, powerful strike rains down vicious annihilation.
This is ugly.
But this wasn’t a long time ago. It didn’t happen in a galaxy far, far away.
It could be a close as the nearest social media page or the comments section on just about any picture or post on the internet.
You and me…we have our own version of the Death Star. While we don’t eliminate an entire city of people, we are capable of damaging plenty of them. The overly-sarcastic reply in a thread. The withering insult on a pic. The perfectly crafted language-missile to destroy someone else’s post.
It is in the very words we are capable of typing and posting. We can inflict incredible damage on others when we fire away in cruelty or even just without giving serious thought to how it will be received.
Could it be that we are detached? Is their some Krennic in us?
Impersonal Personal Conflict
There’s a growing body of research that suggests there is some Krennic in us when we communicate online. Some researchers call it the “disinhibition effect” and it refers to how we can communicate very differently online than in face-to-face interactions.
In essence, we can sometimes feel free, or “disinhibited,” to let the uglier stuff out of us: harsher criticisms, uglier language, quicker to insult, more vitriol pouring out. Safe behind our screens, we launch our own strikes.
And because we don’t have to see the person we are attacking, we can have that same emotional detachment. That same distance. We end up more impressed by the wittiness of our comeback (“oh that’s beautiful”) and less aware of how it will land on the other person.
Brothers and sisters, if we are to honor Christ and become more like Him…our Death Stars must die.
Rogue One’s narrative also includes the wonderful “new hope” that will help the Rebellion face down the Death Star. The truth is, there is a hidden weakness on the inside of the Death Star.
Attacking the outside will not do. It must be destroyed from within.
Simply put, it is the same for us. We cannot settle for aiming at some behavior modifications. There must be change from WITHIN. The love that we receive from Christ must flow back out to others. The change will happen when we allow His Gospel and His Word to renew our thoughts, shape our sentences, and influence our posts.
Do we have to have the best or most sarcastic reply or can we “let no unwholesome talk proceed from your keyboard, but only such as good for edification according the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear,”? (Ephesians 4:29)
Should we be people who insult or crack on others like the rest of the world does on social media or can we “let our comment-section always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person,”? (Colossians 4:6)
Must we craft that perfect comeback or can we “bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse,”? (Romans 12:14)
We can and should respond in kindness, graciousness, and love because this is what Christ has spoken over us. Though we were enemies of God, though we “rebelled” against Him, Jesus Christ says we can be forgiven, accepted, adopted, loved. Forever. He CALLS us friend. He SAYS we are His family. Those are words that defeat our weapons.
Changing online communication and interaction is not easy. I can testify to that!! But the more I focus on Christ and the more I let His grace melt me, the better I become.
Proverbs 9:9 says “Give instruction to a wise man and he will still be wiser, teach a righteous man and he will increase his learning.” This post is as much (if not more) to me than it is to you. I want to receive instruction and grow in wisdom here. I pray you do as well and that this may be a help to you as you consider all your online interactions.
Thanks for reading. Your comments and insights are always welcomed. If you enjoyed this, please share it. Want more content? Check the archives or listen to me on the Cross-Cutting Culture Podcast on iTunes.
***Additionally, don’t miss our episode all about Rogue One on the podcast or any of the other Star Wars episodes we have.