The Ultimate Battle of Good VS. Evil
In the summer of 2020, I started watching ABC’s Once Upon a Time on Netflix. Given that I’ve always loved fairy tales and the simple life lessons gleaned from them, a series based on familiar characters with happy endings seemed like a good way to escape for an hour or two.
However, between the pages of the Once Upon a Time storybook, there would be no simple lessons and no happy endings without severe consequences. My childhood friends, like Snow White and Prince Charming, Belle and the Beast, and Wendy and Peter Pan were almost unrecognizable. I thought, ‘Who are these characters, and who wrecked their stories?’ With each episode the script writers revealed a chilling portrayal of a never-ending war between good and evil.
Cuddled on the couch with a throw, eating popcorn, and sipping cherry Coke Zero, my mind drifted away from the make-believe to real-life spiritual warfare— an ongoing war inside the hearts of true believers, between the Holy Spirit and our fleshly desires. Every day we choose to either fight for the light or give in to the darkness.
At the core of each episode is the heart. Heros and villains alike, fight that their hearts may choose the light. The Dark One is always brewing tension between good and evil, and every battle fought is super intense. His ultimate goal is to snuff out the light and any trace of good flickering within their hearts.
Once Upon a Time was definitely not written with the Gospel of Jesus Christ in mind, but much biblical truth and application are on display if you’re paying attention. For example, Revenge vs. Forgiveness is a major theme in this series, just as it is in real life. If we don’t carry our sword, God’s Word, in our hearts, we’ll never have access to the weapons needed to fight against revenge and win with the power of forgiveness.
See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.1 Thessalonians 5:15, ESV
Do we really care about our brothers and sisters in Christ enough to help them push back against the evil one seeking to destroy them?
A vengeful attitude can slip into our hearts quicker than you can say, “Rumpelstiltskin!” Each of us, like the characters in the story, experience hurt and loss on many levels. Nevertheless, when revenge becomes our driving force, we’ve chosen a dangerous and destructive road. The dark one (Satan) tempts us into thinking revenge will satisfy our hearts, but the truth is, revenge only leads our hearts into deeper despair. Forgiveness is the only path back.
Every soul is worth redeeming.
In this make-believe land, when someone chooses evil over good, the heroes always remind themselves that no one is past the point of redemption and restoration. They even choose to forgive the darkest of souls. Because family matters to these characters, when it comes down to it, they’ll do everything in their power to push the darkness away from those they love. Do we?
Jesus, speaking to His disciples said, “Be on guard. If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and comes back to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him (Luke 17:3-4, CSB).
Do we really care about our brothers and sisters in Christ enough to help them push back against the evil one seeking to destroy them? Are we willing to forgive multiple times if someone genuinely repents, seeking to change? Rebuke, defined by Merriam Webster, is [to] express sharp disapproval or criticism because of their behavior or actions. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart, but if God’s family truly matters, we should love one another enough to help each other resist the devil and his schemes.
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7, CSB).”
Sin does not only affect the one sinning, it affects the entire Body of Christ. Implementing the spiritual discipline of rebuking could help remove the basket hiding God’s light, and the darkness would be much less intrusive.
In Once Upon a Time, the savior’s purpose is to defeat the dark one and ultimately give everyone their happy endings. Though Emma Swan fights with a vengeance, she soon learns her heart is also vulnerable to the darkness.
In contrast, the real Savior of the world, Jesus Christ, battled Satan on our behalf and won. He who knew no sin, sacrificed His life on the altar (the cross) and died for you and me. He didn’t need our help to defeat the power of sin, but we desperately need His. When we receive His gift of salvation, the Holy Spirit penetrates our hearts, filling us with Christ’s power to defeat sin every day by saying, “No,” to our fleshly desires. We won’t always win, but we have the power to do so. It’s a much more satisfying fight when we side with the Light of the world.
…in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:37-39, CSB).
And, when Christ our Savior returns for us, His Bride, we will have so much more than a make-believe, fairy tale happy ending. We’ll embrace His never-ending, glorious, forevermore!
Besides being the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Living Real Magazine, Melanie is an author, speaker, podcast host, and musician. She adores all things Christmas, coffee, and comfy. Her heart belongs to Jesus, but her heartstrings are firmly attached to her husband, Rick, and their two grown children.