Anakin and Luke both spent time with Obi-Wan and Yoda, yet their paths couldn’t have been any more divergent. Anakin became Darth Vader and helped plunge the galaxy into a decades-long darkness. Luke became the last of the Jedi and helped restore freedom to the galaxy.
There is one main difference in their stories: Palpatine.
At a critical point in his development, Anakin had Palpatine whispering death and darkness into his ear. All of the good work done by Obi-Wan, Yoda and Qui-Gan was undone by the evil Palpatine. The sweet innocence of a poorly acted Anakin was erased by the influence of a Dark Lord of the Sith. Anakin was a good guy who was even nice to Jar Jar, but that good guy was overpowered by a negative influence.
Unfortunately, sometimes it only takes one bad apple to ruin the bunch. It only takes one bad influence to undo all good invested in an individual.
The same thing that happened to Anakin also happened to the people of Israel throughout the Old Testament. All the good influence of Moses, Joshua, Ehud, Deborah, Josiah and others often couldn’t overpower the bad influence of Aaron, 10 spies, surrounding nations, Jezebel and others. Instead of listening to all of the good influences who wanted to lead the Israelites to life, they often followed after the bad influences who wanted to lead them to death.
Very often we can see the same struggle in our lives. There are people who want to lead us to life, and if we give ear to their voices we will have the full lives for which we were created. But in the midst of those good voices, there are always those that want to lead us astray. There are voices that tell us to give into temptation, to go back to the life we had, that we’re not good enough for our new lives in Christ. And when we give into those voices we pull an Anakin, exchanging the light for the darkness.
So it’s up to us to maximize the good, life-giving influences in our lives. It’s also up to us to minimize or remove the bad, life-taking influences in our lives. Luke was able to do the former and he saved the galaxy because of it.
We need to choose to be Lukes instead of Anakins – without the sister kissing and whining about going to Tosche Station to pick up some power converters.
Who are the good influences in your life and how to you maximize their impact?