Just because someone stumbles, loses their way, doesn’t mean they’re lost forever. – Charles
The latest X-Men installment essentially hinges on Mystique.
The end of the world is at hand, brought about by monsters created from her DNA. So the X-Men send Logan back in time to undo the chain of events and change the course of history. As he does so, time and again Mystique (aka Raven) is holding the future in her hands, trying to decide who she is going to be, which voice she will follow.
Raven was childhood friends with Charles, and influenced by his peace-loving nature. As she matured, however, she sided with Charles’ friend Erik who differed greatly in his ideology. Erik had a much darker, more violent approach to solving the problems mutant’s faced. Both wanted the protection of their people, but Charles sought that protection through working with mankind, alongside them in peace. Erik, however, in his more supremist and suspicious mindset didn’t trust mankind and sought to protect his kind by eliminating the threat mankind posed. Raven was torn between the two. Erik even asks her at one point, “Are you still Charles’ Raven or are you Mystique?”
Throughout the movie, the fate of the mutants rests on Mystique’s DNA, her choices, her actions… and she has to choose who she will follow, Charles or Erik. The fate of the mutants is in her hands.
I was particularly struck by this in two ways. I was struck by the power that this one female had to influence the world. I was also struck by the choice that she had to make—the choice about who she would follow, because it’s the same choice that faces us every day.
There’s a battle going on in the world today over the souls of man and there are two voices, urging us to follow in their very different paths. These two voices had at one point been friends, just like Erik and Charles had. They had a disagreement, however, and parted ways (far less amicably than Erik and Charles). Those two have been at war ever since. The Lord is the voice of peace and love, and Satan is the voice of hate and destruction. Both call out to us and try to get us to follow in their ways. Both tell us that they have the solution to the problems that we face, but their methods are diametrically opposed and we have to choose.
You can see, our choice is laid out very clearly in Deuteronomy 30:15-20:
See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.
17 But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.
19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life.
You can see, the choice isn’t just about who you and I will follow, but it has serious ramifications for future generations. Ours is the story of Mystique. We have great power – so great the enemy is out to take it from us and use it against us (just as they did with Mystique’s DNA). Our choices will directly affect the future, either for better or for worse, so we must choose wisely.
Charles cautioned Raven that if she followed Erik’s advice, she would make mutants the enemy of man and start a war. He urged her to respond with grace, peace and love, in a way that would diffuse the hate, that would keep man from seeing mutants as an enemy.
The same voices call to us. Will we respond with anger, hate, defensiveness? Will we make enemies and create war with our responses as Satan would urge us to do? Or will we listen to the voice of Love and respond with grace, patience, kindness, gentleness? Will we create peace and make friends? Will we follow a path of self-destruction or one of holiness? The choice is ours: life or death—for ourselves and for future generations.
The war wasn’t about Raven, it was about the future of mutants and mankind alike. It wasn’t about Raven, and yet, in so many ways it rested on her shoulders. It wasn’t about her, but her choices determined the outcome. It’s the same with us. It’s not about us. It’s about the glory of God…and yet, in many ways, the glory of God is resting on our shoulders, because God has allowed it to. It’s not about us, but it is about the blessing of God that will either rest upon us and on future generations or not, based on the choices we make.
It’s a weighty thing, who you choose to listen to. Life and death, blessings and curses—the choice is up to you, for yourself and future generations. Charles pled with Raven to choose wisely and so God pleads with us. The choice is yours, but much rests upon it.
“Choose ye this day whom ye will serve…
but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Questions for Discussion:
- Have you ever felt pulled between two different ideologies/voices/teachers as Mystique was? What did you do? How did you choose?
- Do you ever feel as if your choices have a huge bearing on your future? How do you handle that pressure? How do you know what to choose?
- Why was Erik’s voice so tempting for Mystique?
- Are you ever aware of a battle between the voice of God and the voice of Satan (between good/bad) in your life?
- Why is the voice of evil (Satan) tempting at times? When / How does Satan tempt you?
- Deuteronomy 30 (above) says that you will be blessed if you follow the commands of God. Do you believe that? Why might that be true?
- Do you believe that your decisions today will affect future generations? Why or why not?
*Also printed at www.shepherdproject.com.*