Recently the Harry Potter series came to a dramatic conclusion with the final confrontation between Harry and his super evil antagonist Voldemort coming to a head. In light of this I recently read an interesting article in Psychology Today about “the Voldemort in all of us.”
The basic premise was that we (humans) have a tendency to vilify others who commit heinous crimes, but fail often to recognize or come to terms with the evil that is resident in all of us, seemingly waiting for an opportunity to rear its ugly head. Case in point, the Stanford prison guard experiment conducted 40 years ago that had students role play as prisoners or guards, and waited to see how their identities would be affected by their randomly assigned roles.
It got ugly.
The experiment had to be terminated for ethical reasons; essentially the guards were becoming abusive. Many of the guards seemed surprised at their ability and even tendency to treat people with such disregard for their welfare.
So what does that tell us?
Well according to the prophet Jeremiah writing some 3,000 years prior to the Stanford experiment, the “heart is desperately wicked, who can understand it?” (Jer 17:9)
Knowing this, what can we do? What if Voldemort is lurking inside all of us?
Clearly we need not merely an awareness of this potential for evil, but a way to overcome it. For that I refer you to Romans 7:24: “Who will save me from this body of death? Thanks be to God in Christ Jesus our Lord!”
Even if you’re not a Christian, you have to admit: that sounds a lot more promising than “Expelliarmus!”