Jude 1:1-25/ Tarkin bu James Luceno
Translation from https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jude
Five standard years have passed since Darth Sidious proclaimed himself galactic Emperor. The brutal Clone Wars are a memory, and the Emperor's apprentice, Darth Vader, has succeeded in hunting down most of the Jedi who survived Order 66. On Coruscant a servile Senate applauds the Emperor's every decree, and the populations of the Core Worlds bask in a sense of renewed prosperity.
In the Outer Rim, meanwhile, the myriad species of former Separatist worlds find themselves no better off than they were before the civil war. Stripped of weaponry and resources, they have been left to fend for themselves in an Empire that has largely turned its back on them.
Where resentment has boiled over into acts of sedition, the Empire has been quick to mete out punishment. But as confident as he is in his own and Vader's dark side powers, the Emperor understands that only a supreme military, overseen by a commander with the will to be as merciless as he is, can secure an Empire that will endure for a thousand generations...
Beware the traitors in our midst! In a time where not everyone shares the same awe for God, none can be trusted as being believers in Him.
Remaining ever vigilant, all who might listen and understand set to save all those who have been led astray and lack the clarity with which to understand God's true glory.
Yet, while in fear believers are expected to remain over the interlopers in their midst, their resolution is unwavering. Unwilling to live in a world succumbed totally to that fear, strangers are still trusted and revered as they always have been meant to...
Trust is somewhat of a hard thing to come by these days. The proliferation of fake news and the wanton fear of “others” demonizing or demoralizing nearly everyone has fermented a drastic drop in the willingness or ability of people to have trust in others. It is fairly evident where a lack of trust comes from, but where do we go to learn how to trust again?
In the first portion Epistle of Jude, there is a stark warning about a flood of non-believers in God saturating society. The text goes to great lengths to describe these interlopers and fortify the reasons believers themselves should continue to believe as they do. All along, it was easy to assume the text would conclude by asking its reader to be wary of these infidels, attempt to save them from themselves when discovered, but fear them and be cautious towards them. And that assumption was correct. But as with all good texts, it is far more complex than just that in its expectations for its readers.
Back in one of my earlier writings on “control,” I had made an illusion to some character developments and relationships that were most clearly established in this novel. In this book, Grand Moff Tarkin and Darth Vader were made to partner together to investigate an apparent hacking into the HoloNet that had been wreaking havoc on their Death Star construction operations. An operation that was entirely unknown to anybody outside of a tightly kept circle. With such a closely guarded secret being subjected to sabotage, only a high ranking traitor to the Empire, it was surmised by the investigatively adept oversector governor, might possibly be the one responsible. It was merely a manner of discerning who and amassing the necessary evidence against them. Just like the infidels of the Epistle of Jude, the infidel was to be sought out and vanquished.
Yet, what kind of life would we be enduring if at every turn we had nothing but fear for whether our neighbors were believers in God, or traitors, or generally just untrustworthy? We would be in constant paranoia that every action somebody takes was a subtle clue regarding how much they can be trusted. It feels though we dangle too close to that reality too often. Fortunately, these texts provide an excellent basis combined for how to best go about trusting others in this way.
The full verse where the reader is instructed to confront the non-believers they encounter reads “22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.” As I first read this line, the “mixed with fear” portion is what stood out to me most. The speaker is compelling the reader to be gracious but also to be cautious towards strangers. Treat them with the reverence a stranger is meant to be treated with, but do not place your faith in them fully.
Tarkin, Vader, and the Emperor had perfectly excusable reasons for lacking in trust for most other people, and not just in the midst of this one particular investigation. These men worked in an absolutely toxic environment of the Emperor’s creation that was designed specifically to keep anybody from trusting anybody else so that they remained servile only to the Emperor himself. The more that his subordinates were questioning one another and lacking in faith in anybody’s sanctity besides Palpatine’s then Palpatine could trust that nobody beneath him would be capable of organizing against him. He maliciously used a lack of trust as a tool in his favor.
With regards to this particular investigation, the same lack of trust existed as always and perhaps was exaggerated by the given circumstances. That lack of trust, however, manifested itself in a tactful and respectable way. Tarkin did not wear his lack of trust on his shoulder. He did not allow his lack of trust to persuade the way he would interact with anybody he was untrusting of. And in his lack of trust, Tarkin graciously engaged with everyone he saw fit and did so only when he knew with certainty that if that other person were to betray him that he would be prepared to respond. Whether he expected to have to with every interaction is impossible to tell, though anybody with the intellect and high capacity for controlling their emotions such as Tarkin would most definitely have been able to take the appropriate counter-measure or have the proper reaction and not a moment sooner than the lack of trust was given credence.
Not only are the readers of Jude beckoned to fear the non-believers and not to trust that any given neighbor of theirs may be one of them, but they are also implored to treat them with mercy and respect. The Bible here is simultaneously asking to both suspect anybody may be the infidel among them, and to treat everybody with the same respect until they reveal themselves to be one of those wrong-doers .hen and only then are the readers told to take action against them. There are no preemptive strikes or automatic screenings being asked for. Merely an acceptance of the possibility that anybody from the total stranger to the closest relation might not be who you had believed them to be.
It is the respect and reverence that are nearly always forgotten. Neither I nor either of these texts are in the business of telling people how to feel. I find no productivity in expecting everybody to be openly trusting of everyone or every member of a specific group. Of course, I would love to live in that fantastical reality, and would strive towards it, but would not set it as my primary objective to achieve. Rather, I hope instead that as the world around us is filled more and more with hatred and legitimate as well as unjustified reasons to not to trust our neighbors that we can put aside the fear that we are entitled to and not wear it on our shoulders. Treat everyone as though we trust them even if we do not, with the utmost compassion, until there is perfectly verifiable reason not to. I firmly believe it is more important to focus our energy on being loving to everybody while toning our abilities to weed out those who would do us harm than it is to treat everybody as “others” in order to maybe get lucky and prevent an atrocity. And until I have reason to be proven otherwise, I will continue to place my trust in my being correct over which way to live life: with cautious love or with hopeless fear.