Did You Pray for the Joker?
****WARNING! SPOILER ALERT!!! DO NOT, I REPEAT DO NOT (!!!) READ IF YOU INTEND TO WATCH THE MOVIE!!!****
Joker was a phenomenal movie that shed light on a very crucial matter of the heart of people. I watched as a man slowly unraveled in the midst of literally thousands of people who could’ve reached out to help him, but instead chose to ignore, belittle, and even beat a man already struggling in life. I saw a man constantly reaching out for hope while the people around him mocked him, laughed at him, and rejected him. He was a man that wanted to make other people smile. Yet, when it was their turn to make him smile, he was left with daydreams and false realities instead of a true experience of what he needed. Joker is an extreme, or should I say not so extreme, version of many people around us. Question is: are we one of those people that reaches out, or the people that make it worse, or are we the others who never notice?
Joker’s life was horrid from the beginning. As far as his birth and infancy, I don’t know. However, what I did see was that Joker was a victim of an adoption gone wrong. Adoptions are a thing that should be celebrated and desired, but not even adoption agencies can predict which smiling person before them will eventually have the child they allowed them adopt tied to a radiator. The thing about life is that challenges come and go. A person can be great in one season and putrid in the next.
What broke my heart was knowing that the story of an adopted child being tied to a radiator is not unrealistic. I have read several news stories about children, adopted and biological, being locked in closets, dens, basements, and rooms where the air is clouded with must, pee, feces, and blood. Though Joker is a fictional character, his circumstances, unfortunately, are not. I have read of children being sold into slavery and prostitution, tortured, murdered, abused, drugged, and all sorts of horrible evils. Thank the Lord it’s not a common story, but it happens often enough for us to be required to pay attention to each other.
Joker was a child that, from the very beginning of his life, suffered abandonment. How many children or adults struggle with the pain of being adopted? The Joker didn’t find out until he was a grown man already on edge. Many people struggle knowing they were adopted their whole life. Imagine thinking your mother and father are biological when instead, they are adoptive parents, and only one of them actually adopted you. The other never wanted you nor was a part of the decision. News like this would devastate anyone. Yet, we call Arthur Fleck the Joker because he went on a killing spree and lost his mind.
How many children have brought guns to school to deal with bullies? How many of you carry guns around in case someone threatens your life? Joker was given a gun for protection, just like many people have guns for protection. Yet, the Joker was criminalized for using it. Do you ever wonder if the same will happen to you if you kill someone out of self-defense? Will self-defense even matter after you’ve murdered someone?
My point is to not draw pity for Joker. We are all responsible for the actions we commit. A Joker deserves a Batman. A Joker deserves to be punished to the full extent of the law. A Joker deserves the wrath of God.
My point is to ask, before you judged Joker to be a villain, did you pray for him? Did you reach out to him? Did you try to give him hope? Oftentimes, many “Jokers” are regular people trapped in depression, poverty, and hopelessness that society still kicks around. If God told you how many people missed out on turning to Him sooner because you refused to acknowledge others or spread the Gospel to them, how high of a number do you think He’d say? Personally, I have failed to give many people hope, love, compassion, and acknowledgment. I’ll own that.
I was convicted when Joker walked into Arkham Hospital to see about his mother’s time in the psych ward. He was waiting on his mother’s documents when he started chitchatting with the clerk. He asked, “How do people get in here?” To which the clerk responded with several reasons: some are broken, some are addicted, some sought help, some needed a break, and some are lost.
The last part stuck out to me. “Some are lost.” Oftentimes, we in Christianity refer to the nonbelievers as the “lost”, alluding to the passage that Jesus spoke on concerning the lost sheep. Christ says the Heavens rejoice when a sinner returns to repentance. God rejoices when He returns with His lost sheep. Would we rejoice if the Joker, or some other mass murderer, found Christ and truly repented? Regardless, watching that scene made realize all of the areas of life I have failed to pray over.
When’s the last time you prayed over people in a hospital, or more specifically, a mental hospital? Did you pray for the patients? Did you pray for the caretakers? Did you pray for the security? How about the building, the leaders, the restoration, the prevention, or the purpose? Did you pray for any of those?
We can take it back to the very beginning of the movie. Do you pray for the violent children who think it is fun to steal a clown’s sign and beat him with it? Do you pray for the troublemakers? Do you pray for the sign flippers or other folk who hold jobs in areas you look down on or despise? Do you pray for the clowns? Do you pray for the closing businesses and their workers? Do you pray for the poor?
There are a lot of things you can take away from the Joker movie. So much of it was realistic. What I took away was the fact that I need to continue adding more people to my prayer lists. I need to pray for victims of theft and cruelty. I need to pray for people with laughing conditions or abnormal health and mental conditions period. I need to pray for people who are miserable with their lives. I need to pray for my friends who are not really my friends but my enemies. I need to pray for the brokenhearted and struggling. I need to pray for the dreamers.
Prayer is a powerful resource available to every Christian. You are literally at the throne of the only living God in existence, who has the will and ability to help all who seek Him. We need to be better about seeking Him for the unpopular struggles people go through. There is someone contemplating suicide. There is another contemplating transgenderism. There is another contemplating murder. There is another group contemplating rioting. There are some who struggle with child pornography. There are some who are about to abduct children and women for slavery. Ladies, there are some who are literally going to “get off” to your picture. Some are ready to diagnose themselves with terrible mental issues. There are some who’ve already been told they have mental conditions. Oftentimes, we, including myself, look at these situations and choose to stay away or be grossed out by them. I challenge you to instead, pray for them.
Next time an officer kills a civilian, pray for the officer. Don’t simply look, judge, and pray for the victims only. The oppressors need prayer, the corrupt need prayer, the gangs need prayer, the evil church members need prayer, and other demonized and villainized people need prayer. You may think praying for these people mean nothing, but God wouldn’t tell you to pray for one another if there was no power in it. He would not have shown the many examples of prayer in the Bible if there was no power in it.
Not only is there power in prayer, but there is power in action. Reach out to the “creep” and shower him or her in the love of Christ. Smile for the depressed bystander. Offer your ear to the sad stranger. Doing something for the person you keep seeing but never speak to. Your actions can save someone from suicide or homicide.
Though I ask that we all do better about taking action for others, let us also be cautious. Being kind to the wrong person can create a stalker, or cause a person to use you as a filler to their void that only Christ can fill. Let us be discerning about when and where we decide to help. Some people are not your cross to bear. After all, Gary thought it would be good to check on his friend Arthur (Joker), and ended up witnessing Arthur murder Randall.
I hope this does for you what the movie Joker did for me, and opens up your prayer list to other people you might not have included, or wanted to include, before. There are people we are not meant to get to know, but there is not a single person on this planet we are not meant to pray for. Pray, don’t judge. Help, don’t hurt, snicker, mock, or ignore. We are responsible for the people we overlook. Prayer is not hard. Speak to God on other’s behalf. Intercede!