Recently, I was talking with a friend about the idols that tempt us and lead us into sinful behaviour, and I was struck by some parallels with ‘Boggarts’ in the Harry Potter novels. I don’t know whether I have read this somewhere else, or whether it was a genuine idea – so apologies if I am repeating something someone has said before – as a wise man once said there is nothing new under the sun.
Anyway, for anyone unfamiliar with HP, a boggart is a shape-shifting nasty that takes on the form of its intended victim’s worst fear. For our purposes, the key thing to know is that in order to defend oneself against a boggart, you need to use the spell “Riddikulus” and at the same time think of something very funny or ridiculous.
Now, in a sense, we become fearful of our idols – because we feel trapped by their power – we can feel there is nothing we can do to overcome their hold on us. But a very helpful strategy is to carefully examine that idol and to uncover the lie that it is promoting. As soon as we see how ridulous that lie is – the idol begins to lose something of its power over us.
Of course, we need to confront the lie with the corresponding truth of God’s word. And we cannot do any of this in our own strength or wisdom, but only in the Lord’s. But I think there may be a helpful tool in the armoury here.
I should note that these reflections arose out of a discussion of part of Tim Chester’s extremely helpful book You can change.