The world is full of Monsters and Heroes. The older you get, the more you see them. We see them on the news and in every day life. We see the monsters and the heroes who try to stop the monsters. We see the strong and the brave face up against the scary and the unthinkable. And we try to train our children in telling the difference between the two. We try to give them a black and white picture of the world, a world filled with Heroes and Monsters.
But the line between hero and monster is blurred now a days. It isn’t black and white. It isn’t as clear as we’d think it should be or that it ever was. There has never been a black and white, hero vs monster world. It’s always been filled with Heroes that look like monsters and monsters in the disguise as heroes. We have heroes who are flawed and broken and monsters that are flawed yet in some ways redeemable.
Scott from The Christian Nerd writes it best in a recent post when he says that humanity is filled with a world where we normal people try to cope with a world filled with heroes and monsters. How do we cope with that? How do we handle it? How do we draw the distinction between flawed heroes and redeemable monsters?
In the Gospels, there is a strong separation of Hero and Monster. Jesus learns of the beheading of his cousin John the Baptist by King Herod. Jesus had ever right to seek vengeance against King Herod. He could have preached against King Herod, he could have called down a legion of angels to come and destroy Herod. But instead he goes out to pray. Why does he go out to pray? We’re not told. We just know that he goes to a solitary place to pray.
There is another example of heroes and monsters in the book of Acts 19. Paul and his companions are in the city of Ephesus and are besieged by a huge crowd of people after a number of Ephesians come to believe in Jesus (even sorcerers burn sacred scrolls in response to knowing the name of Jesus). And Paul and his companions are shoved and at the same time rushed into a theater (those things were huge outdoor amphitheaters at the time) soon they are released by the city clerk. Paul could have preached against them. He could have done many things but instead he loved them. He showed compassion to them. There’s a whole letter written to the church in Ephesus despite what happened there.
Where are the heroes and the monsters in this world today? How do we handle these heroes and these monsters? We have bullies in school. We have cyber bullying going on all over the place. We have Teachers who help students know how to handle bullies. We have people who intend harm on people and we have police officers who do their best to stand on the thing blue line between law, order and chaos.
We have many heroes out there. Single mom’s working two jobs to provide for her children and yet still having time to help with homework. We have fathers who put aside work to be present with his children. We have Godly men and woman taking time to mentor younger children and high schoolers in what it means to be a human being. And in a Christian environment, what it means to be a Christ follower.
We are normal people in a world filled with heroes and monsters. Yet we can live as heroes. We can live as these heroes and stand our ground against monsters. We can live as flawed heroes and be able to live with redeemable monsters.
Jesus tells his followers
“I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:43, 48
“Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek turn to him the other also…If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” Matthew 5:39, 41-42
How do we deal with monsters as heroes? Be willing to show them the love of Christ. Be willing to not fight against them with fists of fury but with hands wide opened in love.
As a follower of Jesus, we have something greater we look at. We look at the world from the bigger picture. Each monster is redeemable. Each monster is able to have the love of Jesus in their lives. Each monster has a chance to know Jesus. As normal Christ following heroes, we have the opportunity to show the love of Jesus in ways unthinkable because we see the bigger picture.
The world is filled with heroes and monsters–flawed heroes and redeemable monsters. Even normal people can live as a hero (though flawed all the same) and show the love of Christ to help redeem the monsters of this world. How can you live as a normal hero (though flawed) and help redeem the monsters?