The character X-23, I think, is one of the more tragic characters of the Marvel Comic Book Universe. She wasn’t born, she was engineered. She is a female clone of Wolverine. She was made in a lab in order to best create a weapon in order to kill and assassinate. She is called X-23 because X is for the X-gene found in mutants and 23 because she was the 23rd attempt at the cloning process and the first to be successful. From the time she was a child she was taught to fight, to kill, to hurt, to destroy. And when she is rescued from the place where she was kept, she began to wander, no longer being controlled to kill.
Yet her identity was still that of a killer, an emotionless killer. Yet one who didn’t understand. When she was rescued by her biological mother, she was told that her name was Laura. She had an identity that wasn’t X-23. But she still couldn’t get past who she was engineered to be. And after a while, she kept on killing for others. She was a weapon for the X-Men even, killing those who were trying to kill the X-Men.
Wolverine, the closest thing she might have to a father and father figure, tells her to stop it. To find herself, to find out who Laura is, not who X-23 is. She struggles with emotions. She struggles with just being a kinda teenager. And then she teams up with the All New X-Men (the original 5 X-Men from the past, brought to the present which is their future and are now stuck here). One of the things she learns to do is to hug. To hug and to be accepted not as a weapon, not as a killer, not even as a superhero, but as a person. And she begins to wonder who she is.
I think this is something we all struggle with at times. We struggle with who we are. We struggle with what our past it. We struggle with who we’ve become. Sometimes who we are not isn’t who we wanted to be like. Sometimes where we are at right now isn’t where we thought we’d wind up being. We have pains. We have hurts. We have things we wish we never had done. And these things become our identity. They become the hallmark and definitive marker showing who we think we are.
The thing is that you are more. You are more than just that. Your past does not define you. Your past is not who you are. You are more than that. Yes, what has happened has happened. But it shouldn’t be your identity. It should only be part of your story which makes you who you are today.
I think many times we find our selves in that existential quandary (yeah, I used existential) trying to figure out who we are. We struggle with who we want to be. We have people we aspire to be like, want to be like, yearn to be like. And there are times (and they are many) where these people we want to be like aren’t the greatest role models for, like, anyone.
You are more though. And you need to know that. You are more than the image you have of yourself. You are more than the problems that have arisen out of past mistakes. You are more.
In Jesus, you can have a new identity. Heck, you can have a new birth. You can be a new creation. You no longer need to act and dress like everyone else to fit in and have their identity, you have the opportunity to be clothed in Jesus and belong to Him. When your identity is not in your past but in the presence of Jesus, you now are a child of God, you are part of a galactic family spanning generations before you and generations to come until Jesus returns. It is an identity in a family which is so diverse yet so connected. It is a place to belong.
And that’s what X-23, what Laura, truly wants and needs. She needs to belong. She needs to be seen not as a weapon, not as a fighter, not as a clone, but as a person who is loved because of who she is, because she is Laura and not X-23.
Don’t you want that? Don’t you want to be loved and accepted and have an identity that isn’t what you’ve done but based on something greater.
It’s there. Live that identity in Jesus, and you will see that you are more.