My wife and I went to see "Dark Knight Rises" last night and I am reminded again that we like our heroes to be filled with imperfections. A man driven by hatred and a need for revenge. They mention "moral superiority" once in the movie but I only saw a broken and depressed man filled with an unquenchable anger, who falls in love with and has sex with every woman who enters his life.
Mind you, the movie was about a hero rising out of the destruction of his depression but nothing was said about his anger being dealt with. Nothing addressed his character. We like our heroes to be dark and full of faults and weaknesses. We always have.
Centuries ago we invented heroes in Greek and Roman literature. We called them gods but they were just like the comic book heroes of today. We had the good gods who cherished mankind and tried to help us and then there were the others who used us as play things. None of these gods were perfect and reflected our own imperfections like jealousy, hatred, and revenge. We were able to identify with them because we created them. No wonder so many of us have difficulty in accepting Jesus.
Those who are imperfect have difficulty believing in perfection. We have difficulty in believing in anything beyond our own understanding. We don't even believe in pure evil. In all the stories told today, the good guy always has a bit of evil in him and the bad guy always has a bit of good in him. It makes for a good story as we are able to identify with both the good guy and the bad. The movies that do depict pure evil are the ones we find the most disturbing, and we should as evil is disturbing. But we have thrown away the idea of ultimate good and evil because we want to believe there is still hope for us.
Yes, there is hope but that hope is found in perfection; in the perfection of God's love, mercy, grace and forgiveness. That perfection is embodied in the perfect man, Jesus Christ. It was only as a perfect man that Jesus could become the perfect sacrifice for our imperfection. It was only when perfection volunteered to cover imperfection that hope for us was born. But in typical human form we chose to see the negative of this revelation of perfection. We chose to hate it because perfection also reveals our imperfection.
When we look at Jesus and then look at ourselves we realize just how imperfect, ugly and distorted we have become compared to what God created us to be. Some of us react to this by accepting God's gift of salvation, entering the path to become again what we were made to be. Others look at the perfection, see themselves revealed in the light and hate the light for the revelation of that truth. Instead they laugh at it, demean it, turn it into a joke, call it a myth, a religion and try to dismiss it from their mind.
Most of us would rather believe in the possibility of a hero like Batman, a man capable of overcoming his personal demons, a man who uses his inner fear and hatred to motivate him to rise up out of despair. We would rather believe in these type of heroes because it means we can hold on to our imperfections and still become something great. We don't want anyone to do anything for us, we want to do it on our own. But this is impossible because the imperfect cannot perfect itself; it cannot do anything for itself; it cannot overcome anything and the darkness of depression continues to overwhelm.
We need Jesus. We need his perfect love. We need his perfect grace, mercy and forgiveness. We need his power to transform us from what we were to what God has made us to be. We cannot hold on to our hatred and revenge because these cannot exist in the new creation that we become through Jesus. We cannot be motivated by the things of this earth and our success only comes in total surrender to the perfection we call Jesus. Our motivation is the perfect love of Jesus because such perfect love drives out fear and covers a multitude of imperfections.
I can be mildly entertained by our present day heroes and I can enjoy the stories of the heroes of literature but there is only one hero I call King, who I admire, trust, love and follow to Hell and back. He is the one who never made a mistake, never sinned, never did anything wrong. He is the one who came into the camp of darkness and revealed my imperfections and then covered me by his perfection. He is the one who gave all he had so I could become everything the Father created me to be. His name is Jesus, the perfect Son of God, my hero and my King. It is because of him that this dark knight rises, overcoming everything that would try to separate from the love of Jesus.