“Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind:
‘Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.’
And he went away crying bitterly.”
Matthew 26:75 NLT
Some people are fans of a good “under dogs” story. If that’s you, you root for the little guy! Hearing about people that overcome insurmountable obstacles with little to no resources is inspiring to you. You might even prefer to shop local [versus the big box stores] because of your heart for leveling the playing field.
Others are a fan of the more traditional hero figure; the Bruce Wayne billionaire type who decided to do something for others with all he’d been given. If that’s you, maybe you look for ways to give and contribute in the world around you, in order to be your own type of Batman. You can easily identify those in the public eye who are also giving back and rallying support.
Regardless of what kind of hero you gravitate towards, I can pretty much guarantee we all agree on this one thing: EVERYONE loves a villain.
Here’s how I know that: If I can identify who the villain is, that means it’s not me.
AND THAT MEANS that, even on my worst day, at least I’m not the villain.
I think it when I look at the story of Adam & Eve eating the fruit in the Garden of Eden. Well, at least I didn’t screw THAT up. I’ve even heard it in the tone my kids use when they talk about Judas from the Bible – HE’s the one who betrayed Jesus! Peter even expressed it when he told Jesus – along with all the other disciples – “No! Not even if I have to die with you! I will never deny you!” (Matthew 26:35 NLT)
But just 40 verses later, Peter realizes he’s got a little villain in him, too.
69 Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she said. 70 But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said. 71 Then he went out to the gateway, where another servant girl saw him and said to the people there, “This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.” 72 He denied it again, with an oath: “I don’t know the man!” 73 After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.” 74 Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!” Immediately a rooster crowed.
75 Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly. (Matthew 26:69-75 NIV)
And unfortunately, I’ve got a little villain in me, too. Even on my best day. And I probably would’ve done the same types of things as Eve, Adam, Judas and Peter if I were in their shoes. I wish it weren’t true but the reality is that I’ve made mistakes, betrayed loved ones, disobeyed rules and more. These actions today are no different from what the people in the Bible did in their time.
But there IS one critical difference today that makes LOVING THE VILLAIN still worthwhile. I love the villain because the villain in my life is Jesus. He took on all my sins – all my failures, all my betrayals, all my imperfections – and accepted the consequences for them on my behalf.
“How? you ask.
God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong,
so we could be put right with God.”
2 Corinthians 5:21 MSG
In my humble opinion, that makes him the best type of hero I could ever imagine – one that not only LIVES for others, but DIES for them.
Dear Lord, I get so hung up on feeling better about myself by seeking out ways I’m ‘not so bad.’ But when I have to put myself above YOU to be ‘not so bad,’ it doesn’t feel too good anymore. Thank you for reminding me that you died for so much more than ‘not so bad.’ You died for me to be seen as PERFECT. Thank you so much for being the villain in my place!! Amen.