When I was a kid, I loved Star Wars (and some elements, I still do). I loved to hate Darth Vader, who was the ultimate bad guy, and I loved that (spoiler alert. If you’ve not seen Return of the Jedi that came out in 1983, turn back now) Darth Vader could be redeemed before the end. Today, though, we have movies, tv series, books and other media sympathizing with the villain, celebrating them, lifting them up, even placing them on pedestals. The sad truth is, we, as a whole, like villains way too much, because, apart from Christ, we know what we are.
Christian, I think we (yes, Christians) celebrate these villains so much because there is a not-so-secret side of us that revels in our sin. We sometimes look back with pride at the “accomplishments” we had before Jesus rescued us. I know I do. I can remember talking with other preachers, even bragging, about sins I committed, almost as if I was in competition with them to see who was worse. Now, I am ashamed of it, then, in my immaturity, I reveled in it. I admit, I used to like villains way too much, because I still was one.
Outside of Christ, each of us is not only a condemned prisoner, but dead in our sins and transgressions. Now that we’ve been redeemed, we need to put away the world and those things that led us in to rebellion against Jesus. We need to stand firm, committed to following Jesus in every way! This is our calling: to look like Jesus, and not the world. We’ve been saved, rescued and redeemed, why should we look back in envy of what we were saved from?
1 John 2:7-17
Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake. I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, children, because you know the Father. I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.