In younger days I was a fan of WWF wrestling (yes, its true!) and loved to watch the stories unfold of the ‘good guys’ vs. the ‘bad guys’. There were very clear lines between the two and you could always tell when someone was going to switch from one side to the other. It was like a soap opera for men! Also, the predictability of good ultimately triumphing over evil and ‘good is good’ and ‘bad is bad’ was very comforting.
Not so today.
Today we have the WWE and there are no such distinctions. The good guys are bad and the bad guys badder. This trend is not limited to the world of wrestling. We see heroes in strange places. Games like Assassin’s Creed has the assassin as hero and defender of good while those who would have traditionally been thought of as virtuous (knights) are the bad guys. The Grand Theft Auto franchise glorifies extreme criminal activity while lifting up the perpetrators as the heroes. Evil has not only become acceptable, it’s become cool and draws people to it.
Even the Stormtroopers from the recent Star Wars movie have been redeemed in a way and are viewed as heroic by many within the Star Wars universe (if only it weren’t for those pesky movies where they’re shown as bad!). So now we have trouble saying anyone is good or anyone is bad. It’s all a matter of perception.
This all speaks to the relativism of our time and the decay of the concept of absolute truth. Evil has always been tempting in some ways, that is sin nature, but to redeem it and legitimize it is building for us a sad legacy. The most dangerous part of it though is when it becomes cool and those who represent it are viewed as heroes. Their actions, no matter how wicked become not only rationalized but also become attractive to those looking at the example.
Where are the days when Paul’s encouragement to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:22 to “flee the evil desires of youth” were something to measure our lives by? Perhaps they’ve been lost since we’ve forgotten the second part of that verse: “…and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”
It’s a matter of the heart and an issue of what we focus on. It’s easy to blame the devil for these circumstances but much of it comes down to the choices we make. Do we resist the devil as Jesus did when He was tempted in Matthew 4 or as we’re called to do in James 4:7? Do we compromise and accept a watering down of the heroic ideal or do we pursue righteousness?
Where can you resist the evil in your life? What true heroes can you raise up? While these days may be discouraging, we can take heart since in the end, we know that good ultimately triumphs over evil and there will be no blurring of the lines when that happens. Read Revelation 20 and see for yourself!