“And those who repay evil for good, they oppose me because I follow what is right and good.” Psalm 38:20
Near the end of the 2006 movie, Zoom, General Larraby (played by Rip Torn) asks Tim Allen’s character, Captain Zoom, “So what are you going to do now?” Zoom replies, “You know us superheroes. We always do the right thing.” Maybe that is part of the allure of superheroes who seem to find it so easy and instinctual to use what makes them different from other people to do right when most of us struggle with making the right choices in the face of the stresses of everyday life that pressure us to just go along and fit in. Deep inside a part of us would like it to be as easy as they make it out to be and to be hailed as the hero of the hour standing up for what is good and right. More often the real life ending doesn’t quite play out quite as heroically nor result in the acclaim and adulation heaped upon superheroes in the movies.
But know that the Lord has set apart the godly man for Himself; The Lord hears when I call to Him. Psalm 4:3
For superheroes, it is the superpower that sets them apart from the crowd and makes them different. For God followers, it is the determined intention to do right in the sight of the Lord, no matter what the cost. It sounds like a high, holy and virtuous aim for anyone who wants to be known as His — and it is. However, following the ways of God will set me apart as “different” and in the world’s eyes, different is bad, strange or weird. People who are caught up in the mindset of popular culture and worldly ways won’t quite get me because I don’t fit their paradigm. Therefore, harassment, exclusion and persecution will be my lot. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that doing the right thing doesn’t mean automatic popularity, happiness, reward, recognition and honor.
After all, Jesus tells us:
In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world. John 16:33
If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. John 15:18-19
I must determine in my heart to do right, not to earn adulation and approval. I just do it because it is right and honors God and I’d rather strive to be a superhero for Him anyday over the temporary accolades for ‘saving the world’ from the next cataclysmic disaster. (The world only needs one Savior anyway and that position has already been permanently filled and I’ll leave the job to Him. He can do a far better job of it than I can anyway!!) When I understand things from this perspective, any feelings of not “fitting in” or harassment from neighbors, co-workers, bosses and other associates start to make sense. However, I can take comfort in knowing that if I am following God’s heart and plan for my life, regardless of the world’s opinion, I am doing well by His standards–and in the end, His opinion is the only one that really matters.
Dear Lord, Thank you for affirming my heart to do right in Your eyes even if I am only imperfectly successful and others don’t appreciate it all the time. Help me to look for Your approval and not gauge my success on the inconsistent opinions and biases of other people. Please walk with me through the difficult times of ill treatment and help me see the trials as an indication of my success on Your terms and not as a personal failure. But open the eyes of my heart to grow in areas where You need to stretch me and bring me new understandings of Your perspective. Let me be teachable in the areas You want to enlarge to bring me closer to You, while not taking to heart those lessons that stem from man’s opinion alone and not Your vision for my story. Let me be “all for You and for Your glory.” In Jesus’ Name, Amen.