Over the past month I have been addicted to the ass kicking series Heroes. The series captivates me because all the characters are morally grey! I can’t tell whether the bad guys are that bad and whether the good guys are that good. Are humans inherently good or bad?
Should Niki a victim of multiple personality disorder be locked up and put down? When she is Niki she is a hard-working mum who will do anything to protect her son Micah. As her husband is a criminal on the run and bills need to be paid, she works as a stripper for the porn industry. Her alter ego is Jessica, an aggressive hit woman who will murder anyone who gets in her way. Is poverty a good enough excuse to take part in an industry that fuels the global sex slavery trade?
Episodes later, we learn that Nikki had a sister called Jessica who was strangled to death by their abusive father. Deep down, is Niki trying to revenge for the sins committed against her sister?
Is Noah Bennett, a man who tracks, abducts and experiments on people that possess superhuman phenomena, guilty if he does it in order to help these people learn to use their powers more effectively? Is he immoral if he uses his associate to wipe the memories of his family in order to protect them and to stop them from knowing the truth about his life? Noah loves his family deeply, in particular his adopted daughter Claire. In order to protect Claire, Noah is driven to make immoral decisions that comes at the cost of other people’s life and memories. Is love for a daughter a good enough excuse for murder?
Later down the track we learn that Noah’s first wife Kate was murdered by a man who possessed telekintic powers. This led to his obsession with tracking down people with special abilities. Deep down is Noah seeking revenge for the sins committed to his first wife?
I often justify my “bad works” by blaming others. A horrible experience that led to my present insecurities. A lonely childhood that drives me to do anything to be noticed, loved and to feel special. Sins committed against me that causes me to seek revenge and to sin against others.
I mask my bad works by good works. Charity, volunteer work, overseas missions, leading a youth group, a smile on my face. Only God knows the war that takes place in my heart. My desire to do good which is really just driven by my desire to play God. That I can somehow work myself up to heaven. That I can prove to people that I am capable. That my good works will be noticed and praised by people.
Before I became a Christian, I believed that I was deep down a good person - it’s the environment and past experiences that made me bad and head down the wrong path. I blamed everyone from my parents, teachers, ex boyfriends and friends. I benchmarked myself on the expectations of society. As long as I didn’t do too much or go too far then I’m okay.
The scriptures turned this proud notion of mine upside down:
There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. Romans 3:10-12
God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
I am so thankful that my salvation does not rest on a balancing beam, where I hope that on the last day, my good works will outweigh the bad. How can I rely on any sort of “goodness” when everything I do is tainted by the sinful desire to elevate myself above God. To make myself feel or look better than my creator? To receive the praise of man as opposed to the praise of God?
The beauty of the gospel is that no matter where you stand on the balancing beam of good and evil, Christ took the penalty for your sin. On the last day, no one will be able to boast because salvation is a reward of faith - not works. It means Christians can quit judging and sinners can now approach God in repentance and faith.
I am a sinner saved by grace and will continue by grace until Christ’s return.