If you haven’t seen Spiderman yet, you may want to turn down the sound before I give part of it away.
Having said that, I have been reflecting on the theology of Super Heroes.
In Spiderman III Peter Parker, a.k.a. Spiderman, struggles with relationships. In just one movie, our favorite arachnid action hero clashes with his best friend, his girlfriend, a competitor at work, his boss at work, the guy who shot his uncle, his landlord, his landlord’s daughter, and an alien symbiote that represents bitterness. Suffice to say, it is a bad day on the spider web. Even Batman (who was by no means a stable personality) had a better interpersonal batting (get it?) average.
Spiderman and his friends begin to patch things up when his girlfriend is dangling from a web in a taxi cab. Nothing to raise your level of urgency like seeing the vile villain Venom go after your girl, though it’s not a problem most of us routinely face. Because the situation is so desperate, Spiderman and his friend, Harry, realize that they need to move beyond their differences and focus on thumping some villains. Not since Underdog saved Polly Purebred has there been such a rescue.
While I certainly don’t agree with the whole worldview of the movie, there are many lessons beyond the fact that the Sandman is vulnerable to water. Here’s one important point – In Spiderman III, forgiveness takes place when people realize the urgency of the hour. When Peter, MJ, and Harry figure out that there are bigger fish to fry than their own differences, they forgive one another faster than a speeding bullet.
Whether or not you are challenged by super heroes, remember that Jesus also told us to be urgent in working through our differences.
23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. 25 “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. Matthew 5:23-25
Jesus warned the Disciples in Matthew 18:5-9 to avoid creating scandals that would cause others to stumble. In fact, Jesus said it would be better to take a screwdriver and gouge out your eye, or use a machete to lop off your wrist, then to cause others to walk away from the faith. Jesus uses “R” rated pictures of violence.
Have you stopped to think that the anger that you are holding onto with someone at church, or with your spouse, may be the scandal that causes another to stumble? Better to be thrown into Lake Michigan with a millstone tied around your neck (Matthew 18:6).
Here’s the thing. Don’t wait until your friends or family are dangling from a web in a taxi cab. Pick up the bat phone and make a phone call to show grace. Leap over a tall building in order to forgive. Be faster than a speeding bullet. Work out your differences today.
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