“The reason why God is so great a lover of Humility is because he is the great Lover of Truth. Now Humility is nothing but Truth, whilst Pride is nothing but lying.”
-St. Vincent de Paul
Sometimes I ask myself why Americans like superheroes so much. We thirst for superheroes. Batman, Superman, Luke Skywalker, Captain America, Iron Man, Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes, Wolverine, Professor X. . . the list goes on and on. We re-write, re-film, and re-tell their stories in different ways in order to get a new take on their superhuman lives. And when we exhaust that, we simply create new heroes.
I normally try to avoid the superhero media, but today my roommate was watching episodes of the TV show Heroes, and I stepped over to watch for a few minutes. I stayed for probably an hour, and was reminded of how powerful the imagery can be.
The premise of every superhero story ever created is that there is a massive problem. The problem is so massive, in fact, that no normal human can possibly remedy it. Thus, the need for the superhero is created–A person who, by their nature or by some properties they possess, has transcended the powers of the human race and can meet the monstrous problem and defeat it. Their actions satisfy this deep need that we have, to know that when the world gets so out of control that we can’t handle it anymore, Luke Skywalker will be there to whip out his lightsaber and save us.
But it’s at this point where a lot of people (And most Americans) make a fatal mental transition. We think that we’re Luke Skywalker.
Nothing could be further from the truth. We are not superheroes. None of us are.
We’re told at a young age that we can change the world. While it sounds nice, encouraging, and inspirational, it is simply not true. And this is the problem that the U.S. and the United Nations seem to have gotten themselves into. They are under this illusion that they have the power to save the world, eradicate evil, and create a perfect society, when they can do nothing of the sort.
The only way the world will ever become any better is if the hearts of people change. And the only way that can ever happen is if God gets a hold of their hearts and transforms them into the likeness of his Son. And no amount of legislating, promulgating, or howling on the part of Congress or the U.N. Bureaucrats will make that happen. Peace, Justice, and Good-will can only come through God leading people, day after day, to follow his will instead of their own. And when we recognize that, we come to the conclusion we should have reached after watching all those superhero movies:
We are not Luke Skywalker. God is Luke Skywaker. He is the hero whose powers transcend ours. He is the one who can and will save the world. We need to stop waving our plastic lightsaber around and instead, follow Him. As the writer of the book Blue Like Jazz said:
“At the end of the day, when I am lying in bed and I know the chances of any of our theology being exactly right are a million to one, I need to know that God has things figured out, that if my math is wrong we are still going to be okay. And wonder is that feeling we get when we let go of our silly answers, our mapped out rules that we want God to follow. I don’t think there is any better worship than wonder.”
The attitude that we can somehow “save” or “change” the whole world is not just wishful thinking or a positive attitude: It is the height of Pride itself. It is believing the great Lie that we can somehow take God’s job upon our shoulders and fix our broken world without making it worse. We can’t. We can only obey the simple, daily commands of God to love those who cross our paths and do Justice to them. For us to be Humble, the first thing that is required is for us to embrace the truth that God, not us, will save the world, and that all we ever have to do is obey him–here, now, in this moment. This Humility will save us from the disobedient excuse that we must go outside our country to do God’s work of Justice. Do Justice to your neighbors here, and if God calls you to leave, then Go.
But only if God calls you.
If you have time, take a look at this video. It illustrates this point very well.