I’ve made some terrible mistakes in my life. Some bad enough that people who don’t even know me would be angry at me for making them. In my misguided ways of trying to cope with depression, I’ve walked down roads I never thought I would walk. Basically, there was a time in my life where I considered myself a bad guy. Superman has been my hero since I was a little boy. He could do anything. But he chose to do the right thing.
Even from an early age, I realized that he could have ruled Earth, but instead, he serves Earth.
And even though Lex Luthor was his ultimate evil counterpart, his biggest enemy was something else entirely.
A freak monster born out of radical science experiments on Superman’s home planet, Krypton, long before the planet was destroyed.We didn’t learn much about the monster when he first appeared in comics. We were just shown this killing machine hunting down Superman.
That was the day that Superman died.
Doomsday’s story would be told, little by little, through the years, and Superman (returned to life through a Kryptonian healing chamber and a little help from his friends) would face Doomsday again on several occasions.
The last of the original run of such meetings occurred in a story called “Reign of Doomsday,” (just before DC rebooted with the "New 52" angle) where a Doomsday-like creature, known as The Doomslayer, gained intelligence and started out on a vendetta to destroy Doomsday and the few others like him.
There was a moment, when Doomsday lie defeated and broken on the floor, that the Doomslayer was going to kill Doomsday, when Superman (the man often beaten up and once killed by Doomsday) stepped in and protected him.
Superman shouted, “He may be a mass murderer, but the fact that you [the Doomslayer] have achieved intelligence says he has the potential for change, for redemption!”
In fact, he was saying much more than that, he was saying that all intelligent, self-aware beings have the potential for redemption, for change.
God doesn’t give up on us.
However, the church has a harder time with that. Many churches prefer to keep their image squeaky clean by not allowing those with problems or big mistakes in their past inside.
Now, they probably don’t have signs that say, “If you’ve ever been addicted to drugs or alcohol, or have ever been arrested, please don’t attend our church.” But it’s more in how they treat these people. Ignoring them, not letting them volunteer for things, asking them to dress more neatly or to sit in a side area, basically embarrassing them, hurting them, and making them feel uncomfortable until they decide it’s not worth it to come.
What’s worse is we probably don’t even realize we’re doing it.
There are always a few people in church that you know have pretty messed up lives. Do you avoid those people during hand shaking time?
The point I’m trying to make is that it doesn’t matter what’s in someone’s past. We are all broken, messed-up people who have made some stupid mistakes.
Just because your mistakes might be more socially acceptable than mine doesn’t make you a better person than me. In God’s eyes, we are equals.
Everyone who truly desires to be a part of the body of Christ should be welcomed, even if that part of the body has a cast on it for a little while as they try to get things working again.
I mean, if you break a finger, you don’t cut it off, you give it time to heal!
Last week, I wrote about a boy in our town who lost control of his senses and made the evil decision to walk into our town library with guns and start shooting. He killed two innocent, wonderful ladies, and he shot and injured 4 other people, including a 10-year-old boy.
It was horrific. And our town is still reeling.
And justifiably, people are angry at him. Of course, we all are. But many are angry enough that they want him to pay with his own life. I've read comments from self-professed Christians that would tighten every muscle in your body.
I know this pain is rough and raw, but Christians, please remember your own Bible. Let's take two of the biggest heroes of the Bible for example - King David and Paul. They both had innocent people killed. One out of fear, the other out of hate. Maybe these killings weren't committed by their own hands, but they were carried out on their behalf, at their command.
Yet these two were perhaps the biggest purely human heroes of the Old and New Testament, respectively. GOD REDEEMS PEOPLE. And there is NO LIMIT to that redemption. If God can forgive them and help them to move on, how can we withhold that same forgiveness?
I was honored to visit the church that this boy had been attending and they are broken-hearted, but they are hopeful. They are doing what should be done and are refusing to give up on the boy, despite his terrible actions. This is a church after God's own heart.
Give everyone a chance to change — a chance for redemption. God gave YOU one.
The "image" of the church is not as important as the call to love others as we love ourselves.