Batman wouldn’t be half the worldwide phenomenon he is without his rogues gallery of carefully crafted supervillains.
In fact, sometimes the colorful criminal element of Gotham gets just as much attention as the Dark Knight. The Joker, who is Batman’s classic arch nemesis, is a perfectly perverse foil of the brooding hero – a splash of color in a dark world. While Bruce Wayne plays the part to keep the world from knowing his secret life, The Joker sports lurid purple and green and never fails to make an entrance. The caped crusader ruminates about justice on sullen rooftops in the rain, while the Clown Prince of Crime flaunts his flamboyant smile and makes light of the chaos he creates. Batman’s tragic past wrought his admittedly warped sense of sanity; The Joker seeks only deranged pandemonium that reflects the psychosis within.
It is one of the best-written character duos in history, and certainly one of the most entertaining.
In the real world, however, most of us don’t have clear arch nemeses (at least, no one I know). That’s usually because we don’t put on masks and capes and go cruising for crime on a nightly basis, which is a surefire way to attract trouble.
In fact, for many, we are our own worst enemy.
Once a person accepts Christ and has their sins forgiven, sometimes they assume the war has been won, and it will be relatively easy from there on out. Well, the Bible says this line of thinking is just plain wrong (I John 3:13-14). In fact, because we have died to ourselves and have been born again through Christ, we proclaim we are against the lawlessness of our old lives and make ourselves an enemy of Satan. By coming to Christ, we have split from the ranks of darkness, become traitors to the night – and Satan will try anything to draw us back into our old ways. That initial battle for our hearts turns inward, and we fight against our old selves to continually seek after God through sanctification.
This is a difficult road. The world we live in is full of temptations, gray areas, obstacles, and problems that won’t let up. We have to actively strive against our old line of thinking to follow what we now know to be right (Philippians 3:14). I’m far from a young Christian, and I’ve had plenty of experience with these mental melees. I have won many hard fights against anxiety, depression, grief, and fear. These battles have left me battered and scarred, but because I was able to cling to the Father of Light, I’ve come through the other side stronger than ever before.
I know God understands my struggles, and I’m certainly not the only one fighting with my inner demons. We all have our own burdens to bear. Yet “you, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (I John 4:4). This ongoing barrage is designed to bring us closer to the One who loves us and wants us to rely on Him and not ourselves. God gives us the opportunity to grow through each fight, so we are more capable of handling the blessings and battles that lie ahead.
Plus, it makes for a wildly more compelling story. Just ask The Joker.
So the next time you’re beating yourself up over something stupid you’ve done (which, if you’re anything like me, will happen sooner rather than later), try to turn your perspective of that struggle into a training exercise. After all, no pain, no gain!
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