Who’s the Bad Guy in this Story?
Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation . . . Colossians 1:21-22 (NIV)
Last night, we watched the most recent superhero movie, in which the bad guy believed he was doing the right thing. Though he committed terrible atrocities, he still believed his cause was righteous. He didn’t do evil for evil’s sake. He was just deluded into thinking that he was on the right side. To the observer though, it was obvious who was good and who was bad in the story.
I think most of us think we’re the good guy in our own story. Sure, we may struggle here and there, but overall, we see ourselves as being on the right side. When we do self-destructive or evil things, we don’t see ourselves as agents of evil, but rather, we justify those things and tell ourselves we’re doing them for good reasons.
In today’s passage though, Paul explained that, in the grand scheme of things, we’ve all become God’s enemies. God made us to follow his way and we’ve all rebelled, going our own way. God didn’t choose this, but rather gave us a choice. He loves us and longs to be loved back, but for love to be authentic, there must be an honest choice and we’ve chosen ourselves over God. In doing so, we’ve made ourselves his enemies. Still, he loves us, so he came to Earth to die and show his love. In doing so, God’s provided forgiveness – if we want it.
We no longer need to live as the bad guy. We can switch sides. Doing so simply requires that we turn to him, ask forgiveness, and follow him. We can’t earn God’s love, grace, or mercy. Those things are freely given. Once we’re restored to God’s side, he now sees us as clean and good. All our sins – past, present, and future – are forgiven.
Our job now, is to live as though we’re on God’s side. We don’t get kicked off when we fail, but if we truly switch sides, we’re supposed to live that way. The temptation is that when we realize we’re forgiven for everything, then we think we might as well continue to follow our way, simply asking forgiveness for it. In living this lie, we once again fool ourselves, believing we’re the good guy and that we’ve switched sides. We can’t fool God though. If we want, forgiveness and redemption are available. To have those things though, we must switch sides – and we must live like it.