Batman: Broken Orphans Striving For Redemption
We all know the story; a young boy leaves a theatre with his parents and in an instant his life is forever changed. A gunmen steps out of the shadows, and a robbery turns to murder. A young boy watches as his mother and father fall to the ground, along with a broken string of pearls (which always stood out to me as Bruce’s innocence and child hood). There in the dark, broken and hurting, he becomes an orphan.
Just like young Bruce, we are orphans. Not because of the choices of a desperate thief, but because of the sin that separates us from our Father and keeps us from truly living in family (which actually could be traced back to a desperate thief). That day Bruce vowed to avenge his parents, and to fight back at the evil that robbed him of his parents. So he learned & trained; martial arts, science, criminology, and psychology. For approximately 7 years, he did everything to prepare himself.
We do very similar things. We know that sin causes us to be separated from God, so we try to work our way to being good enough. We go to church, Sunday school, Bible camp, we memorize verses, listen to Christian music, obey all the rules, and do everything else we can to be good enough. But just like Bruce, no matter how hard we work it doesn’t change our situation. No matter how many criminals Batman stops, no matter how many lives he saves, no matter how many times he stops the Joker or any one of his plethora of rogues, it doesn’t change that he is an orphan. Nothing can bring back his mom and dad, or make up for the fact he couldn’t stop their killer. How good we are doesn’t change the fact that we are made orphans by the sin in our lives.
Over the last few years I’ve felt more like an orphan day by day. My mother died in 2010; my father has been in a coma since 2005. It’s made me feel more alone than anything in my life. Not being able to learn from my dad, just wanting to hear my mom’s voice, for them to know their grandkids, it just breaks my heart. I know that at the same time I have felt this alone with God before, too. I have felt like we are just so far apart that there is no way we can get closer, that I’m alone. Thank God that’s not the case.
One of my favorite verses in scripture is in John14:18 where Jesus is speaking to His disciples and says, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” Jesus knows we are alone. He knows we are hurting; and the beautiful thing is He refuses to leave us this way. Jesus Himself knows what it’s like to feel orphaned. His haunting words on the cross, “About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?") – Matthew 27:46. With Jesus carrying the weight of our sins, He felt as though He had been orphaned with us.
The fact that Jesus comes for us means we don’t have to do it ourselves. Can you imagine how Bruce’s mom and dad (Thomas and Martha) would feel if they saw what he did as Batman? I doubt his mom would say “Wow honey, you have a plane shaped like a bat....and you beat up criminals...and chase clowns.” Or his dad saying “Son, I’m glad you have spent your whole life fixated on fighting crime, and never getting married, or having a family or anything crazy like that.” If I ever died tragically, I wouldn’t want my children to become crime fighters...that does sound kinda awesome actually...but for the sake of this discussion, let say I wouldn’t want that. If I ever was taken from my children, I would want them to have the best and fullest life possible.
I wouldn’t want them to waist their life trying to make up for me not being there. I would want them to know that I loved them more than anything. In the same sense, Jesus doesn’t want us to spend our lives trying to earn our place in a family, or to redeem ourselves. In John 10:10 Jesus states “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Jesus knows we have been cut off from our Father, but he wants us to truly have the best life, to have it to the fullest. In Ephesians 2:8-9 Paul reminds us “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”
There is nothing we can do to make us any more God’s child than we already are. There is no work we have to accomplish. God loves us, and yes sin has separated us, but Jesus brings us back into the family.
I love the fact that *Spoilers* at the end of “The Dark Knight Rises,” Bruce actually rests, and hangs up the cape. I think often God would say to us, stop trying to earn my love. You are already my child.