Faith & Fandom
Spider-Man One More Day: Letting Go
So back in 2006/2007 Marvel caught the world’s attention with its epic tale of Civil War. It divided heroes, aligned villains, and wreaked havoc on the emotional well-being of its readers. Which, of course, is a perfectly valid reason for Marvel to use it in the upcoming Captain America sequel. One of the major players in the story was none other than your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. In essence, Tony Stark manipulated Spidey into revealing his secret identity on national television and in the aftermath, Aunt May was shot. This sent Spiderman over the edge with guilt and he went on a quest to save Aunt May’s life. Peter tried to get help from Iron Man, Doctor Strange, Reed Richards, and even Doctor Doom & Doc Oc.
He even tried time traveling, but nothing could help him. So Mephisto (the demon/devil) of the Marvel universe made him an offer. Sacrifice his marriage with Mary Jane, like erase it from existence, in exchange for Aunt May to live and for his secret identity to be a secret once again. Mephisto gave them one day to decide (seriously though, when has making a deal with the devil ever turned out to be a good call?). So if it was you, what would you do? Would you sacrifice your life and future and everything that could be with the woman you love to keep your elderly aunt alive? Well that was Peter and Mary Jane’s choice. They gave up their entire marriage and everything it ever could be (including their future daughter) so Aunt May could live.
OK, forgive me for being a little bit cold and heartless, but NO! Aunt May was old. She was going to die within a decade anyway! Peter gave up potentially 40 years with the woman he loved, children, grandchildren, and endless memories for the opportunity to allow his Aunt a little more life. Literally makes no sense to me. And I’m not alone in this. There was a huge backlash as this comic, its story, and its outcome were rejected by the comic community at large. Outside of being beautifully illustrated, it was a train wreck. It is considered by many to be not only the worst Spider- Man, but even the worst Marvel story in 20 years. I bought a hardback copy of this and keep it on my shelf in my house. Why, you ask? To remind me to let go. So often I will cling to things that I don’t need to, and in doing this I end up with terrible consequences. I can look at that book and the horrible choices made and realize they just aren’t worth it.
There are similar stories of people clinging to the wrong thing all throughout scripture. In Matthew 19, we see this exchange “Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life? So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” He said to Him, “Which ones?” Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” (Verses 16-22)
This man came seeking eternal life (or at least wanting to seem like he did in front of Jesus), but wasn’t willing to let go of his possessions. He looked the Messiah in the face, and chose to hang on to his stuff over eternity. Granted, giving your stuff away does not equal salvation. It was the willingness to surrender himself to Christ that was the bigger issue; but still, that’s right up there with choosing Aunt May.
How often do we choose to hang on to bitterness and unforgiveness instead of letting go?
Jesus states in Matthew 6:14-15, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your
trespasses.” So many of us choose on a regular basis to not be in a right relationship with God because we are too stubborn or foolish to extend people the same grace and forgiveness that we are given. Anytime we hold on to unforgiveness, we literally are looking God in the face and telling Him we don’t want His forgiveness. It’s not worth it.
How often do we choose to hang on to sin in our life when scripture shows us time and again that we are free from it? Hebrews 12:1-2 shows it so clearly “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Because we can look to Jesus and what He has done, we just need to let go of the sin that holds us down. I see so many Christians, myself included at times, struggling to live for Christ, but dragging the weight of sin with them into every situation. There’s no joy in that. There’s no abundant life in that. There’s no peace that passes all understanding in that. We look at Jesus and what He has done for us, we keep our eyes on Him, and then we will see that not only is there freedom to let go of these sins, but also there is nothing binding us to them in the first
place. It’s Aunt May of MJ all over again.
Let me backtrack to Aunt May for a minute. I don’t mean to be harsh in regards to your parents, grandparents, or aunts that raised you as you became a superhero. I know losing a parent is a painful process. I’ve lost both of mine in the last 4 years. But let’s think about it for second. What would Aunt May have wanted? Would she want Peter to keep her alive, or to live a full and happy life with the girl of his dreams? Seriously, it’s a no brainer. We will all face this at some point, losing a loved one, but those loved ones would want us to keep living above all else. That was the time for Peter to let go of Aunt May and to cling to Mary Jane. He made a mistake. Now that Marvel is rebooting their universe all this goes away anyway. Thankfully God’s grace covers up a lot of our poor choices anyway. But don’t hang on to something good in the face of something better. I know we feel guilt letting go of things sometimes and we feel terrible for letting them go, but we miss out on a lot when we aren’t willing to let go.
As Ecclesiastes 3 points out “To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up; A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance; A time to cast
away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing, A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away; A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak; A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.” (Verses 1-8)
We need to realize that there is a time to hang on, and a time to let go. Spiderman had one more day to decide the direction his life would take; maybe you should use your one more day to decide what you need to let go of.