Villains Can Become Heroes
One of my favorite television shows is Once Upon A Time. If you have not watched this series, this show brings our beloved fairy tale characters to reality as they were sent to Maine as part of a wicked curse cast by the Evil Queen, Regina. In the first season, while the characters were under the curse they lived their lives under new identities not knowing who they truly were. It was up to the savior, Emma, to come to their town, Storybrooke, to break the curse. She is the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, who were sent away so she could come back and save them. She was brought to Storybrooke by her son, Henry, whom she gave up for adoption when he was born. Together, mother and son work together to set the people of Storybrooke free from Regina’s curse.
There are many things that I love about this show. One in particular is the growth of the characters. Regina, the Evil Queen, starts out the series as a villain and by the fifth season she is a hero. She becomes the person that the others look to for their salvation. She is the perfect example that people can grow, people can change. The same goes for Captain Hook, who also experiences a similar transformation. I must also point out that the opposite transformation can also happen. This happens to Emma, the hero, the savior of Storybrooke. One choice took her from the light into the darkness. She became the Dark One. In the current season, our beloved characters are trying to help her find her way back to the light.
There are heroes and villains in scripture. We can find them in the Old and New Testaments. We also find examples of villains who become heroes. The most notable is that of the apostle Paul. Originally known as Saul, who was a Pharisee, and was noted as a villain because he persecuted Christians. His life soon changed on a journey when he was close to Damascus. He was struck down and he heard a voice call out, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” (Acts 9:4, NAB) Jesus reveals himself to Saul.
We know that for three days Saul was blinded and he had to wait to be told what to do next. Christ was transforming Saul to Paul. Instead of persecuting Christians he became an evangelist and ended up being persecuted as a Christian and was martyred. His evangelization spread Christianity to the corners of the earth, which is what Christ commissioned his apostles to do. Jesus told them, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8, NAB). This is exactly what Paul does in his mission to the Gentiles. It was through Christ that he was transformed from villain to hero.
Humans have the ability to grow and change, but it is difficult to do alone. We are influenced by those around us and these people can help bring growth and change. Jesus calls us to become heroes, but we must be careful not to become villains in the process. If we begin to slip, it is up to our brother and sisters in Christ to help bring us back to the light. We are called to be beacons of light for God. Matthew 5:16 (NAB) tell us that, “Your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” There is plenty of the darkness in this world, but we cannot let the light go out. We need to help each other keep the light burning bright. So we need to ask ourselves: Are we beacons? Are we the heroes or the villains?