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-Sincerely, Emmarayn Redding, Author, artist, and eccentric dreamer
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Lessons to Be Learned from the Avengers
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Hello, Readers! My siblings and I watched The Avengers for about the millionth time yesterday. Surprisingly, it doesn't seem to get old... at least not for us. But as I watched it this time, I was wondering how I could use this movie, which is purely for entertainment, for something useful and wholesome. After a while, I started noticing several scenes that can be used as object lessons. After I gathered a few, I thought it was worth sharing here.
So, without further ado, let us begin!
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Of Courage and Obedience; Black Widow
Black Widow, or Natasha Romanoff is one tough girl. She's an expert spy, a phenomenal martial artist, and a master manipulator. In the most intense situation, she manages to keep her cool and her priorities straight. Nothing seems to phase her. One of her special talents is making people think that she's scared and vulnerable- that they've got her right in their hands. However, she always manages to turn the tables on them- revealing that she's been in control of the situation all along.
However, there is one thing that scares her, and that's Bruce Banner; The Hulk.
Natasha is assigned to recruit Banner near the beginning of the film. While she is obviously unsettled by the order, she complies and goes immediately to India, where the troubled scientist has been hiding for some time.
While the two seem to be cautious of each other at first, they put their differences aside in order to cooperate for the greater good. Bruce returns with Natasha to the Helicarrier, and they seem to get along just fine.
However, when Bruce falls under the manipulation of Loki and transforms into the Hulk, Natasha is the one who attracts his attention first. Trapped in a cramped area, the Hulk goes on a mad rampage after her, and she is forced to run for her life.
At this point, her composure snaps, and the look on her face is one of pure horror. And no small wonder either! What chance does she have against a beast ten times her size? No manipulation on her part could save her now. The Hulk is one of the few things that seems to truly terrify her.
Fortunately, Thor comes to her rescue just in time. The Hulk is distracted, leaving a trembling and injured Black Widow huddled on the floor in a corner.
Now- here is where the real lesson comes. While the Helicarrier is under attack, Hawkeye, her friend, is spotted heading for the detention levels. He is under Loki's control, and needs to be taken down before he can do anymore damage. With everyone else preoccupied with other urgent business, General Fury puts out a call to anyone who is listening.
"It's Barton! He took out our systems! He's headed for the detention levels. Does anybody copy?"
Natasha, who is still trying to recover from her encounter with the Hulk, hears the call. And, though she is terrified, she acknowledges the request.
"This is Agent Romanoff. I copy."
Even as she answers, her voice breaks with fatigue. But she still jumps up and goes to do what needs to be done, despite her fear and fatigue. That, my friends, is a shining example of Courage and Obedience.
Unafraid to Tell the Truth
Steve Rodgers, a World War II soldier known as Captain America, is a man of honor. He sees the world very simply; there are blacks, and there are whites. He's never been afraid to stand up for what's right, or fight for what he believes in. And waking up to find himself decades ahead in the future hasn't changed anything.
Shortly after his encounter with Loki, he and Tony Stark are taking the extra-terrestrial prisoner back to the Helicarrier. However, their plans are foiled by Thor, Loki's adopted brother, when he comes and kidnaps the villain right from under their noses.
Of course, Tony jumps into action immediately, pursuing the two Asgardians in order to get their prisoner back.
Seeing that his team member has gotten into a situation that may be over his head, Steve takes up a parachute and begins putting it on, determined to follow him and set things straight. But before he jumps from the plane, Black Widow calls back to warn him.
"I'd sit this one out, Cap. These guys come from legend. They're basically gods." (Note the word basically.)
But the Captain's response was right on: "There's only one God, ma'am," he says, "And I'm pretty sure he doesn't dress like that."
This reply brought humor to the otherwise serious situation, but it is also the stark truth. Captain America has never been afraid to state the truth as it is, and he nails it here. There IS only one God; our God. The God who created the Universe.
In today's society, Christians are often branded as judgmental because our 'world-views' are so offensive to so many people. We are urged to be tolerant and merciful, and are called hypocrites if we don't let the world have their way with sin. If we dare to call out the faults of our society, we are ruthlessly beaten down and guilted into staying silent. However, we must remember that despite what society thinks, we do know the truth, and God has called us to be faithful to His ways. Like Captain America, we should never be afraid to tell the truth.
The Sacrifice Play
Tony Stark, or Iron Man, is not what you'd call a humble guy. He's about as arrogant as you can get. He's confident, self-centered, self-absorbed, selfish... and just about every other 'self' word you can think of. Because of this, he often butts heads with many other people- especially Steve Rodgers.
In a heated argument, Steve calls him out. He claims that in Tony's boo, everything is about Tony. He claims that the only thing he ever fights for is himself. Stark isn't the guy to make the sacrifice play; to lay down on the wire and let the other guy crawl over his body. And when Tony says he'd probably just cut the wire, Steve nods, not surprised.
"Always a way out, isn't there?" Fiercely, he tells Stark that even though he may not be a threat, he'd better stop pretending that he's a hero.
However, despite Steve's words, he is soon proved wrong when Tony repeatedly makes 'the sacrifice play'. When one of the Helicarrier's turbines is taken out, it is Iron Man who fearlessly goes in to repair the damage- even though he knows that he might be shredded while doing it. His only chance of getting out of the turbine is by trusting the Captain- the most technologically inept of them all- to use the controls and slow the turbines down long enough for him to escape.
Later on, when a nuclear missile is headed for New York, Tony is the only one who can stop it. Cleverly, he grasps the sides of the missile and aims it for the portal above the city- straight toward the enemy Chitauri army. He will have to guided it all the way through, and bravely does this even though he knows it is quite likely a one-way trip. Tony was willing to give up his life in order to save New York- and Captain America knows it. Everyone does.
Fortunately, Tony's life is saved by the Hulk, who catches him moments before he falls to his death. However, the fact remains the same. As unlikely as it may seem, Tony Stark IS the guy to make the Sacrifice Play.
Slow to Speak and Slow to Anger
Bruce Banner leads a tough life. After an accident involving gamma rays left him with the ability to turn into a giant green rage monster, he gained the respect and fear of everyone in the world. If he doesn't control his emotions just right, he could end up transforming into the Hulk and destroying everything around him.
Now feared by everyone he comes into contact with, he has a frustrating time interacting with people. They're constantly tip-toeing around him, making sure not to upset him. And, if he shows even the slightest annoyance, they cautiously tell him that he needs to remove himself from the situation before anything happens. In other words, Bruce isn't allowed to express himself.
However, he is very patient. And while he is obviously frustrated, he holds back his grievances and bears with them for the longest time. Even through the most stressful situations, he keeps a lid on his anger and keeps the Hulk under control.
It isn't until Loki, (who has been subtly manipulating his mind), orchestrates an accident that endangers his life that Bruce looses control. Scared and hurt, he transforms into the Hulk. And, as expected, he destroys a significant portion of the Helecarrier and nearly kills his teammates.
However, after he has gotten his head back, he learns of the attack on New York. Even though he hates being the Hulk, Bruce knows that he must go to help his friends. So, bravely, he goes into the thick of the battle to defend them.
After a short exchange between them, and an apology for his earlier behavior as the Hulk, Bruce explains to him his secret. He is always angry. In other words, he could transform into the Hulk any time he wanted to. But he has control over himself, demonstrating one of the Fruits of the Spirit- self control. That's why they don't have to be afraid of him. Even though he could give in to his rage at any time, Bruce Banner is slow to speak, and slow to anger. And, when he effortlessly transforms into the Hulk, he shows that he has complete control over the monster, and takes a great part in the defense of New York.
I've Got Your Back
Hawkeye- otherwise known as Clint Barton, is also the 'eyes up high' of the team. Even though he spends most of the movie under Loki's control, he jumps right in with them after his release.
When he does, he is given his mission by Captain America; he is to stay 'up top' and keep an eye on things going on in the streets.
So, standing on a rooftop, Hawkeye is pretty far removed from most of the action. He picks of several Chitauri soldiers as they fly past, but that's not his biggest part in the battle. His real mission is to keep his teammates informed of what's going on around them.
From his elevated position, he can see everything that the others can't. If one of the Chitauri is creeping up behind Steve, Clint will radio down and warn him before it's too late. As he observes the fighting techniques of the enemy, he is able to point out their weaknesses to Iron Man, who is then able to take them down using the information.
Hawkeye is doing what we should all do for each other. Even while we're doing our own business, we should keep a watchful eye out for one another, warning each other of anything harmful, and giving them help when we can. If we, as brothers and sisters in Christ, have each other's backs, we are less likely to fall to Satan's temptations.
Thor misses his brother. Who wouldn't? If you, like me, have siblings, then you can imagine what it would be like if one of them suddenly turned evil and betrayed you. It would be devastating!
That's what happened to Thor. His younger brother, Loki, whom he loved all his life, suddenly turned on him for reasons that Thor could not understand. Now, in The Avengers, Thor finally knows the truth about him. However, despite all the horrible deeds that Loki has committed- from murder to treason, genocide to conquest, Thor is still willing to forgive him.
In an all-too-short scene, Thor pleads with Loki to give up his madness and return home. While he doesn't say it in so many words, he makes it clear that it doesn't matter what he's done. Even though Loki is a Frost Giant, and not his natural brother at all, Thor still loves him, and is willing to take him back. He loves him enough to confront him on his errors and sins and point out where he's gone wrong.
Of course, Loki refuses his chance at forgiveness and continues in his wicked ways. Still, Thor gives him a second chance later on (which he also rejects.) Thor demonstrates a deep love for his brother that is similar to the way that God loved us. Even though we are desperately wicked, Jesus was willing to give up his life for us, spend three days in Hell for us, so that we could be redeemed and spend an eternity in Heaven with Him.
Blasphemy is a Serious Crime
Loki claims to be god. That's no secret. He boldly proclaims it before large crowds, making it clear that he considers himself superior and worthy to rule. This, my friends, is blasphemy. And, as we know, the Third Commandment tells us that we shall NOT blaspheme the Lord God.
Yet it's not just people like Loki who do this- a lot of people do it without even intending to. For example, when people take the name of God, or Jesus, without really meaning it, they are taking the Names in vain. For no purpose. Thus the Holy Name of God is degenerated to a mere swear word.
Another example is when we consider ourselves too important to follow God's way. When we set our sin or our will above His, we are committing both idolatry and blasphemy. Basically we're saying "I know You say it's wrong, God, but I don't care."
In other words, we're more important than God. That's blasphemy. A sin. And sin does not go unpunished.
Loki is seen being punished almost immediately. In a desperate attempt to stop the Hulk, Loki stands up and shouts-
"ENOUGH! I am a god, you dull creature, and I will not be bullied by a-"
But before he can finish, Hulk grabs him by the legs and smashes him around, firmly putting him in his place... literally. Loki is left in an indent on the floor. As Hulk walks away, he disdainfully calls him a 'puny god'. How true.
Now, I'm not saying that you or I are going to be smashed around by a giant green rage monster for blasphemy, but something much worse may happen if we do not repent of our sin and turn to Jesus for his forgiveness. It is our good fortune to have such a loving God who would spare us the torment of Hell, despite the terrible things we've done.
Every Knee Shall Bow
In Germany, Loki terrorizes a large crowd of people in the streets. Asserting his superiority, he tells them to kneel before him. When they do not comply immediately, he bangs his staff on the ground and shouts it again; "KNEEL!!"
In awe of his power and hostility, the crowd kneels. Then he smiles, and asks them if it isn't simpler. He tells them, truthfully, that this is their natural state. In the end, they will always kneel.
This is true. Humans were created to kneel and praise God, worshiping and adoring Him for all of eternity. It is our purpose. In the End, the Bible says, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord. In the end we will always kneel.
But Loki claims that he is the one they should kneel to. Fortunately, one old man stands up to him with the truth.
"Not to men like you," he says.
"There are no men like me," Loki protests.
"There are always men like you," the man states.
Yes, we will always kneel to someone, something. Yes, there are always men like Loki, or Hitler, who seek to raise themselves above the rest of us and take the position of 'god'. But we, as Christians, will kneel to only One Person- God. And in the end, no matter who or what everyone else has worshiped, they wil eventually see who is really God. And every knee shall bow, every tongue confess, that Jesus. Is. Lord.
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Sorry this has been such a long post! Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the object lessons. Leave a comment and tell me what you think!