christine alexis virgins of the screen. fuqvids.com

Good and evil are choices. Are we born good or evil? Lessons of compassion from Daredevil

When I got home last night, a few papers in a clear plastic bag hung from my gate handle. At first I thought it was an advertisement for a cleaning service or a new local business. There’s been a recent up tick in local businesses, so I was curious. But once I got inside, I promptly forgot about the thing as my preschooler required all my attention. I wouldn’t have thought about it a second time, except my husband brought the bag inside and left it visible on top of the dresser. This morning as I got my kid ready, the little guy handed me the bag, to be helpful. When I read it, my heart sank and I sighed.

A church left a tract on my door last night proclaiming that in order to be saved, I needed to come to Jesus and that was all I needed to do – profess Jesus as Lord.

Ugh.

Now that I’m drinking coffee, with this tract in mind, naturally I want to talk about Daredevil.

First, let’s get over the whole devil imagery thing as a barrier to enjoying this show (or an enticement?). Writing is a land of metaphor, and characters using symbols is a natural part of fiction. We won’t get into the fact that “devil” isn’t even in the Bible, but rather “adversary” is used, along with “shaitan” which is more linguistically akin to “prosecutor” than anything else (The irony of lawyering in Daredevil and Matt Murdock being a defense attorney should not be lost on anyone who dives into sacred text!).

Because of my upbringing, with two pastors as parents, and a certain appreciation for all things spiritual and beautiful, I’ve always been interested in these myths around evil. It’s convenient to point the finger at something else…

Daredevil Netflix promo poster for Season 1

The Devil made me do it!

Please!

Nothing and no one made you do anything. It was all you. Any evil you have done is YOURS. Period. This kind of statement blaming some supernatural Boogeyman is cowardice – pure and simple.

Even God, if you believe in free will, can’t make you do anything. This is the beauty of choice.

We choose how to act – our actions show us for the people we are. The thoughts we think, feeling we have, are expressed through words and actions. If there is evil in your heart, it comes through your words and actions. Love and mercy in your heart? Your actions will bear out.

And now we’re back to my beloved Matt Murdock (a.k.a. Daredevil).

Without getting into spoilers, I will say the most wonderful thing about this show is The Choice. Everyone has a choice to uphold morality – mercy, justice, truth. Mr. Murdock has his commitment to these principles questioned frequently. But the thing I love about him is that he doesn’t give in. He’s like me – he sticks to his principles.

“It doesn’t matter what he’s done. He’s still a person. He’s still a human being.”

“He will pay for his actions, but he’s a human being!”

Daredevil believes in the inherent value of human beings. He is compassionate. He is empathetic. Yes the show is violent, and often gruesome (I openly admit I often block the screen for the worst parts so I don’t hold them in memory.). It doesn’t shy away from the darkness, but at the core of the show is the idea that while it is easy to dehumanize – to demonize – in order to maintain our humanity, we must maintain the humanity of everyone. We must express compassion. We must express empathy.

Matt Murdock is my kind of hero. As much as he wrestles with the darkness, he is inherently good. He chooses to do good. He makes a statement about these things, but then he lives it. And he continues to live it every day.

And this is the choice we have. It’s not enough to make a statement of belief. Who cares? A statement tells me you got there intellectually, but it doesn’t show me anything about what you feel. A simple statement is not testimony. Live your principles. Let them be your standard. Your actions will bear out your beliefs.

It has nothing to do with a devil boogeyman or a shining deity in the clouds. It’s just you and your choices.

So whenever you’re struggling, remember Daredevil; if Matt Murdock can do it, you can too.

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Good and evil are choices.
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