Villains ‘R’ Us
by Rob Shiflet
Bible Reading: Ephesians 4:28-32
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior. Ephesians 4:31
CRUELLA DE VIL
Anastasia and Drusilla
Recognize any of those names? Cruella De Vil, of course, was the totally mean and nasty villainess in Disney’s 101 Dalmatians. Scar was little Simba’s evil uncle in The Lion King. Jafar? He plotted against Aladdin, the Genie, and Jasmine in Disney’s Aladdin. Captain Hook was out to get Peter Pan. Anastasia and Drusilla, Cinderella’s wicked stepsisters, treated her like dirt. And Shere Khan, the tiger in The Jungle Book, wanted to eat poor Mowgli! Anybody who has seen those animated classics would agree that characters such as Scar and Jafar are evil. But why?
A lot of people today claim that right and wrong don’t exist, that everybody has to decide for himself or herself what’s good or bad. “You’re old enough to know what’s right for you,” they might say. “Don’t let anybody tell you what’s right or wrong. That’s up to you.”
But everybody would agree that wanting to steal and to slaughter innocent little puppies to make fur coats (like Cruella De Vil) is downright nasty, and that engineering your brother’s death and blaming it on your nephew (like Scar in The Lion King) isn’t very nice, either. Those villains are despicable characters because anyone can recognize that their actions and attitudes are evil. Why? Because right and wrong is not up to you or me; it’s already been decided-and decreed-by God himself. He alone has the authority to decide right from wrong, and he has said that murder and hatred and bitterness and rage and anger — and all types of malicious behavior — are wrong.
“Instead,” God says, we are to be self-controlled, “kind to each other, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32). No matter what anyone else may tell you, that’s what’s right!
REFLECT: Do you ever find yourself justifying bitterness, rage, or anger toward someone else? Do you ever say, “I didn’t do anything wrong,” when you really did? Do you tend to be “self-controlled” or “uncontrolled”?
ACT: Suggest that your family rent one of the movies mentioned above. As you watch it, notice the traits of the villains and how much they reflect the things God has called evil.
PRAY: “God, I’m glad that you love me and want to help me even when I feel like a villain. Show me today how to get rid of anything bad I may want to say or do.”