Some mistakenly associate the word “integrity” only with reputation—an external appearance. True integrity is a quality of character—an inward reality that refers to singleness of heart or mind, the development of a blameless character by adhering to an exemplary moral code. The biblical model of integrity is marked by several distinct features:
- innocent actions (Gen. 20:5);
- a clear conscience (Acts 24:16; Heb. 13:18);
- fear of God, truthfulness, and opposition to covetousness (Ex. 18:21);
- blamelessness and uprightness (Job 2:3; Ps. 25:21);
- righteousness (Ps. 7:8);
- freedom from that which is shameful, crafty, or deceitful (2Cor. 4:2);
- refusal to serve idols (Ps. 24:3–5);
- disassociation with evil doers (Ps. 26:4);
- honorable behavior (2 Cor. 8:21; 1 Pet. 2:12). Source: Thomas Nelson, I. (1995). The Woman’s Study Bible.
In a follow-up to my article How I Relate to The Joker, explaining why I have a large picture of Heath Ledger as The Joker and why I truly believe The Dark Knight is the greatest movie ever; I feel it is only fair why when asked, “Which superhero do I relate to most?” , I respond “The Batman”. Sure, there are others I would like to be, like Wolverine or Johnny Torch (Fantastic 4), but let’s be realistic, Batman is more my style.
In the movie The Dark Knight, there was several times in which the Joker tries to tempt and persuade Batman to give into the chaos which he (Joker) embraced; including being willing to give up his life to turn Batman. If the Joker was able to turn Batman to his side of chaos, he would have absolute control and have the greatest trophy of all; the incorruptible Batman. Even in his anger, Batman refused to denounce his values and clung onto his integrity.
I can relate to Batman in several different ways. The first and most obvious manner is that like him, I have no superpowers. I am just a simple man who sees chaos taking place, people getting hurt, abused, and taken advantage of and wants justice. Batman does his best to use little to no violence and when he does use it, he doesn’t use excessive force and does his very best to do no harm. Batman has a code to which he holds fast to; he will never use guns and he will not take a life. Batman does not use overkill; meaning that he gives more than what the crime deserves. He also tries to rehabilitate whenever possible (Notice how he tries to work with Harvey Dent [Two-Face] and Cat Woman). I feel Batman’s power comes from integrity and convictions and not superpowers. I try to also have those same qualities.
Another way I relate is that I am not alone. Just as Batman relies on people like Robin, Alfred and Mr. Fox for guidance and other tools; I must rely on Jesus Christ, my family and close friends. If I go alone, I get defeated. I suffer hurt. I am left for dead. And even when Batman was alone, he had a utility belt with neat toys to protect him. My utility belt consists of the Word of God (my Bible), prayer, fellowship, and humility (knowing that I need the help, knowing my weaknesses, and seeking to build on the strength from God).
Batman wears a mask to hide his identity. Looking at that psychologically, it is a symbolism for Bruce Wayne (Batman) hiding his feelings and/or true self. In the movies; Batman is running away from the past; the death of his parents and how painful it still is. His anger fuels his passion for justice and that sometimes wars against his convictions and ethics. He longs for closeness, has many acquaintances, yet very few close friends. I am the same; sometimes I am fueled by anger, I long for intimate relationships (friendships) and have very few and select such relationships. I have many acquaintances, however, because of former trust issues; it’s hard for me to develop intimacy in some relationships. (That sometimes includes my relationship with God). Yes, I do love Him and trust Him, but there remains time where my past failed trust issues rears its ugly head and Satan tries to make me believe it is only a matter of time before God breaks my trust. (Note: God will NEVER break His promises or betray our trust in Him.) I am sure there are some of you who are reading this that can relate.
To me, Batman is someone who is believable and approachable. He makes himself available to those he serves. Batman makes his case and makes sure all involved are on the same page. He also allows others to help him by offering insight and suggestions to meet the need at hand. Because he allows this interaction to take place, things happen for the best; the bad guys get locked up and the city of Gotham can rest easier. In my case, I want to work with those I serve. I don’t want rule over; I want to work by their side and I want the work to be a joint effort. I want my congregation to feel comfortable in coming to me for ANY reason. I expect it because I will approach them as needed and completely out of love for them.
There are other ways I relate to Batman, but one thing remains: as much as I like Batman, he is not the One I aspire to be like. That, my dear friends, is reserved for Jesus. You see, as good as Batman is; he’s not Jesus. Jesus is the One I want to truly be identified with. I want to have His love for man, the ability to transform lives by rehabilitation in thinking and actions. I desire to point people towards God and His saving grace more so than condemn them. I want others to see their potential instead of their failures. I want to work by the sides of my congregation and others to further the kingdom of God for His glory.
I will never have superpowers like Superman, Wolverine, Spiderman, or The Hulk; however, I can still be a hero to others through the power of Jesus Christ. Who I am and what I am is all due to the grace and love of Christ. The world needs more heroes. Are you willing to be one?
We are nothing without You. However, we are heroes because of You and Your love towards us. Help us to reach out to the world around us and see the needs, meet the needs and to fight for what is right in Your eyes and not our own. May we draw our strength and desire from You and to not rest on our own powers. Let us work together with those You bring into our lives for support, guidance, and understanding. Let Your great mercy flow through us as we deal with those who choose to do evil towards Your people and if they seek forgiveness, allow us to be good students of Your love. We ask this in Jesus’ Name, Amen.