Even though my kids are both grown, we thought it would be fun for the whole family to go see Incredibles II for Fathers’ Day. The story picks up right where the original Incredibles movie ended, which I think was a great idea. In the original movie, the Parr family had grappled with living with powers that other people didn’t have. Some people loved the “Supers” and thought they did much to make the world a better place. Others feared them because they were different or blamed them for the damage done while they were trying to stop bad people from doing bad things. At some point, using super powers had become illegal, and the Parr family was forced to hide who they really were.
In the new movie, using super powers is still illegal. Bob and Helen Parr (aka Mr. and Mrs. Incredible) are trying to find a balance between helping others, obeying laws they don’t agree with, and protecting their family. It’s not an easy task when their teenage daughter, Violet, is trying to fit in at school, their pre-teen son, Dash, is a barely controllable ball of energy, and their baby, Jack-Jack, is … well that’s hard to explain without seeing the movie, but even a normal baby requires a lot of attention. When Helen is offered a chance to come back into the light and use her super powers to try to convince people to change the “anti-Supers” laws, the family dynamics become even crazier.
In the United States today, some people fear there may soon be “anti-Christian” laws. In fact, laws in some states which protect the rights of homosexual and transgender individuals are already being used to try and silence Christians who disagree with them. As the Supreme Court reminded us earlier this month, the times are changing and laws which affect Christian speech and actions are changing with them. The time may come—much sooner than we imagine—when Christians everywhere will have to choose between obeying the laws and living according to their faith.
In Incredibles II, Helen Parr has no desire to break the law unless doing so would serve a higher purpose. In the first movie, she was willing to “suit up” to save her husband’s life. In this second movie, she “suits up” to be an advocate for changing laws she believes are unfair and not in anyone’s best interests.
As Christians, we should also respect the law of the land as much as we can. The Bible tells us, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities” (Romans 13:1a). But it also says, “the one in authority is God’s servant for your good,” and “rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong.” (Romans 13:3-4). So what do we do when the rules favor those who do wrong in God’s eyes and punish those who do right?
Like the Parr family, we may have some tough decisions to make about how to live in a society that fears and marginalizes us because of our beliefs. However, there’s one important lesson we can learn from the “supers,” and that is to MINIMIZE THE COLATERAL DAMAGE. Fighting bad guys can be messy, and people can get hurt. Fighting sin can be messy, too. If we try to win our battles at any cost, a lot of people who don’t understand what we’re doing will be hurt. Instead of seeing the good we’re trying to do in the world, all they will see is the damage.
So the next time you “suit up” to fight for something you believe in, ask yourself what kind of damage you might do in the minds and hearts of people who need to make a decision about following Jesus. What is the good you are trying to achieve? What is the harm you might cause?
The world needs us. It needs our core values. But mostly, people need Jesus. Remember that the next time you “suit up.”
What is my mission as an author? The goal dearest to my heart is to help Christians think about what they really believe and then to act as if they believe it. It all begins with understanding what it means to be a Christian. Then we have to learn to live like a Christian.