Like most everyone this past weekend or so, I started watching the Marvel Netflix series Luke Cage. And while I haven’t binge watched it all the way through like some (I’m still a couple of episodes from finishing), I have watched a good amount of episodes since its release. (FYI, there maybe minor spoilers but nothing major ahead)
And while there are a lot of things to think through with this series, there is one that my mind keeps going back to. This is due in large part to one character in the series. That character is one of the major villains of the series by the name of Willis Stryker aka Diamondback. Many times throughout the episodes that Stryker is on screen he is either quoting Scripture or he’s holding a Bible in his hand.
The backstory of both Stryker and Luke Cage are linked due to the fact of both of them having the same father. That father also happened to be a preacher who had an affair with his secretary which led to the birth of Stryker. Stryker resented Luke and the “sins of the father” would later come to terrorize both Luke and the people of Harlem.
Stryker is unfortunately a reminder that you cannot separate the story of the Old Testament with the New Testament. Much of what Stryker quotes is Old Testament. He seems to live by the code of ‘eye for an eye’ or even more so a perverted sense of justice. He hasn’t really known much about the New Testament and grace. I would imagine the Bible that he carries around Him doesn’t get opened much around the Gospels.
To translate it from the small screen to real life, I think a lot of us live with the sense of wanting vengeance. When we are wronged, we want justice. It is that reminder that deep down there is a true moral right and standard. However, because we all have a sinful nature, it tends to skew it sometimes away from justice and more towards vengeance. The Apostle Paul reminds us in Romans 12:19 “never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine I will repay,’ says the Lord.” God is the only one who can rightly judge in the end. We are to called to forgive, even when we have been deeply wronged.
One of the hardest things in the world to do is forgive. We see that in stories in TV shows like Luke Cage and in books and movies. We see it in real life. When we’re wronged, the default in being hurt is to rage and want revenge. But like for Willis Stryker, it consumes you and you lose out on all the good that you can be. Watching this series has reminded me of how much grace and forgiveness is needed in this world today.