Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Bullseye vs. Daredevil: the Man without Fear!

Way back in the early 1980's, a young punk named Frank Miller showed up, and took a bi-monthly title and turned it into a film-noir Greek tragedy filled with Camel-smoking newsmen, girlfriend assassins, deadly ninjas and clueless law partners. The comic? Daredevil: The Man Without Fear.

To overstate its impact on my generation of geeks is impossible. We were thrust into a gritty city jungle that former generations knew well, but we suburbanites visiting our local 7-11 had not a clue of. It was dark and dangerous. No longer was Daredevil (DD or "old Hornhead" as Stan taught us to call him) a "poor man's Spider-Man". No. Miller made us grow up fast - learning that our red clad humanitarian lawyer had issues and a past. At times hurt by his father, a boxer by profession, growing up in a single-parent home, Matt Murdock made us see the darker side of life and how heroism is found in overcoming it.

What made it all the more compelling is our discovery of a college girlfriend, Elektra Natchos, who becomes an accomplished martial artist then turns assassin after her father's murder. In an amazingly brutal fight for the comics code authority, she meets her match in Bullseye, one of DD's deadliest foes, and is killed.

Daredevil sets a trap for him, beats the stuffing out of him, and as DD grabs Bullseye to rescue him from a terrible fall, he tries to stab our hero, who then finally let's go, saying, "You will never hurt anyone, ever again!"

Every bone in Bullseye's body is broken, but he lives. Daredevil did not kill him, but put an end to his evil.

So, what does this have to do with the blog title?

A "Bullseye" wrote me a letter yesterday, out of the blue. A highly professional criminal of great skill and talent has been reformed by Jesus Christ.

(I know, this sounds strangely familiar to what I shared Monday, right? Complain to God - I got this letter the day after I wrote that blog!)

He wanted to thank me for showing him Christ's love and teaching at DuPage County Jail. He shared that he had lived a very successful life of crime up until recently.

He fit no tragic model. He had had 1) Loving parents, 2) Straight A's in school and 3) Been "confirmed" at the age of 13, yet he did nothing except pursue evil his entire life. Theft, porn, drugs, you name it.

In this letter he flatly states: "I was 'good' as a criminal. Though I commited multiple crimes, I was only caught once." He had travelled worldwide, was a high-roller at more than one Vegas casino, and "had it all": girls, cars, etc.

He was blinded by his inner darkness, his sin. He wrote that when we met and I shook his hand, something strange happened. He said he felt loved and peaceful. (I credit THAT to the Holy Spirit, though I know what he means. Soemtimes I feel the Spirit on another so strong I start grinning like a school girl!)

He said his mother had prayed for him, and he did try to read the Bible before, but it was useless. "It was like something was keeping me from reading it." Now caught and facing 25-30 years in prison, he began to earnestly pray "God - if you are real, help me!" He said it was a selfish prayer, but God seemed to answer him.

He went to my class the next day. We sang "I Love You Lord". I talked like I always do about Christ's love and power. After my class, he went up to his cell and read the entire book of John in one sitting.

This guy has a serious mind and a serious work ethic (e.g. "I was highly organized, efficient and a hard worker, Justice.") What once led him into darkness was now being used by God to lead him into light.

He wept and confessed his sins to God. He felt the pain of his sins and of his victims for the first time. He understood the Bible for the FIRST time. He gave his life to Jesus Christ. We he awoke in the morning he writes, "I felt a peace that I had not felt in years!"

I understand. One theologian has said "We are only beggars leading other beggars to bread."

Like blind Bartimaeus outside of Jericho, we cry out "Jesus, son of David! Have mercy on me!"

Who's REALLY blind? The Bullseyes of this world or Daredevils? The ones who reach out to take what they want from others, or those who give and sacrifice no matter what the cost, working through the pain?

"If you were blind, you would see. But now that you say 'We see!' your blindness remains."

Jesus said that in John 9, in talking to the know-it-alls, the unbelieving rulers of God's people.

The message for you dear reader today is this: if you want to become a Man Without Fear, you are going to have to admit your need.

"Perfect love casteth out all fear!" says John the apostle and that "God is love."

If you want to be truly fearless, you need to know God. You do that by accepting Jesus Christ as the covering for your sins.

Oh - final note: my new brother in Christ was brought before the judge the following week. His crime was reduced to a lesser charge. Instead of 30 years in prison, he will be out in less than 5 years with good behavior. We may even see him in half of that time.

He credits the Lord with this great mercy. He credits me with helping him see Him. He now wants to do something to aid victims like the ones he has hurt once he is released.

Wow.

Well, that's what blind men are for: getting others to call out to Jesus -


- the only Man truly without Fear. ;)


Amen.

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