To love a hero we must respect and appreciate the villains. Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to glorify the bad guys, but they are essential to our most beloved hero’s stories. Some of the greatest heroes wouldn’t be the same if not for their villainous counterparts. Batman has the Joker. Superman has Lex Luthor. In one of the greatest stories ever told, mankind’s greatest hero also had an important malefactor. Jesus had Judas Iscariot, and many others.

Although a thief and someone synonymous with betrayal, Judas played an essential part in God’s plan to bring all of mankind back to salvation. But was Judas a real villain or a pawn in a spiritual battle of good and evil? In the book of John chapter 13:27, it reads: “As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.” After the betrayal, Judas was overwhelmed with guilt. Overwhelmed to the point he took his own life. Should Judas be held accountable for the actions that night? Or, was Satan motivating and orchestrating Judas like a puppet master?

Judas was never described as a good man at any point. Actually, not much is known about the disciple that would be considered a traitor to the Messiah for the rest of time. There is very little in the way of how Jesus came to add him to the 12 closest people He would share the last and most important years of His life with. But what we do get a good look at it is just how much Satan used Judas in an attempt to sway Jesus’ decision to turn from the cross. However, Satan would soon find those attempts futile.

Would Jesus’ story be the same if there wasn’t treachery and deceit on His way to Calvary? Perhaps. But I believe it is a story many can relate to. Protagonist versus Antagonist is a tale as old as time. Cain and Able. David and Goliath. David and Saul. Sampson. Gideon. The list goes on and on in regards to heroes and their villains.

I am sure you have identified your villain or villains. Next time, instead of seeing them negatively, maybe you will be able to thank them for making you a better hero in your life’s story. I feel I am supposed to tell you to pray for them and forgive them. That is the right thing to do. Truthfully, I understand just how difficult that can be. True forgiveness can be one of the most difficult things for humans to do. We can however, pray for guidance on how to deal with each situation as they come along. We can pray that God opens their eyes and hearts to reveal the strings the enemy has attached to them and using them for his own enjoyment.

Just like the villains in the movies and the bible, our villains do their very best to draw out our worst. If we refocus our view of them and realize there is a possibility they, like Judas, can be used by the enemy to try and steal your peace and potentially your soul, we can be better prepared for their next attack. It helps to look at our villains as potential growth for our character and spirit. Remember, love and respect are very different. We don’t have to love villains, but we can respect how our villains make us better. Do you appreciate your villains more now?