Why does the news tend to be negative? For some reason, I associate "the news" with falling stocks, crooked politicians, crime rates, credit crunches and a looming environmental doomsday. Are these the subjects that are reported on because they most effectively attract the public's attention? It's no wonder people say the news is depressing.
But we need not and should not focus excessively on everything that's wrong with the world. More specifically, we should not surrender to evil as if it is unavoidable or unbeatable.
This is, in essence, Aunt May's message to Peter. Spider Man should go back to work not just to fight crime, but to give people hope (excuse me if this sounds cheesy, but it's true).
This illustrates the fact that the best thing we can do for others is empower them and give them hope. One of the best ways to give people hope is to sacrifice oneself for the good of others.
Everyone, at some point, makes a conscious decision to either surrender to hopelessness or cling to faith. The more difficult choice is to resist evil (I say this to be realistic, not to contradict the purpose of this post) because we are all naturally evil.
Jesus alluded to this when he said, "Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many; but the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few" (Matthew 7:13-14).
It's healthy to acknowledge the things that are wrong with the world as long as we remember the factors that offset these negatives. Americans, for example (as well as whoever else lives in a democratic nation) have the freedom to take all kinds of productive action to inspire others and improve the world. The fact that we are facing difficulty in the U.S. right now does not make us special... every country, including the U.S., has had to deal with some sort of difficulty since its inception. In any case, as long as we have our business taken care of with God, we can resist evil right up to our dying breath and then pass on to the next life with a clear conscience.
Spider Man 2 more poignantly illustrates Peter Parker's struggle with his identity than the other two installments. Spider Man 2 brings us along with Parker as he reaches his breaking point, when he can no longer be Spider Man and Peter Parker at the same time.
Parker possesses an extraordinary ability to help other people, but exercising this ability involves sacrificing many of his own desires. His first impulse is to abdicate his secret identity as Spider Man, and we can hardly blame him. He wants a full and happy life the same as anybody else. And, like anybody else, he can do with his life as he pleases.
But he finds out that living a full life requires that he focus more on others than himself. To his surprise, he is full to the extent that he fills others. Thus the humbled Peter Parker restores his identity as Spider Man.
The kind of heroes, or leaders, the world needs are people who will give up their own well-being for the well-being of others. The beauty of this design (God's design) is, by dying to ourselves we will experience an amazingly full quality of life.
Jesus demonstrated this fact by his death on a cross, which he did for the very same people who beat him and left him to die. This is the unexpected wisdom of God's kingdom... we will have power to change the world if we become powerless to ourselves so that Christ might be powerful through us.