Everyone loves good guys. Who isn’t inspired by the life of Daniel, Joseph, Jonathan or the beloved apostle John? While their good examples show us better, higher paths, sometimes a bad example is just as revealing as a good one.
Enter the Bible bad guys.
Here’s why I love them:
1. Bad guys serve as warning signs.
Life is complex and difficult to navigate, that’s for sure. It demands warning signs simply because there are pitfalls everywhere. No one plans to shipwreck their faith, fracture their family, or wound their own soul, but sometimes these things overtake us without the advantage of an honest-to-goodness negative example. I say bring on the bad guys. They’ve left behind treasures for us in their flotsam and jetsam.
2. Bad guys expose and unmask the bad guy I deal with every day, my flesh.
That bully is an imposter and a master of deception. He relentlessly tries to get me to think that he’s my true identity instead of who I am in Christ. He knows how to make himself look good and sound good (he’s religious). He’s a justifier, a compromiser, and a manipulator. I like knowing exactly what I’m dealing with so I can, well…deal with it.
3. Bad guys help me understand that a shipwrecked life is never the result of a single bad decision but a process.
The dramas played out in these characters reveal telltale patterns like:
- Results oriented thinking
- Running ahead of the Lord
- Counterfeit piety
- Wrong priorities and focus
- Trusting our own devotion
- Obsessive thinking
- Pretenses of devotion
- Taking matters into our own hands
- The mishandling of our wounds
- Living for the moment
- Religious behavior
I need strong bad examples as well as the good ones to finish well.
Like many I suppose, I learned an awful lot the hard way, but thank God, it isn’t always meant to be that way. There are times I learn well from a really bad example. As I examine the lives of Bible bad guys through the lens of the Gospel, the finished work of Christ, I become better equipped to avoid pitfalls and to safely navigate the storms of life.
To all you Bible bad guys, thank you. You give me hope.
Get your copy of Shipwrecked! Learning From The Bible Bad Guys at: Amazon.com