For those of you who haven’t seen The Lego Batman Movie yet, spoilers will follow. You have been warned.
Batman’s newest incarnation on the screen may be his best yet as Will Arnett and the creative team behind The Lego Movie take on the dark knight. But one of my favorite lines from the entire movie came from the Gotham’s Clown Prince of Crime, the Joker himself.
If you watched the movie you remember that Joker is obsessed with Batman. He wants to one-up Batman because he wants to be noticed. He wants to be hated, he wants to be Batman’s “greatest villain.” And that’s the problem. Batman is so self-obsessed and self-absorbed that he doesn’t have time for any relationships, including a “relationship” with an arch-rival.
Joker is noticeably hurt after being spurned by Batman, leading him to utter one of the movie’s most powerful lines (and I’m paraphrasing here):
“You know, you were right Batman. I’m not your greatest enemy. Your greatest enemy is YOU.”
I don’t know that we’ll ever hear the Batman’s arch-nemesis preach a truer sermon. Your greatest enemy is you.
The truth is that’s not just true for the Caped Crusader. It’s true for me, and it’s true for you. All of us are tempted to think our greatest enemies our outside of us: ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Republicans, Democrats, global warming, poverty, homelessness, civil rights, racism, bigotry, liberalism, abortion, etc. etc. etc.
But the truth is much harder to swallow. The truth is not that we don’t have an archenemy. The truth is our archenemy lives a little closer to home. The truth is our archenemy is nothing outside of us. It’s inside of us.
Until you recognize your greatest enemy is you, you’ll never look outside of yourself for help and hope.
Until you recognize your greatest enemy is you, you’ll never look to the One who can transform you from the inside out.
Until you recognize your greatest enemy is you, you’ll keep clinging to saviors that are smaller than Jesus.
Until you believe the bad news that Joker preached, you’ll never be ready for the Good News that Jesus preached.
The truth is we are our own worst enemies. But in Christ, that enemy has been defeated. In Christ, we have been crucified and reborn (Galatians 2:20). But we’ll never cry out to this Jesus in repentance and faith until we believe the message that Joker preached: your greatest enemy is you.
© M. Hopson Boutot, 2017