Writers, at least the good ones, have something in common. They are able to bring characters to life and give them personalities that compel an emotion in the reader. Bland personalities, or people toward the center in their ability to overcome some danger or moral dilemma, are relegated to minor roles and make only cameo appearances. Heroes and villains, those are the ones that cause us to turn the page and keep reading. They are the persons of interest to us. But, what makes a hero and what makes a villain? Why do we look forward to seeing Dudley Doright pull Sweet Nell from the railroad tracks and Snydley Whiplash placed in irons? (You can tell by the last reference I spent a considerable amount of time in my formative years watching TV cartoons.)
I contend that within man is a desire, no much more than desire, an internal quest for peace. It may well be the tap root of man’s desires but one that rarely receives top billing. Romance, money, fame, power, position…these are the lusts of man and the plots of countless books, plays and movies. But, to what end? Are they not pavers on the road to what man really seeks…peace? Consider the 23rd Psalm and the longing of King David’s heart. The imagery is of a peaceful meadow beside water without a ripple and an ever watchful protector. Peace…you can almost taste it.
Consider also the words of Jesus. “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you…” Notice there is no promise of the things we strive for in the above list of the lusts of man. Why? I believe the answer is because deep down we desire peace more than any of those things.
If you follow this premise about peace then the next question that follows is, “How can I receive peace?” Let’s see what the prophet Isaiah has to say about peace: The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever. (Isaiah 32:17 NKJ)
Hmmm, I think the old prophet may be on to something here. There is a link between righteousness and peace. A shirt pocket definition of righteousness is “being in your right mind.” Not bad, huh? But, when are we in our right mind? Is it not when we are in agreement with God and when we choose to follow the teachings of The Word and the leadership of The Holy Spirit? Now we’re cooking.
I bet if you look at almost any heroic action you will find a scripture or Biblical teaching behind it. Conversely, find a villain and you find a violation of what the Bible says about good and evil, right and wrong.
In the third book of The Peacemakers Series, “Season of Justice,” one of the heroes goes off the rails with his righteousness. In other words, he’s not in his right mind and suffers mightily for it. But don’t worry too much… After all, he’s a hero.