When you and I consider the story of our lives, we probably do not self-identify as the villain. In thinking through our histories, most of us identify as the hero of our tale. And that’s good! We are indeed called to model the heroic attributes of sacrifice, courage, and overcoming love. And yet, every story also has a villain, doesn’t it?
When you reflect on your story you inevitably remember the people who played a villain’s role. These are the people who somehow hurt or derailed you along the way. They weren’t the sages, allies, or comrades that sustained you in your quest, they were villains that wounded or damaged you and forced you to find ways to overcome.
The tragic thing is that these villains often never realized the role they were in. Sure, some of them might have been intentionally deviant or mean, but most of them probably didn’t even realize how negligent or abusive they were being. To this day, they might not know that they were one of the villains that almost took you down.
And if we are deeply honest, we will admit that we too have been the villain in someone else’s life. Recently, Amber and I were talking about relationships and she commented, “Everyone is the villain in someone else’s story.”
I didn’t like those words but they rang true. I have been a villain that other people have had to overcome. I wish it weren’t the case, but it is. Sometimes I mishandled relationships and I deserved my villainous role. At other times, my motives were pure—I genuinely wanted to do the right thing—but people were hurt anyway.
Whether our motives were pure or impure, I think we should each consider: Whose villain have I been? Who is still stumbling because of the wounds they took from me? Is it possible to make amends? Can things ever heal? Perhaps not, but at least we can try. Are we willing?