Hello Rose (good morning or afternoon to you! 😊)
Thank you again for raising this important topic. It is so good to have these conversations to make us clarify and examine the seeds of stories.
You could use it for a character arc where the “hero” finds out that they were wrong/evil because they were defining their own morals.
I do think it is interesting, and, in fact, quite common for even faith-holding characters, who “know the good they should do” ( Jam. 4:17, Rom. 7:23 & 1 Tim. 1:8-9) to misunderstand or “reason it out” in their own human thinking alone and then take a path to what they think is “the good”, only to find that they did not rely on God’s direction and find themselves doing something that causes hardship and pain. They miss the yielding to the Spirit’s leading.
I think of Abraham and Sarah, trying to reason out how God was going to make Abraham the “father of many” when they were both in their nineties. Sarah came up with a plan to have Abraham take Hagar as a surrogate, to “achieve” what she had secretly laughed at when the angels told Abraham of the promise. Now, out of that the Jewish nation (from Isaac) and the Arabs nations (from Ishmael) have been in conflict ever since. Isaac’s very name means “laughter”, because of Sarah’s incredulity.
Saul, before he had the Damascus road experience and was renamed Paul, “thought” he was performing “good” to pursue and expose and capture the errant “Christian” sect before Jesus confronted him.
In my own WIP, my main character is gravely mistaken in what he believes to be his mission in being brought back into “The Mid-World” to lead a group of his fellow Surface Worlders in a quest. His personal reasoning, while well-intentioned, almost gets his entire team killed, because he is fixated on rectifying the wrong he had done on the prior quest, where he had been one of the “followers” under prior leadership. He is obsessed with retrieving the one Virtue stone from the dangerous villain that his action had led to the creature’s possession of it. He fears failure so much that it cripples him in his building trust with his team, and hampers his leadership. Because of his carrying the guilt of his own past sins as his own penance, he gains no clarity until he is forced to forgive himself and let God take the burden on His shoulders and apply the blood payment for the sin it was. This MC has a problem of trying to be his own savior, and that is idolatry and God claims that position alone. This is my MC’s main character arc. His greatest villain, even though there are some very bad ones in the story, is himself and his own inability to surrender his guilt to God. That is a problem of “well-intentioned” characters, that I felt compelled to explore. It is what Peter was conveying in the Scripture. God doesn’t give us a choice in His imperative command:
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle [you]. [1 Peter 5:7-10 KJV]
Redemption arcs are wonderful, but there are avenues that have not really been explored in most fiction, and this is one of them. Sometimes we Christians have to come to the place where we recognize that “God’s working in us” is an ongoing process that will reach its promised conclusion, however, we still battle with our old way of thinking and dealing with personal failure. We cannot carry our guilt. Its burden is too heavy. We must surrender it, or we will find ourselves doing more harm to ourselves and others. Jesus must empower our yielded surrender to do works of repentance. (Eph. 3:20-21) But we are no longer under the death threat of it, because of Christ’s accomplished work at the Cross.
[There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. [Romans 8:1 KJV]
The self-condemnation should be a done deal. Jesus took our condemnation upon Himself, paid it with His precious blood, and said, “It is finished.”
For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not be subject again to the yoke of slavery. [Galatians 5:1 NET]
My story has a clash of worldviews. It serves as a converging point where these will ultimately meet on a battlefield because they all seek power and control.
It occurs to me that especially among villains, there are none so dangerous as those who firmly believe they are doing good according to a worldview that does not yield power to The Almighty but rather seeks to take it.
- This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by Brian Stansell. Reason: missing a word
Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
I was born in war.
Fighting from my first breath.