“It’s not about you.”
This line changes Doctor Strange and leads him to give his life over and over in a time loop in order to save the world. This simple line is also the defining characteristic of every superhero. Throughout the Infinity Saga, we repeatedly see the Avengers selflessly throw themselves into harm’s way in order to save others. Some even make the ultimate sacrifice to protect the universe.
The line, “It’s not about you,” doesn’t just apply to fictional superheroes, however; this applies to real-life heroes as well. Our military put their lives at risk to protect our country. Law enforcement and emergency workers place their community before themselves. During the time of the COVID-19 epidemic, doctors and nurses tirelessly care for the sick at the risk of their own health. This lesson is also the basis of parenthood: putting the needs of your children before your own. We sacrifice time, money, sleep, and anything necessary for the ones we love. This is also a core aspect of the Gospel.
Just as none of the Avengers had to become superheroes and risk their lives to save the world, neither did God have to enter into human history as Jesus of Nazareth to save humanity; but since God loves us so much, he did. Jesus did not come as a conqueror or a king, as many people of his day thought their Messiah would. No, Jesus came as a servant—a suffering servant who gave his life for us. He had nothing to gain from it; Jesus sacrificed himself because he loves us.
No Greater Love
As followers of Jesus, we are called to do the same as Christ did for us. We must give of ourselves sacrificially, to put others before ourselves. Here are some biblical examples:
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” — John 15:13 (NIV)
“No one should seek their own good, but the good of others . . . I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.” — 1 Corinthians 10:24, 33 (NIV)
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” — Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV)
This last scripture illustrates an important component of the Christian life of sacrifice: humility. While heroism may draw rewards and accolades, true heroes give and serve simply out of love. Even followers of Christ can elevate certain types of Christians, such as missionaries and evangelists, as examples of truly successful Christians. But God does not value human ideals of success; he simply desires faithfulness (Matthew 25:21). The Christian life is not embodied in grand actions or social media “likes,” but by denying ourselves daily and following Jesus (Luke 9:23). Recall that Jesus was reviled by the religious leaders of his day. He did not die a glorious hero’s death on the battlefield; he was stripped naked, beaten, and executed like a common criminal. And in doing so, Jesus brought salvation to the world.
True heroism is not having great powers and abilities; it is putting the needs of others before our own. This is also the main characteristic of a Christian. Just as Christ gave his life for us, we must also do the same: to give, to serve, and to love others. We do this not out of a desire for recognition and glory, but simply to be faithful followers of Christ. It’s very easy to get absorbed in our own lives—our jobs, our families, our problems. But whenever this happens, remind yourself of the most important line of the Infinity Saga, which teaches us the true essence of love and heroism: “It’s not about you.”
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