To a child everything is black and white. The good guys are good, the bad guys are bad, and there is no in-between. The reality, however, is much more complicated. I realized this over the last few days as we've been watching movies like Spiderman and The Princess Bride. Malachi always wanted to know, "Is he bad?" For the sake of watching the movie, it was easiest to tell him yes. But sometimes the bad guys do something good, like Doctor Octopus at the end of Spiderman 2, when he sacrifices his dreams and his life to destroy the evil machine he had created. Or in The Princess Bride -- Inigo and Fezzik begin as "bad guys", kidnapping the princess in order to help start a war, but in the end they rescue her true love from death, and thus rescue her as well. Meanwhile, the good guys are not always so good. Prince Humperdink, who ought to be the good guy, ends up being the ultimate bad guy by the end of the movie (that would also be The Princess Bride for anyone who isn't familiar with it). And Spiderman lets anger and revenge become his focal points for a time in the third movie, causing him to do things that are not "good". Then of course, you have his best friend Harry who sort of goes back and forth being being a "good guy" and being a "bad guy". It all gets very gray, doesn't it?
As adults, we know there are reasons people do the things they do. Sure, some people are greedy or selfish. But others are acting out of hurt. Someone hurt them, and now they are hurting other people. And then, to top it off, Christ asks us to love them all -- the good, the bad...and the ugly. And He tells us "There is none righteous, no, not one" (Romans 3:10), which means that in God's eyes, we are basically all bad guys. Not one of us is good. Not without Christ, who is really the ONLY good guy. And He is the only Hero who can save us all. Try explaining that to a four year old!