Guest Contributing Writer :
Rev. Genciano Clotter—Emmanuel Baptist Church Brooklyn, NY
This stars a young boy named Aang,who is an avatar, that is frozen in ice for 100 years. Aang has the ability to manipulate elements and is in charge of keeping the world balanced and peaceful. Though Aang is a fairly lovable character, I found myself drawn to the story of the antagonist character—Zuko. Zuko is a young man who was banished from his homeland by his father and charged with finding the avatar in order to restore his honor.
Aided by his Uncle Iroh, (my favorite character by far), Zuko tried and failed to capture the avatar. In the midst of Zuko’s attempts, his uncle would advise him to make better decisions and shared his wisdom with him. Zuko was so obsessed with winning the approval of his father and ridding himself of the shame — he inadvertently committed more shameful acts.
As I saw the humanity in Zuko, I realized that trying to impress the wrong person could lead you down the wrong path. The bible says “seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all things will be given to you.” In essence, don’t try to impress someone and shame God. Impress God enough that God connects you with the right someone. That goes for every relationship, romantic, friendship, careers, etc.
What’s even more interesting is the fact that while Zuko was at his worse, his Uncle Iroh was always by his side. When we tell the story of our lives, we like to consider ourselves either the hero(ine) or the victim. But if we are honest with ourselves, we can admit that there are times where we are the villains. We are the bad co-worker, the bad boyfriend/girlfriend, bad best friend, etc. But yet we are never abandoned. Just like Zuko wasn’t abandoned, God never leaves us nor forsake us even when we aren’t acting right. Iroh was committed to stick with Zuko while he was trying to make sense of his life and decisions.
At the end of Avatar, Aang needed someone to teach him fire-bending. He had no where to turn and all of a sudden Zuko, the one who pursued him and tried to capture him, asked for forgiveness and offered to teach Aang. He also took each member of Aang’s team on their own separate adventures into helping them find their own closure. All the while sharing the wisdom his Uncle shared with him.
For all the Zuko’s out there trying to impress the wrong people for the honor only God can give you, first realize you are fearfully and wonderfully made! Don’t try to impress anyone! Just live up to the brilliance that God has put into you. If you made mistakes, don’t beat yourself up about it. God is still with you. We are all a working progress, so you don’t need to be perfect. However, as for forgiveness and work to right your wrong. Embrace all the ways God shows Godself to you and use that wisdom. Your story of redemption can lead others to redeeming themselves.