As I’m sure many of you did, my wife and I saw Suicide Squad in theaters last week. I haven’t been impressed with any of DC’s movies lately, so I went into this one with fairly low expectations. I’m also not a fan of villains. It seems to be a common trend these days to idolize the bad guys. People like villains—the misunderstood criminals, the anti-heroes, the rebels. In Suicide Squad, Amanda Waller’s team of hardened criminals—including Deadshot (a lethal assassin), Harley Quinn (the Joker’s psychotic girlfriend), and Killer Croc (a mutated murderer)—are portrayed as victims as much as they are villains. Even though I’m not a fan of villains, there's still some good to be found in many of these bad guys.
One character in particular piqued my interest—El Diablo. He's the most broken of the bunch. El Diablo is no less a killer than the rest of the squad, but he's filled with regrets over his past mistakes. He first used his ability to create and control fire to establish himself as a gang leader. But then, in a moment of anger, he lost control of his powers, tragically burning down his own home with his wife and children inside. From then on, he viewed his powers as a curse from Satan and refused to light up. In fact, when Amanda Waller first drafts the guy, he says, "I ain't no weapon. I’ll die in peace before I raise my hand." Even so, El Diablo seems to think that he is beyond redemption. Later in the film, he reminisces about his wife praying on his behalf. But then adds, “God didn’t give me these powers. Why should He take them away.” El Diablo feels swallowed up by guilt and regret.
I think El Diablo is the most relatable member of the team. We all make mistakes. The frustrating thing about life is that it always moves forward. There is no "R" on the stick-shift, no reverse in the gears. Time never moves backward, not an inch, not a step, never. Therefore a deed once done, can never be undone. A word once spoken, can never be unsaid. As a result, all of us live with certain regrets. We may even begin to think God could never forgive us. But the truth is—no one is beyond God’s grace.
David probably felt much like El Diablo. In a moment of weakness David commits adultery with Bathsheba. Afraid that his sin will be discovered, he then sends her husband on his own suicide mission and orders his fellow soldiers to abandon him on the battlefield. All this scheming takes its toll, however. David later describes this season of secret sin in graphic terms: “When I refused to admit my wrongs, I was miserable, moaning and complaining all day long so that even my bones felt brittle. Day and night, Your hand kept pressing on me. My strength dried up like water in the summer heat; You wore me down” (Psalm 32:3-4 TV).
Sleepless nights. Haunting guilt. David was a walking wreak, living in a swirl of misery. That’s what living with guilt does to you. Thankfully, David’s story doesn’t end there and neither should yours. David finally confessed his sins to God and sought forgiveness. Psalm 51 is David’s prayer of repentance. He writes, “Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin” (Psalm 51:1-2 NLT). That’s just what God did. He washed away David’s sins and restored a sense of joy and purpose to David’s life. He can do the same for you!
No matter what you’ve done, no matter how dark or horrible the sins of your past may be, God can take away your guilt and give you a new purpose in life. Bad guys can become good guys after all.