There’s a crucial scene in Man of Steel where a bully is picking on a sheepish 11-year-old Clark Kent, who clearly wants no trouble, even though he knows full well he could punch the larger, older bully into next week. The kid stands over Clark, calling him nasty names, when an accident causes the bus they are on to careen into the nearby river. So what does Clark do? He risks his own future and anonymity, and uses his power to save the entire bus, including the drowning bully.
With so many themes to explore in the film, this one stood out to me, not just because of its timeliness as society rails against the prevalent bully mentality, but because it raises the important issue of honor.
Those kids treated Clark the way they did because they could not see past his difference to his gift. They did not honor who he was. What he possessed inside him was far more extraordinary than any of them could imagine, but because they looked at him through contempt and judgment – and some through fear – they missed out on a relationship that could have greatly enriched all their lives…. One that ultimately SAVED their lives. Instead, Clark grew up lonely, traveling the world as an outcast, not believing – until Lois came along – that his gift had value in the eyes of humans. That HE had value in the eyes of humans.
We can’t always see the gift in other people. Sometimes they’re different, sometimes they’re unconventional, sometimes they’re downright annoying… But you never know when you’re encountering a Clark Kent; someone with an extraordinary gift inside that just needs to know they have value. That they matter.
So to me the scene served as mental slap of sorts: we don’t have to like everybody, but we should treat them with honor, if for no other reason than they, too, were created by God for a purpose. Every. Single. One. Of. Them.
And, who knows? That purpose might just be to save our life…
Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God.
1 Peter 2:17a
Man of Steel
Copyright: Warner Brothers, 2013
Starring: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Russell Crowe, et al
Directed by: Zach Snyder
Written by: David S. Goyer