“I’ve got red in my ledger; I’d like to wipe it out”
I got this phrase from the movie Avengers. If you have watched the movie, you would probably remember the part when The Black Widow says to Loki that she’s got red in her ledger and would like to wipe it out.
Well, I am no super spy or hitman but I do have Red in my ledger… big time. For some people, it is easy for them to imagine all the red has been wiped out anytime they want to and start over. But can you really wipe it out so easily, especially when some of us have ledgers full of red?
Loki’s response to the Black widow really got me. He says, “Can you? Can you wipe out that much red? Drakoff’s daughter? Sao Paulo? The hospital fire? Barton told me everything. Your ledger is dripping –it’s gushing red– and you think saving a man no more virtuous than yourself will change anything? This is the basest sentimentality. This is a child at prayer. Pathetic… you pretend to be separate, to have your own code, something that makes up for the horrors. But they are a part of you, and they will NEVER go away.”
This statement obviously really got to the Black Widow and Loki knew it. Sometimes, it is easy for us to believe, to hope, that by doing the slightest good, it would wipe away tons of our bad deeds. For those of us that are religious, we probably feel more than hope, maybe security, that we are different from the rest of the world and that maybe by doing something that seems incredibly virtuous, we wipe away all our red. Maybe it would. Maybe it won’t. A lot of maybes. In the Black Widow’s case, she tried to save the Hulk and also save the world. Maybe that is a lot of good. One that no one would probably ever get the chance to do in a lifetime. Maybe if she is repentant, her “red” would get wiped out. But does this mean that she won’t go back to doing bad any more? If she gets a job to kill someone else, she would probably do it again, regardless of who she might be hurting. Hence, she gets more Red. And the cycle continues.
We all get caught up in that endless cycle of doing bad and trying to atone and re-dress our sins. Sometimes it gets so frustrating slipping back in the same old mess you probably tried so hard to clear out from your ledger. In this world we live in, sometimes the “red” seems like “white” and it can be so confusing and discouraging. Reconciling our bad deeds is not as easy as dealing with a balance sheet, trust me.
If you believe in God, regardless of your religion, you probably have comfort in the message of God’s limitless mercy. Lucky us, I must say. But we also seem to forget His Anger and wrath too. If there is one thing we hope for is that His mercy continues to shine on us. But We get engrossed in our daily religious practices without really understanding what we are doing any more that they become nothing short of just rituals. Wearing your hijab, going to church every Sunday etc won’t clear out anything if we don’t make an assiduous effort to become better people.
The movie does not actually proffer any solution as to how to clear “the red in your ledger”. The Black Widow says she’s got bad and Loki only points out the bad and taunts her by saying how pathetic her beliefs are and how they would never go away because they are a part of her.
In total, I think clearing out the “red in our ledgers” starts with us not confessing to people but to God. It was only when she said it out that Loki sneered at her. If we really think about it, Loki is probably also admonishing himself. I mean, he has got enormous red in HIS ledger!!! Sometimes, people hurt you when they see you trying to do different because they obviously can’t bring themselves to do the good things you are trying to do. He can’t bring himself to do good so he has accepted his fate and he believes that he cannot change. So he is the monster. When you expose yourself to others, they hastily reproach you because, sometimes, they see themselves in you. Instead of encouraging you, they would rather debase you. After all, it is better for you to be at their level or lower. They cannot stand to see you any better than themselves.
We have also got to be really repentant for doing bad in the first. Secondly, whether or not people sneer or mock you, you have to make up your mind to do whatever you want to do. The stuff Loki said didn’t stop the Black Widow from doing exactly what she wanted, the RIGHT thing.
And lastly, never go back to that particular thing that made you put red in your ledger. 🙂
So what if doing good and trying to stay on the right path won’t clear out all the red in our ledgers instantly? What if they are going to stay with us for the rest of our lives? Well, it would better to be doing good than piling up bad. It is a start in the right direction, isn’t it?
Hell yeah, we would probably never forget the awful things we have done. They might make us cry or make us shudder with fear of Karma or God’s punishment. Hey, we were not created angels. We are Human. Perfectly Human.
I’ve got red in my ledger and I’m wiping it out…ASAP. In-Shaa-Allah.
You should too. Don’t let anyone tell you different. 😉