‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’: Zuko’s Scars and Ours


Avatar is a record-breaking cult classic. No, not the blockbuster film nor the lamentable movie remake, but the animated TV show that debuted in 2005 and recently resurfaced on Netflix.

Avatar: The Last Airbender is a coming-of-age story about a preteen protagonist (Aang) and his friends who seek to end an ongoing war to restore peace on earth. Along the way, they adventure in a fantasy world and discover themselves. But the antagonist’s character arc is undeniably the best. 

Warning: spoilers ahead!

Scarred by Shame

Zuko is a 13-year-old banished from his country by his father (Fire Lord Ozai, king of the Fire Nation) because he dares to speak up against his father’s orders in a war meeting. Zuko may only return from exile and restore his honor under one impossible condition: capture the Avatar (Aang) who has been missing for 100 years. Zuko’s shame is manifested on his face—a glaring burn scar over his left eye from his abusive dad. Though determined to capture the Avatar, Zuko slowly discovers the surprising path he must take to overcome his shame.

The Asia-inspired world of Avatar is the perfect backdrop to highlight honor and shame. Yet shame is universal. Ed Welch defines shame as “that all-too-human experience of worthlessness, failure and not belonging. It can come from what we have done or from what others have done to us.” If guilt tells us we’ve done something bad, shame tells us we are bad, dirty, and unlovable—irredeemably so. Shame shapes our identity and keeps us in hiding (Gen. 2:25; 3:7–8).

If guilt tells us we’ve done something bad, shame tells us we arebad, dirty, and unlovable—irredeemably so. 

Like the leper’s spots (Luke 5:12) and the woman’s persistent blood (Luke 8:43), Zuko’s scar is a constant reminder that he is a failure, a disgrace, a shame.

Scars of shame show up all over Scripture. Look for the outcasts—the Hagars, the Leahs, the barren, the lepers, the tax collectors, the poor—and you’ll see that shame is often God’s preferred setting for redemption (Luke 4:18–19; 7:21–22).

Suffering Servant

Thankfully for Zuko, he doesn’t travel alone. His empathetic, humorous, tea-loving uncle Iroh accompanies him. Iroh gently questions his attitude and decisions, at one point declaring, “Zuko, you must let go of your feelings of shame if you want your anger to go away.”

Iroh is a legendary warrior and the true heir to the Fire Nation throne, but he chooses the disgraced life of a suffering servant to accompany his banished nephew. He reminds us of “the King of glory . . . the LORD, mighty in battle” who became the Suffering Servant, “despised and rejected by men . . . acquainted with grief” (Ps. 24:8Isa. 53:3).

Opting for the lowest rung on the social ladder, Jesus touched the untouchables (Matt. 8:3Mark 7:32–34Luke 7:14–15) and befriended those defined by shame (Luke 7:34).

Stubborn Shame

Yet Zuko’s shame is not easily overcome. At a personal crossroads, Iroh tells Zuko, “You are going through a metamorphosis, my nephew. It will not be a pleasant experience, but when you come out of it, you will be the beautiful prince you were always meant to be.” 

Shame is stubborn. It can’t be purged by material success, positive thinking, or self-affirmation. “Release from shame cannot be earned,” Welch observes. “It comes by being connected to someone of infinite worth.” 

Zuko’s painful metamorphosis from disgraced prince to beloved son hinges on his association with his honorable but dishonored uncle, rather than with his honored but dishonorable father. But he learns this the hard way.

Victimized Victimizer

At a crucial crossroads, Zuko finally corners the Avatar. The chance to restore his honor is within his grasp. But there’s a catch: he has to turn on the only person who ever truly loved him—Iroh. Zuko chooses partnership with his manipulative and murderous sister, Azula, who becomes his advocate before their father. Iroh, in turn, is thrown into prison.

Zuko finally sits at his father’s right hand, but he can’t shake his overwhelming angst. Shame still imprisons him. And when he realizes who he has dishonored, he is wrecked.

At the cross, Jesus was utterly victimized—denied, slandered, abused, abandoned, cursed, and crucified. We can and should see ourselves in Christ’s victimization (Isa. 53:4), but since he bore our sin (1 Pet. 2:24) we must also see ourselves in his victimizers.

We can and should see ourselves in Christ’s victimization, but since he bore our sin we must also see ourselves in his victimizers. 

When Zuko witnesses his uncle’s victimization—caused by his own betrayal—he forges a new path toward honor. He forfeits his royalty to join the Avatar and his friends as they wage war against Zuko’s father. First, though, he must find his uncle, who escaped from prison.

Remaining Scar

In a scene doubtless influenced by the parable of the lost son (Luke 15:11–24), Zuko rehearses his apology before begging for forgiveness. Before he can finish, Uncle Iroh wraps him in a tear-filled embrace and declares, “I was never angry with you. I was sad because I was afraid you’d lost your way.”

With Iroh and his new community, Zuko helps the Avatar win the war. He’s crowned as Fire Lord Zuko. But his scar remains—no longer a symbol of shame but a testament to redemption.

We have scars, too. Is the gospel good-enough news to redeem the scars of our victimizing and our victimization? Christ’s scars shout a resounding, “Yes!” (John 20:27). 

Shame’s grip isn’t broken through our striving, but by our association with the King who became the ultimate outcast (Luke 18:32–33Gal. 3:13). On the cross, he took our shame (Heb. 12:2); at his resurrection, he gave us his honor (John 20:171 Cor. 15:57).

Will we hide our scars or hope in his? 

In Mandarin, the name “Zuko” can mean “failure” or “loved one.” His story is every Christian’s story (Isa. 62:4). Christ’s wounds transform our scars of shame into glorious trophies of grace.

Will we hide our scars or hope in his?

By Quina Aragon |https://www.thegospelcoalition.org

IS GOD WILLING FOR GOOD?


THE SEARCH (POETICAL ECHOES) – Depravity hold the mind of the mortal in darkness. Like Christopher Columbus, we set a path for out feet; Looking, asking, and searching for the truth that will set us free. At long last, her dusty, sinful feet has found a home; to bathe the mind. Wash me thoroughly, make me whole; the living waters of His Christ. Questions looms in her mind, as she has been taught to believe; “Not all things can be handled by the creator” “Every pain and trouble are there to punish us and teach us some lessons”. She had hoped the messiah is very willing to set her free from this addiction. She gathered the courage, asked the preacher man; ” is God willing to set me free?” She listens quietly… these words ; “Sometimes, He put burdens on us to train our spirit.” So God gives and take away?

GRACE STOOP LOW – Grace means, a loving God stoop low to the unclean zone of the sinful, the sick, and the ostracized; lavishing them with His goodness. The willingness of God for the healing of our souls is very paramount to the work of the cross. Millions of believers have been wrongly educated that, it’s the will of their Father in heaven for them to be broken in pieces through life challenges, so that He might get the glory. Your pain does not give God glory – He dwelt in the beauty of His glory. And He has called us to share in His glory. Alleluia

Mathew gospels paints a better picture of the heart of your Father, through the healing of a leprous man. Remember, anytime you read the words of Christ in the Bible, you are encountering the very heart of your Father in heaven. Why? Listen to Jesus; “John 5:19-20 “19 Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. 20“For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel.

THY WILL BE DONE ON EARTH – The heart of Jesus is the heart of the father. What he saw, heard, in the higher consciousness of being, whiles on earth, is the revelation of the graciousness of God. To continue from where we left on the healing of the leprous man, let scripture do its own work. Scripture records that:

Matthew 8:1-3 New English Translation (NET Bible) After he came down from the mountain, large crowds followed him. And a leper approached, and bowed low before him, saying, Lord if you are willing, you can make me clean.” He stretched out his hand and touched him saying, “I am willing. Be clean!” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

Had Jesus replied to him, “aaaah I am not willing at this time, because your physical condition is surely promoting the kingdom of God, so hold it for five more years and lets see what God will do.” That would have been an insane answer from a man who was full of grace and truth, to set humanity free from the clutches of the wicked. What are dealing with in your personal life? Do you feel your condition has not improved because you haven’t been good enough or you are on God’s hit list? Here is the good news that should set you free once and for all. Jesus said to the Leprous man; “I am willing.” Oh, glory to God for His manifold blessing – He is willing ( that assurance that God is willing is the hope that will sustain you through difficult times)

THIS TOO SHALL PASS – Does not all things work for our good? Surely all things work for our good. Are you not talking about Romans 8:28? Truly, one of my favorite verse of scripture. Romans 8:28 New English Translation (NET Bible) 28 And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose,

Because you are chosen, through the finish work of Christ; all things in this life, which was sent to destroy us by the devil will surely work for our good. Friend, God does not work for the devil – sometimes we get caught up in the notion that, the troubles of life gifts, sent to us through the hands of Angels. No, no, no, my good friend. Satan came to steal, kill and destroy but Jesus came to give us an abundant life (Read John 10:10) – a life which can only be derived through our relationship with God through Christ Jesus.

This is the beauty of scripture – everything that happens to you in this life; whether it’s by your own irresponsibility, satanic, or human orchestrations, you can hold on to the willing heart of the Father to save thy soul from the dark dungeon of the wicked. I don’t know how to give up in life. It’s not a matter of how disciplined i am – it’s all about my persuasion of the loveliness of the father to always touch my hands and whisper to me; “Son, I am willing” “Come out of this hopelessness, into my graceful embrace.” The fallen word does its worse, then God make all things work for our good.

FEED ON LOVE – I urge you today to believe in the everlasting arms of your Father in heaven. He cares about you and its willing to give you a fresh start, if you have falling from the peak of the mountain, to the bottom. Receive love, and thank Him for his willingness to see you through the dark seasons of life.

 Copyright 2015 | McDaniels A Gyamfi | Works Of Grace | WOG NO.1

YOU ARE NOT A SINNER BECAUSE YOU SIN


YOU ARE NOT A SINNER BECAUSE YOU SIN.

Do you believe?
Do you believe?

I decided to reblog this post for one reason. My perception of the unbelieving world has to always be in alignment with the heart of God. I share with you today, this timeless inspiration from the pinnacle of God’s grace, to inspire and motivate us all to jump into the fire with a new attitude of grace and mercy and snatch people out of the fire of destruction into the kingdom of God and of His Christ. Be blessed and energized with fresh zeal and passion for Christ Jesus.

In Christ Love

 McDaniels Gyamfi

WISDOM UNMERITTED


“Divine wisdom is the towel which dries out perspiration and restlessness from the face of a failure, and moisturizes him with a winning attitude, to face tomorrow with conviction and passion”

– McDaniels Gyamfi –

Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. (Proverbs 4:7 NKJV)

Sin corrupted the mind of humanity, to the extent that walking in alignment with the thoughts of God was hardly possible. This is the fall from glory in the dimension of

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our mental capabilities. Adam; the first man, was not educated in man’s educational system. His complete knowledge of God and all the creation, surpasses the intelligence of our modern sciences and that of the wisdom of the ages. He had a conscience that was so sharp and accurate. Guessed work was not a part of his DNA. Adam knew the very mind of God, effortlessly; naming of all the animals in the garden of Eden was executed with precision and with such grace, just as God would have named each one of them.

The Lord God formed out of the ground every living animal of the field and every bird of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them, and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man named all the animals, the birds of the air, and the living creatures of the field, but for Adam no companion who corresponded to him was found. (Genesis 2:19-20 NET)

Wisdom is the ability to know what to do when you don’t know how to do it. You can also say that, wisdom is the application of knowledge. Adam did have a perfect knowledge and unusual ability to execute so well than any other creature, because he was created in the very image of God. The believer is not an upgrade in status; through recreation. We have received a brand new nature in the likeness of God, through the second Adam, as icons of godly wisdom to execute the will of God. The child of God can walk in supernatural wisdom, irrespective of how low ones IQ level is. Yes! It does not matter how bad your grades were, in high school or college!

How do you see yourself my friend? Do you feel like nothing good can come out from you, because of how negatively you have branded yourself or have allowed the standards of society to cut you into nothing? I dare you today and double dare you to rise from the self defeatism branding. You are not a sinner saved by grace into a sinful nature of ignorance. You were a sinner saved by grace to inherit the righteous nature and wholeness nature of God, to prosper in your mental capacity.  Here is the good news; Christ has become to us wisdom from God to grant us the ability to know, understand and to connect us into the purpose of God through the indwelling Spirit.

The world of sin does not have the guiding light of a higher consciousness of God; it is the believer who has been endowed with supernatural knowledge of the plan and the will of God through our regenerated spirit, to be able to walk in Godly wisdom in this life. The failure of the Church in the 21st century is due to her lack of dependence on this gracious place of the quality life of God, which enables us to download profound and absolute solutions for our chronic lives and perpetual uncertainties.

1 Corinthians 2:16 (NKJV) For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

walk not aloneWe have the mind of Christ…Do you know that if you constantly walk with a wise man, you will literally be changed by his wisdom to act in his principles and values
in life; in so doing you literally become skillfully in your doings. The mind of Christ is a position and identity through grace; in Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit escorts us daily into the very creative thoughts and principles of the creator of the universe, to act with certainty and peace without any iota of doubts or failure. What are you talking about McDaniels? One had to be well-educated in formal educated for you to be abreast with times, seasons and purpose!! I do not discourage formal education. Education only touches the surface of life, but the deep things in life really belongs to God and He reveals it to His covenant children through the Holy Spirit.

I have personally seen great results in so many areas of my life and ministry over the years. I don’t consider myself as a smart guy by world’s standards – I live with this principle of allowing God’s word to dominate my mental faculties when I have to make a complex decision or step into a new horizon of God’s purpose for my life, in general. This grace is not reserved for some selected few; you can walk in this ability which has been given to you freely to know all things by listening to the voice of the Spirit and executing His perfect will in all things. Are you overwhelmed by life puzzles or you feel so inadequate to handle the difficulties of life? You have the mind of Christ…is Christ mind redundant? If you believe that your Saviors mind is without error or fail, and then understand that, just as He is so are you in this world. (See 1 John 4:17)

The believer has an advantage over the unbeliever. We can learn to trust the Holy Spirit to empower us to know the mind of God, because the finished work of Christ has placed the new creation believer in a position with His Father through Christ, to get access to the depths of His heart, about all things in life. Do you know salt and lightmy friend, that office politics cannot stop a believer to live beyond the expectations in the work place?

Cease every opportunity to excel at your work place whether you toss pizza or you mop the floor. Your boss or supervisors inability to drive the company to peak level performance frustrates his heart and changes his or her demeanor. He easily becomes angry for no reasons…in spite of all his management credentials and many years of experience in organizational maximization. You can calm him or her down with practical solutions that no management guru can offer, because you have access to the ocean of wisdom from above which can stabilize a tilting corporation. Your wisdom and guidance will marvel coworkers and superiors. How do I do that? Rest in your position in Christ and the wells of life flow through your mental outlet.

Joseph and Daniel were men who shined so bright in heathen nations. It is recorded in the Bible to remind us that mountains and odd situations do not stop the believer from shining. Was it because they (Joseph and Daniel) were schooled to be that great by men’s educational system? Surely they were educated through the system of their enslavement, but their dependence was on God was seen in complex situations which were beyond the wisdom of the wise. They outshone the wisdom of the wise, because God’s light was their guiding principle in their decisions. That is exactly what Jesus does for the believer whose mind is centered on Him – you shine almost all the time.

It is recorded about Daniel; Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the highest realm of his kingdom. So the governors and satraps sought to find some charge against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him. Daniel 6:3-4 (NKJV)

idlogo2And of Joseph, it is recorded of how he relies on Godly wisdom to helped fellow prisoners who were dealing with uncertainties in their life; Then the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were confined in the prison, had a dream, both of them, each man’s dream in one night and each man’s dream with its own

interpretation. And Joseph came in to them in the morning and looked at them, and saw that they were sad. So he asked Pharaoh’s officers who were with him in the custody of his lord’s house, saying, “Why do you look so sad today?” And they said to him, “We each have had a dream, and there is no interpreter of it.” So Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell them to me, please.” – Genesis 40:5-8(NKJV)

It is recorded in the New Testament of how the Spirit of Christ leads us into greener pastures, effortlessly. The dumb and the dumber by societies label can shout from the roof top through the valleys of darkness that wisdom is their portion too.

 1 Corinthians 2:10-13 (NKJV) 10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For which man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we 

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have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to 

us by God. 13 These things we also speak, not in words that man’s wisdom teaches but those the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

Don’t shut this book down friend – I am totally not against what secular education has done. These folks (Daniel and Joseph) prospered in the dark ages of history because they were favored by the light of God’s wisdom, for a greater purpose. This is your season and moment to plug yourself into the grace dimension of God, as you relinquish the throne you have built for self weakness and allow Christ to take the center stage of your life. Be still in prayer and in the meditation of the word for the renewing of the mind. Set yourself free from the shock of uncertainty holding society down and completely align your thoughts with the heartbeat of God. You will know what you have to do at any moment of your life. Wisdom is available to anyone who asks, and with a heart of faith, the shackles of fear shall be broken. You are wise in your position as covenant child; walk with solution expectations on your feet, with your eyes on Christ.

Excerpt from the book: A Walk With Jesus: Discovering and Capturing the Grace culture of Christ. Get your copy here

– McDaniesl A. Gyamfi

AT YOUR FEET


 I want to sit at your feet to behold your beauty
 I want to sit at your feet, consumed by your love

 Free my soul from the snare of the Fowler
 Free my soul from bowing down to other gods
 Trapped in the prison of this life my soul wonder and cringed
 The zeal of this world consume me like a fire in my bones
 Aimless and pointless pursuits are my passion and obsession

 Seduce my heart with your love
 Lead me to your banqueting house
 I see my way home
 I come running with tears
 The irresistible snare of self has lost it's luster
 Your throne has found a place at the hollow of my heart

 At your feet your glory shines on
 At your feet your beauty emanates
 At your feet I see a portrait of myself
 I will rather die at your feet than to die at the feet of this world
 Rest my soul in God and at the feet of His Christ

 Judgment stood face to face with my guilt
 At your feet mercy triumphed over judgement
 I gazed at the wonder of your great love
 The colors of life stood up in beauty
 My heart is drenched in beauty
 The sound of amazing grace make sense to my brokenness

 Let not the sound of grace fade away like a ghost in my ears
 Turn it up high until all other sound fade away
 Your voice has stolen my soul, my love
 No other voice will I hear
 No other song will I sing
 Except the song of your grace

 Amazing grace how sweet the sound
 That save a wretch like me
 I was blind but now I see
 I was lost but now I am found;
 At your feet!

 -2014GOG|McDaniels Gyamfi-

SHADOWS OF YOUR FACE


 
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My eyes have seen your glory

My heart is engulfed in your loveliness

Created to be loved by you with eternal purpose

I will tell of your love and of your mercies to your bride

You’ve robbed yourself in purple yarn as King of Kings

Yet you stooped low to the wretch’s of men, in tattered clothes

Your hands are too pure to hold the filthy hands of the unclean

We needed a touch of mercy but you hold us in eternal embrace

How lovely, how beautiful and gracious you are to the depraved

I will tell of your great power and awesomeness to my generation

I will sing of your healing grace to the broken-hearted

The whole earth waits on you for sustenance and provision

From the tiniest insect to the greatest beast of the forest

The neediest families; receive their share from your bounty

Your providence is altogether amazing and sheer beautiful

I couldn’t run to you when my face was in the dust

My shame and my guilt kept me running

Running hundred miles per hour with a belly full of regret

My torturing kneels and weary bones gave up on me

You found me when all hope and meaning to live was fast gone

You found me! You found me!! in the cold alleys of pain and fear

Where would I find satisfaction if the colors of your rainbow dims out

Your love and grace glows like rainbow in it’s contrasting beauty

Piercing through my darkness is the glistening presence of your face

Your liquid presence filled my aching past with healing and hope

 Your voice is like many waters;

Calming the boisterous storms in my life

With you on the wheel;

I can smell the fragrance of a restful destination

With you on the wheel;

I come to the end of self and rest in your ability

With you on the wheel;

All my fears give way to overwhelming peace

The Shadows of your face

Reflects the beautiful colors of your heart

Jesus, you are altogether lovely

    – Copyright 2014 GOG|McDaniels Gyamfi

         His mouth is sweetness itself; he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, this is my friend, daughters of Jerusalem. – Songs 5:16