I’ve been watching you Jack. And behind that smile, behind that hero complex, there’s something wrong about you.
– An enemy near the end of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
And that was when the hero who saved us on on Helios died.
Here is the rule to remember in the future, when anything tempts you to be bitter: not, ‘This is a misfortune’ but ‘To bear this worthily is good fortune.’
Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven.
If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Author Dan Brown once stated, “I find the most interesting villains those who do the right things for the wrong reasons, or the wrong things for the right reasons.” One of the best examples of this “anti-villain” is Handsome Jack in Borderlands 2. In that game, Handsome Jack tries to civilize and save the penal world of Pandora. He attacks the various bandit tribes and the protagonistic “anti-hero” “Vault Hunters.” His methods include bombarding a civilian city and shooting anyone that breaks any of 200 different laws. His sarcastic style of dealing “justice” recently landed him as one finalist for the video game “Villain Most in Need of a Hug” award. Many critics mentioned that Handsome Jack was one of their favorite villains to hate.
How did Handsome Jack become “likably hateable?” That is the question at the center of Athena’s interrogation in Borderlands Pre-Sequel. In the game, Athena tells the original Vault Hunters the story of when she worked with Jack. Brick states her narrative “makes Jack seem kind of sympathetic.” She starts when Jack was “just Jack,” a “low level programmer” at the mega-corporation of Hyperion. Right before the game starts, he convinces his company to help police Pandora. Near the start of the game, Jack has his special introduction as shown in the above video. He is “in way over his head:” besieged by the Lost Legion of Dahl when they storm the Hyperion space station of Helios. A few minutes later, Jack sacrifices himself allowing the protagonists escape. What happens to him during the story that turns him into the pompous tyrant called “Handsome Jack” reintroduced at the end of the story?
Jack’s response to the events that occur during Athena’s story metamorphosizes him into Handsome Jack. He responds to the hardships and difficulties he encounters with increasing levels of bitterness. Jack becomes bitter due to three main reasons. First, Jack has a slight temper and somewhat likes hurting others when he gets angry. Second, Jack become weary in trying to do good, since nearly every heroic act ends up a blunder. Finally, the main reason Jack becomes bitter is due to his “hero complex.” Although he has altruistic reasons, he additionally wants to get recognition and fame. This corruption of desires helps fuel his temper and weariness.
Handsome Jack and other bitter heroes exist not only in fiction: today’s world is full of callous people. Most are not hot tempered or sadistic like Jack. However, Marcus Aurelius and the Apostle Paul both knew doing good in the face of adversity can deflate altruistic motivations. If you find yourself in this position, complete these five steps. First, discuss with God how you are feeling and see how He guides you. You may try to help others in a way against God’s plan. (Going against God’s plans can lead to disaster, as discussed in “Plans and Preparation.“) Furthermore, talking with God will allow for you to vent your frustrations out. Second, as mentioned in “Safe Haven,” brightening others is hard when you are low on fuel yourself. Get connected to a Save Haven of other Good Samaritans and keep having regular time alone with God. Third, you may need to approach the deed differently. Albert Einstein stated that insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.” Fourth, if you are still weary, it may be time to cut back or get help from others. As mentioned in “Work Together,” working with others can increase the odds of success and lessen your burden.
Finally, examine your motivations if you are still bitter. As Jesus and James stated, you lose your heavenly blessing if you have selfish motivations like Handsome Jack. Once, I worked extra hard to help others at work for personal gain: to get a raise. This was not my primary driving factor. Yet, mixing selfish and unselfish motivations still puts you at odds with God’s plan. After introspection, I realized that I needed to drop these secondary desires. You should do the same when you experience bitterness. Otherwise, you will “die” like the hero of Helios and become a bitter “hero.”