In the first volume of the Trigun manga, Vash finds himself on a sandsteamer which has been attacked by the Bad Lads Gang. At a certain point, Vash is trying to recapture the ship with a young boy and former Bad Lads Gang supporter Kaite. This boy had previously double crossed Vash when Vash had helped him; Vash still continues to help him and saved him when the Bad Lads Gang tried to kill him. As Vash continues to stop those taking over the ship he shoots not to kill, never to kill, and tries to help one of the Bad Lads Gang who was injured. Kaite just was shocked as Vash is trying to help his enemy. You’ll notice how Vash is responding to everyone. He’s loving his enemies, he’s protecting his enemies. When others see this it goes so far beyond what they expect. It goes so far beyond what they want him to do. It even seems to put him in harms way, in danger. But, he does it anyway. Christ calls for such radical love. In Matthew 5:43-48, Jesus said to love your enemies. He said to do so to prove you are one of God’s sons. He said to do so as a reminder that this sets us apart from those who do not know Christ. When a person displays this kind of Christ-like love, forgiveness of their enemies, radical abandonment of what we as a culture would want us to do – we take notice. An example was a story in 2013 about Mary Johnson who forgave and helped the man who murdered her son. When people display Christ-like love, we take notice. It’s shocking, it’s unexpected, and sometimes it makes us angry.
We want to hate our enemies. It’s our gut instinct. It’s what we desire because it makes logical sense to us. Our logic does not include forgiving and loving our enemy. Christ’s love does and only with the Spirit can you do it. Later in the manga we have a scene with Vash and Kaite talking. Kaite is frustrated at Vash saving the enemy and confused how he forgives them and him. Here’s the exchange:
Kaite: No, you’re far too easy on the whole human race! All these guys and me as well. We’ve let countless people die. We’ve betrayed countless more.
Vash: Then start all over again! Don’t let any more die. Don’t betray any more people.
Kaite’s right. Humans are generally awful and sinful (Romans 3:23). And those people are murderers, thieves, evil men. Vash is being kind to them. Vash is helping the ones who are trying to kill him. Kaite who was one of them doesn’t get it.
At the beginning of the 8th chapter of the Gospel of John is a story which breaks the flow of the narrative to that point about Jesus and an adulteress (John 8:2-11). In it, Christ chooses not to condemn the sinful adulteress. But, like Vash, Jesus doesn’t end there. Christ tells the woman to go and “Sin no more.” Vash tells the boy the same. He tells Kaite to stop sinning, to stop the betrayal, to stop the murders. He doesn’t just forgive him and tell the kid to go about his way, continuing to associate with murderers. He tells him to stop. Christ wants us to do the same thing. We can come as we are in any state we’re in, but He calls us to stop. He calls us to cease the sin, cease the evil, end the actions which condemn us. He knows we won’t stop them all; that’s what His atoning blood saves us from. But, He doesn’t want us to live in it. He doesn’t want us to revel in it. He wants us to sin no more. So does Vash.
Christ’s message is radical and completely against how we naturally want to live our lives. When we see people acting it out, truly acting as Christ did – forgiving, loving, serving – we take notice. When Vash lives out these truths, it screams at you from the page. When Vash calls out some of the harder tenets of Christ’s message, we take note too. Sin no more. This goes for the adulteress. This goes for Kaite. This goes for me & you.
NOTE: I realize Trigun came out a while ago. I am just now beginning to read it and watch the anime. I am loving it and will, most likely, have a lot of comments others have discovered years ago. Bear with me.