I remember watching “Wreck-It Ralph” the week it came out because I love arcades and video games. Plus, Disney animated films usually are a high five. The other day I picked up the movie on Blu-Ray and I watched it again.
It didn’t hit me but as I watched it, I started to realize that the message in the movie was really profound. In fact, it was very strong and possibly one the best messages any movie has told in my recent memory.
This post contains spoilers to the movie so if you don’t want to know what happens, I am warning you. But the lesson here is so great that maybe you should read ahead anyway.
The basis of the movie is that Ralph plays a “bad guy” in the arcade game he is in. Nobody gives him recognition or love despite the fact that without him, the rest of the game wouldn’t exist. Seeking for some kind of acceptance, Ralph ventures out to another game hoping to find a medal and win approval. During his ordeal, he befriends an outcast girl named Vanellope from another game. She’s also looking for acceptance and in order to do so, she has to win a go-cart race.
Ralph decides to help Vanellope win the race and in the battle against the evil boss, sacrifices himself against the boss in order to save her. In the end, Ralph is saved and Vanellope achieves her rightful place in her game as the princess. Ralph gains acceptance for his heroics from his colleagues, but he goes back to the one person that first believed in him: Vanellope.
“Turns out I don’t need a medal to tell me I’m a good guy, because if that little kid likes me, how bad can I be?”
That’s the final line in the movie and it resonates so much. How often do we do things in life to see the approval of our peers? We may not have the best job, or be in the best relationship, or even have anything lavish to brag about. Yet somehow we feel that just because our lives don’t live up to their standard, that we have to find a way to make it that way.
There’s never enough when we try to match up to something that isn’t us. And what’s worse is that we sometimes go out of our way so much to meet the approval of people — even though the people’s opinions really don’t matter. And because of all this, we at times think that we’re just bad people if nobody likes us.
It’s the same for us in life with God. We find ourselves trying to meet the approval of everyone around us that we don’t realize that it’s not necessary. We can’t be loved by everyone. It doesn’t work that way. We don’t need the approval of everyone. The only love that matters is the love of God.
Do we need everyone to tell us that we’re good to make things OK? No. We don’t need the approval of the people of this world. Much like Ralph, what he sought in people ended up making the situation worse. When he realized himself that he’s a good guy and didn’t need the approval of others, he acted then out of love and everything was clear to him.
At the end, Ralph realized that meeting the standards of society was not what he needed. It was nice that he got it at the end, but that was not what mattered. The love and approval from Vanellope was all he needed. He just needed one person to believe in him.
Can we do the same in our lives? Can we look past all of the earthly approval and realize that the approval from God is enough? It doesn’t mean that we live our lives recklessly, but we don’t make it our driving force. If we live life knowing that we are loved by God, then all the other things won’t bother us anymore. Our social status won’t hold us down. God’s love and approval of us (despite all of our shortcomings) is really all that matters.
“Turns out I don’t need approval from everyone to tell me I’m a good guy, because if God loves me, how bad can I be?”
We’re not bad. In God’s eyes, we’re all good. And that’s awesome.