Welcome to the eleventh post in the Friends & Christianity series. Today we are going to look at The One With Mrs. Bing.
Mrs. Bing is Chandler’s erotica-novel-writing mother. She has come to New York on a book tour and to visit her son. We’ve learned in previous episodes that Chandler has family issues. His parents (we have yet to meet his father) are the polar opposites of an input analysts. They are eccentric and embarrassing to Chandler (and far from being the idealistic parental figures), but they are still his parents.
Parallel to the Mrs. Bing story-line is the Monica & Phoebe sub-plot. Spotting a handsome hunk, Monica catcalls him. When she does, his attention is diverted from the road and he is hit by a truck. While he’s in a comma, Monica & Phoebe take care of him. They even make up a name and occupation and personality for him; falling in like with this “perfect” man they made up.
Mrs. Bing tells Ross something interesting (before she kisses him). She says, “I know how to write men that women fall in love with.” She goes on to explain to Ross, who is lamenting Rachel and Palo’s passionate relationship, that in a story there is the main hero and then a secondary character. Palo is the secondary character, he is “perfect” and has no depth to him, he is boring. But Ross, Ross is unique and smart and flawed and everything that makes a hero that women fall in love with. Then she kisses him as if to prove the point, but I digress.
Sometimes we get so bent on expecting perfection from ourselves and others that we miss the point of our own story. We miss that the greatest heroes are flawed individuals who, despite those flaws, do great things for others. Ross stands by and endures the hurt of watching Rachel with another man, stepping in to help her whenever she needs a hero (even to do laundry), and he is the one (in the end) who gets the girl. Not Palo or any of the other guys. Ross. Ross is the hero of the story—many, many flaws and mistakes included.
There was only ever one who was perfect—Jesus—and was a hero. But he lived and died so that all of us imperfect people can too become heroes. He gave us an example to follow and left his Spirit to guide those who ask Him to come into their lives and hearts and transform them. Not that we are flawless, but that with him we can overcome those flaws and do great things. We can open our homes to orphans, widows, and anyone in need (including our friends and family). We can pay a light bill for a single mother who is struggling. We can help a person who has broken our hearts over and over learn to do their own laundry. We can forgive a friend who betrayed us. We can forgive our parents for not being perfect. We can be kind and generous when it would be easier to keep to ourselves.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. ~ Galatians 5:22-23 ESV
Heroes are not those who are perfect. Heroes are flawed people who help other flawed people, expecting nothing in return. Heroes are people who love the “least of these.” Heroes are people who obey Christ’s command, to love as he loved us.
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ ~ Matthew 25:34-40 ESV
The only way I know how to be a hero, to grow more and more into a hero, is to first ask my hero to come into my heart and transform me from the inside out (to grow the fruits of his Spirit in me). To guide me and direct me in all of my days. For me, that means saying, “Lord, I can’t do this on my own. I’ve messed up. Please forgive me and come into my heart and life and show me how to live for you and your purposes—to love God and love all the world. Amen.” Being a hero starts with a prayer, and continues with a life dedicated to following in Christ’s footsteps—of loving others as he loved us.
If you have any questions or concerns about this process, you can reach out to me at nicolelrivera (at) me (dot) com. Or just pray they prayer, read the book (Bible), and love on people. Following Christ is not easy, but it is very simple.
Happy hero-ing. 🙂