Each week, as new episodes of Loki release on Disney+, LTN writers will reflect on each episode. You can find what we think about the Sacred Timeline here. Spoiler warning for Loki Episode 6.
The Ends (of Time) Justify the Ways and Means
In the season finale of Loki, He Who Remains acknowledges he’s been the cause of pain and pruning for multitudes but defends himself saying the ends justify the means. He explains he’s directed Loki and Sylvie to him so they can make a choice: rule the TVA or kill him and unleash multiversal war. Loki disbelievingly asks why He Who Remains would give up control. To understand the gravity of Loki asking this question we need to go back. Gotta rewind the timeline.
Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about Loki’s most prominent character trait. It isn’t his mischievousness or betrayal; it’s his arrogance. Since the beginning of the year, I’ve read three books on humility (not bragging!), chiefly because I’m writing a book on the subject. But in all my research and writing, I never considered how an egotist would react to finding out there are more of themselves. I thought the Lokis would band together to achieve world domination, but arrogance is hesitant to share the glory. And He Who Remains confirmed this.Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about Loki’s most prominent character trait. It isn’t his mischievousness or betrayal; it’s his arrogance.
I would be irritated to have a variant that might displace me from my throne, steal the spotlight, usurp my center of attention, be more loved and adored. Both our culture and the Church’s biggest problem is that we rarely, if ever, even think about pride, let alone take real steps toward humility. But why is arrogance bad? Several reasons: it’s the root of a lot of bad stuff, it’s thinking higher of ourselves than we realistically should, and it damages people as the cause of the top ten global crises. In Loki’s case, well, Mobius said it, he was born to lose. But what if, in humility, we find the best that we can be? I’d argue that for as pivotal as Episode 6 is for the future of the MCU, Episode 5’s interaction with Classic Loki was the defining moment for our Loki.
A Humble Mindset: “I Can Wait Out Here”
Classic Loki was strong enough to trick Thanos and seclude himself in solitude. In real life, practicing solitude correctly is the opposite of loneliness or isolation. Pastor John Mark Comer in his book The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry: How to Stay Emotionally Healthy and Spiritually Alive in the Chaos of the Modern World says, “Solitude is engagement; isolation is escape. Solitude is safety; isolation is danger.” Solitude is where we get in touch with God because we’ve eliminated all of the distractions that keep us from hearing His voice.
This solitude drove Classic Loki to help others at the risk of his own life. He gave up being a hermit, got pruned, and guided others through the Void. Our Loki had the blessing we don’t have of finding out firsthand how he would have handled certain situations. For us, it’s the unknowns of who to settle into a relationship with, what job to take, what church to attend or ministry to join, how to plan for retirement, the list goes on and on.
Every step of the way through the season finale, our Loki puts others first. From his unselfish support of Sylvie on the Citadel’s doorstep to rejecting the TVA throne, Loki has truly learned humility. Our key to living a fulfilled life lies in a focus on one thing: our arrogance. That’s why God hates pride. Not only do we use it to harm, back-stab, and cheat others, but we really mess ourselves up too.From his unselfish support of Sylvie on the Citadel’s doorstep to rejecting the TVA throne, Loki has truly learned humility.
I Don’t Want a Throne
As Loki and Sylvie face off against their nemesis for the last time, He Who Remains gives the gambit: take over the TVA or unleash a multiversal war. Loki tries to buy some time which Sylvie naturally interprets as a play for the throne. But in the character’s biggest breakthrough Loki says, “I don’t want to hurt you. I don’t want a throne. I just want you to be okay.” He receives a slightly eye-rollable kiss and a shove through a portal back to the TVA. Sylvie stabs He Who Remains, who, with his last breath, gives a Terminator-esque promise that he’ll be back. Spoiler: his name is Kang, and he will be back.
But more important than controlling the timeline or giving people free will is the character building of Loki’s building of character. We see tangible proof of what humility can do. Because of Classic Loki’s experiences, Loki saw what continuing on his futile path would look like.
We don’t need a “Classic Us” to live a lifetime in order to teach us what we really need. But from personal experience, developing the discipline of solitude, five or ten minutes a day sitting in silence, listening for the voice of God, is well worth it. We have so many distractions that we’re physically, emotionally, and spiritually unable to hear the voice of Jesus. But that discipline coupled with the realization that we cannot work toward or achieve humility, that it can only come from Jesus working through us, has changed my life radically.Like Loki, understanding that God is good, that He knows everything, and that He provides salvation helps me use my free will to choose His path. But that choice is only the beginning.
Have a Little Humility
Like Loki, understanding that God is good, that He knows everything, and that He provides salvation helps me use my free will to choose His path. But that choice is only the beginning. Bonnie Tyler needed a hero, but we don’t. He’s already here. And His name is Jesus.
Jesus already lived a humble life. Humility doesn’t just happen when we decide to become a follower of Jesus or from reading the Bible. Humility is the hardest discipline because you can’t work at it, you have to be willing to let Jesus work it into you.
Loki spent his life fighting humbling forces but when he submitted he became the hero. Not necessarily a hero of the MCU, but the hero of his own story. And he did it by helping others become heroes. It would seem Thor’s words were prophetic when he said, “You’ll always be the god of mischief. But you could be more.” Just like Jesus talked about the first becoming last. With humility, you and I can be more. Well, by being less we’ll be more.Just like Jesus talked about the first becoming last. With humility, you and I can be more. Well, by being less we’ll be more.