Weekly Thought – March 8, 2022
Fred wrote about the value of heroes as a critical element in You and Your Network. He differentiates them from role models, or sponsors. He once saw a study showing that our heroes at age 10 have a dramatic influence on our lives. In early conversations he was always interested in those people kept in the hero category.
Heroes, Not Celebrities
The list of those to whom we could profitably look as heroes is lengthy. They personify the traits of character and values we would like to make part of our own lives. For example, Booker T. Washington who accomplished great things in the face of obstacles others could not overcome. His nobility ultimately became the practical.
We are unrealistic to think our heroes should be perfect. The Bible recognizes their imperfections. I have always been convinced the inclusion of them is a proof of scripture’s inspiration. Capturing the complete person is a great help. In Hebrews we see those inducted into the “Hall of Faith.” The list includes murderers, schemers, adulterers, and even prostitutes.
There is no need to defend our heroes against anything except perfection. When we ask for perfection we become vulnerable to those who expose their weaknesses thereby trying to destroy their value to us. Heroes personify the value and the human capability of reaching nobility, but never perfection.
Expecting complete purity is unrealistic and unhealthy. To require our heroes to be flawless is to build on a false philosophical – and theological – base.
The media have done all us a great disservice when they attempt to exchange the lasting inspiration of the hero for the momentary excitement of the celebrity. Our son, Fred, first caused me to think about the difference between heroes and celebrities when he said, “The heroes of the early church were martyrs and ours are celebrities.” Herein may lie a great deal of the weakness of our modern church. Don’t misunderstand – I am not lobbying for those who go around talking like self-professed martyrs. That is not what fueled the early church. We know persecution has always been the great purifier. But persecution in the name of Christ, not because we create havoc. Emerson said, “Those who follow after celebrity sip the foam of many lives.” Today’s celebrities rise on a wave of applause and break on the rocks of inattention. They are surely a fantasy waiting to be exposed.
Heroes give us the desire and a roadmap toward virtue; celebrities give us a picture of vapid ego drive.
This week think carefully; 1) Who was my hero at age 10? 2) What heroic qualities am I pursuing? 3) How can I encourage others to incorporate heroes in their personal development?
Words of Wisdom: “We are unrealistic to think our heroes should be perfect.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Open the gates so a righteous nation can enter— one that remains trustworthy.” (Isaiah 26:2 NET Bible)