When your hero makes the headlines
This week our nation celebrated Presidents Day. It’s a time to honor those who’ve played a crucial role in the founding and direction of our country. But Presidents come with baggage.
When you start to dig into the lives of our most revered Presidents, you discover they all had “feet of clay.” Maybe it was the way they treated women. Or animals. Or people of color. Or their political opponents. Maybe it was their view of education, or science, or immigrants, or the economy. Dig very far and you’ll likely unearth some unflattering truths about the leaders you hold in high regard.
I’ve watched over the years as heroes of the Christian faith have likewise been exposed as flawed, sometimes fallen leaders. The #MeToo and #ChurchToo movements have simply been one more nail in the coffin of our heroes.
It can be disheartening to discover that your favorite historical hero had an ugly side. Maybe they were simply a product of their time. Maybe they were victims of bad circumstances or bad advice. Or maybe they were like all of us: deeply flawed.
Turns out that even the heroes of the Bible suffer from the same fate. Noah walked off the boat and fell off the wagon. Abraham believed God, except when he didn’t. Moses had a temper and a rap sheet. David covered up his infidelity by murdering an innocent man. Peter struggled to keep his promises. The list goes on and on.
Does this mean we shouldn’t make heroes? Probably. And probably not.
If we want heroes to inspire us to be courageous, compassionate, and victorious over injustice, then yes.
But if we want someone else to fulfill our dreams of the perfect human, then no. Because none of our heroes can do that consistently. Well, except one. But we don’t often think of him as a hero. He was, though. Jesus’ own life was the epitome of courage, compassion, and justice. There are no skeletons in his closet, no peccadillos in his past.
So we should make a hero out of the one true hero. We should look to him to inspire us to become a better human. And we should listen when he says, “Come, follow me.” Because who else is better qualified to be our hero/leader?