*This was written prior to September 11. On that date everything changed including the meaning of the word "hero."
My heroes have all been wimps. I was a Los Angeles Ram fan for the longest time, need I say more? Really though, I never had any heroes that stood out when I was growing up. I remember that I did have a make believe hero - actually, it was me. I did have a secret identity - HEAT BOY!! I came from Mercury. Ok, so I was a lonely, disturbed, little boy. Seriously though, where have all the heroes gone?
What is a hero anyway? Someone who runs in and throws themself on a grenade? Then you have a dead hero. Someone who holds to a strict moral code, only to have a shameful skeleton kick the closet door down and say, "I'M HERE!!"? There's not a boulder big enough to hide under. Just ask Jimmy Swaggert. Could a hero be anything other than human? I mean...what if your hero is Benji? Chances are if your hero is a pet, they're just saving your hide because they realize that you're the meal ticket.
I'm speaking to the dads out there now; do you see yourself as a hero to your kids? To your wife? Charles Barkley told parents in an interview a few years back that we need to be our kids' idols. He was right. I made a promise to my son after attending a "Promise Keepers" convention, that any questions he should ask me, I mean deep questions, I would answer him by saying, "heart to heart" and he'll know that he can hold my feet to the fire and get a straight answer from me. I'm not looking to be his hero, but rather someone he can count on.
As stated before, I never had any heroes. I guess I missed my chance. As a child of the seventies, the beginning of the "ME!" generation, we were supposed to do what we felt. So it was there that our heroes died, or were changed. It wasn't popular to have a hero. However, I was asked on some occasions whom did I most admire. I would then answer my dad. The reason was, most men were working hard for their families, so they didn't see their kids grow up. I was fortunate to have dinner with my parents every night and my Dad did make it to most of my football games. I was truly blessed by that. But Dad wasn't a hero to me. Why? Because he was always there, doing what came naturally. Well, on second thought, that could be considered a form of a hero.
By today's standards though, all of the heroes are gone. We put people on a pedestal so high that even we ourselves can not climb and are shocked when we find out that the ones we have placed there have a human heart that is subject to failure from time to time. Case in point, Magic Johnson. Then there are some out there who put themselves on the pedestal, only to be knocked down by their own pious convictions. Dare I mention Jesse Jackson?
I guess a good working definition of a hero is a person coming to the aid of someone in deep trouble. Out of all the types of heroes in this world, there is one who stands above the rest. He will not and can not fall from any pedestal, that person is, Jesus. The name of Jesus is a derivative of Joshua, which means "Savior". His purpose was to come to this world and save us from our sins. He set the example for us to follow by doing the will of His Father. But was Jesus a wimp? Far from it. However, there were some Jews who thought He was. They were expecting a messiah to come in and destroy the Romans. Sort of like a John Wayne, or Arnold Schwarzenegger type of hero. What they got was Mister Rogers. Now, I'm not saying that Mister Rogers is a wimp. What I am saying is, when you are expecting the Marines to show up, you are quite surprised when you get a Sunday school teacher who teaches three year olds. Actually, this Sunday school teacher was and is more powerful than all the military strength the world has ever known.
Steve Taylor, a Christian musican, has a song entitled, "Hero". In it, he tells the listener about a boy growing up who read Marvel comic books and went to Saturday Matinees. Ultimately, heroes have one flaw: they are susceptible to the sins of man. Just look at our movie stars, athletes, and politicians. Larger than life people often have feet of clay. Some of you may be willing to overlook the fact that they may be going on their fifth spouse, or been banned from their sport due to a drug problem, or even been arrested for taking a bribe. It seems, to borrow a line from "Hero", that most of today's heroes are "in it for the money, idol show". When they fail, there is usually no one there to help pick up the pieces of a broken spirit. In closing, let me say this: there is a man that tells us, "I want to be your hero." This man participated in the greatest heroic event in all of history; He defeated death, by rising from the dead. He calls us to a better life, a life that we can be proud of by saying to us at the end, "Well done good and faithful son/daughter!". Hmmm...., I guess I was wrong, I do have a hero.
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