Monday, June 13, 2011

What makes a hero?

I think one of the main characteristics of a hero is that of bravery. I have a very clear memory of my mother telling me as a child that being brave didn't mean doing something that was easy - it meant doing something that wasn't easy for you. Bravery was when you did what was necessary even when whatever needed to be done scared you.

Bravery is not a characteristic that is overabundant in our world and culture. We like to think that we are brave, but being brave is really a very difficult thing to do. Being brave means taking some personal risk - whether it is a physical, emotional, or social risk that is involved.

I think of the bravery displayed by those who risked their lives to help end slavery. Or those who risked their social standing (as well as their lives and the lives of their families) to speak out against Hitler and his political party. Many of these people were Christians who, following the example of Jesus, were willing to put their own lives at risk to do what they believed God wanted them to do in those situations.

Christianity is not a meek and quiet faith. Christianity is a strong and outspoken faith. A faith to which people have devoted their entire life in order to protect and proclaim it to the world.

It seems to me that from a biblical perspective, heroism begins with the quality of bravery - the ability to act even when scared. God has called all sorts of people throughout history to stand up and do brave acts that would change the course of God's history in this world. Look at the myriad of people He called in the bible - Noah, David, Esther, Mary, and Paul just to name a few. None of these people were 'ready' for what God called them to do but they did it because they knew it was the right thing and they somehow found it within themselves to follow God's leading no matter what might happen to them personally.

Hero's and heroine's in the Bible all have one thing in common - they listen for God.

I think God calls all of us to commit acts of bravery in his name - all we have to do is listen. The things that God calls us to be brave for might not be things that change the history of the world, but they are things that will change someone's history for the better.


" Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” - Joshua 1:9