WHO ARE YOUR HEROES? YOUR HEROINES? The longer I live, the shorter my own list gets. In fact, I’m not entirely sure I have any real heroes left here on Planet Earth. People I admire, yes. Heroes, no.
In my trusty keeper of all the various lists of my life—Microsoft OneNote—I do have a list of people I admire (both past and present). Some are household names; some are people you likely never have heard of. Some of the “knowns” at present include Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Lance Armstrong, JFK, Sojourner Truth, Winston Churchill, Susan B. Anthony, and Martin Luther King.
Now, any of these are (or were) flawed human beings. For example, I can look at the life of Lance Armstrong and find plenty of choices he’s made that I don’t particular admire. But as a fellow cancer survivor, I’ve been inspired by his own fierce determination to fight back and win—to say nothing of his astonishing athletic abilities and accomplishments.
Flawed humanity is clearly on record, too, even among Bible characters I most admire: Abraham, Moses, David, Paul, Peter, or John. But who can diminish what they accomplished—and the admirable character traits they exhibited in their lives?
In the annual lists of the “Most Admired,” most of the top slots are held by politicians, entertainers, business leaders, and sports figures. These days, I personally find few in politics whom I can admire. Corruption, hypocrisy, greed, lust for power, and betrayal of trust seem to predominate. Though my boyhood heroes included the likes of Mickey Mantle and Dwight D. Eisenhower, it’s not easy these days to find public figures that call forth my admiration. And if real people don’t merit being heroes, then surely the same is true of Hollywood’s artificial, “manufactured” heroes: Spiderman, Batman, Superman, Iron Man, and others.
It’s troubling that today’s younger generation worships at the altar of self-absorbed and self-destructive celebrities and musicians—that their heroes and heroines are those demonstrating the least real character and values.
Truth is, the more one learns of human weakness, the shorter grows the list of heroes, till for many of us, only Jesus remains.
Perhaps that’s as it should be.