Watching one of our grandsons dress up as “Larry-Boy” and suction “bad guys” with his super ears is very entertaining. He will dart around the house wearing his cape and vanquish all foes. It’s all fun until his little brothers are the “bad guys” and then his efforts to eliminate them create problems.
As humans, we all love to celebrate heroes. We love our sports heroes, our military heroes, and our civic heroes. We celebrate their accomplishments, and we are crushed when they disappoint us by being human.
The fact that children have heroes can be a positive thing. If their hero demonstrates the kind of character that encourages Godly behavior, that can be a powerful influence in the child’s life for good. Yet heroes often change as a child’s interest changes. It may be a cowboy or princess when they are very young, then change to an Olympic soccer player or singing star. As children are young, parents can control much of what their child is exposed to and therefore whom they choose as a hero.
I remember one of our daughters wanting to be like Mia Hamm. She was a prominent soccer player for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill during that time and went on to be an Olympic soccer star as well. Ms. Hamm was a quiet, hard-working individual that stayed away from the spotlight, often deferring to her teammates even when the focus of the media was on her. This was a positive example of putting the team first over the individual, an important quality in team sports.
The most important heroes for our children are those who demonstrate a love for God and His Word. Sadly, our culture does not often acknowledge the selfless sacrifice of the real heroes of the faith, so as parents we must make that effort. We must remember that only God is perfect, so even the most upright individual may fall, especially if they are put up on a pedestal. We could fill pages with names of prominent Christians who have fallen short of God’s glory, as we have ourselves.
In Hebrews there is a passage that is sometimes referred to as the Faith Hall of Fame. These heroes were just living their lives when God stepped in and required them to step out in faith.
Hebrews 11:7, 11, 12, 31-40
7 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen,in holy fear built an arkto save his family.By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.
11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead,came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.
31 By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.
32 And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.
39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
Goodness!!! Shut the mouths of lions! Escaped the edge of the sword! Sawed in half! This is better then Robin Hood. These people paid the price and are true heroes of the Faith.
I always love to hear young adults who are walking with God share about the people who have led them on their path as Christians. Sometimes they mention someone who was not even aware of the positive role they have played in the spiritual life of that person. It may be a Sunday School teacher, a coach, a youth leader, or parent of a friend – some unsung hero who lived a life of Godly influence day by day. These are the SUPER HEROES!