It isn’t a secret that humans are storied creatures.
We thrive on narrative. We come alive listening to tales of the past. Stories of our heroes urge us on to greater things.
So what happens if we no longer have any heroes?
This day and age refuses to venerate. And, because that’s not a word frequently used anymore either, allow me to define it: to regard with great respect or to revere.
Instead of looking at great acts of courage, leadership, and heroism, our focus narrows to the grittiest parts of that person.
George Washington is reduced from a great military leader and president to a slave owner.
Martin Luther King Jr.’s courage and humble leadership is tempered by his widely acknowledged sexual encounters.
I’ll let you continue adding to this list in your own mind.
Should the wicked acts and troubled areas found in the lives of past heroes be ignored? Of course not. Where evil is to be found, evil must be acknowledged.
But if we hold a narrow focus that only allows us to see faults, mistakes, and outright evil, we will never have another hero.
And we NEED heroes. We NEED the stories and lives of people who achieve greatness. We NEED to hear of sacrifice and love for people and for the country. We NEED to hear of the forces of nature that change the world as we know it.
We need heroes to, as popularized by President Abraham Lincoln, appeal to “the better angels of our nature.”
Ignoring the good and heroism in a person in favor of focusing on their darker nature not only displays the cynicism of the age but is as naive as the view that ignores the evil to only focus on the good. Humanity is flawed, it is broken; our heroes will be broken people that rise to do great things.
So yes, in an age where we have lost our longing for heroes, we must return to venerating the heroic among us. Their stories tug on the heartstrings of us, storied creatures. Their stories are the ones that will raise up a new generation of heroes to stand upon their shoulders.
Tell the stories of great men and women in their entirety. Revere them, and praise God that He uses such broken people to accomplish such great things.