I’m blown away with all the feedback I’m getting from the recent series of posts “The Lesser of Two Evils”
In each episode, we examined real heroes who emerged from a crisis situation.
But heroic deeds span a vast expanse of situations – not all of which involve valor. Heroes come in all flavors. Countless acts of heroism happen all the time. Acts of charity, love, compassion – none of which call for valor and deserve honorable mention here. But this episode is titled “Heroes Are Born of Crisis” for a reason. If there is a hero, there was a crisis.
I think we all tend to think of ourselves as brave. In our thoughts, self talk, and fantasies. We would hope that we would respond heroically, but the truth is we really won’t know until and unless we are in a crisis situation. Perhaps we affirm ourselves that our conduct would be likely to show bravery based on less than crisis situations that called for courage. Things like standing up to city hall. Standing up for our students, the homeless, the disadvantaged, etc. Standing up for anything worthwhile.
Meritorious indeed – but falls short of valor. They certainly earn marks for good citizenship, but valor is reserved for more desperate situations. If good citizenship alone were an accurate predictor of valor, we’d have more heroes!
But it’s a good start – good practice so to speak. After all, we don’t have to wait for a life threatening situation and the stakes aren’t as high – not to mention that time is on our side. We can pick our battles so to speak. But a real crisis does not announce itself well in advance. We don’t pick it. It picks us.
Well, in spite of all of this, I question just how many potential real heroes are out there. Why? Let me take you to a scene that is repeated throughout the country over and over again. Every good church will periodically do an “evangelism emphasis”. And we should. I’ve been to several and I’ve benefited from each of them. The recipe is pretty predictable though. The leader (usually an “expert” from out of town) will cite statistics that support the notion that equipped believers are more likely to be effective. No argument there. They will go on to teach and demonstrate knowledge and skills that are very useful. Along the way, they’ll pepper it with assurances that being well equipped will give us more confidence to share the Gospel. Well, I won’t argue against being well equipped. Many times they will suggest that all the bad things that we imagine will happen – seldom happen.
That’s where I have to weigh in. So, after all the good information, they parenthetically bring up that perhaps we should address our fear. They attempt to soothe our fears by saying that our fears seldom materialize. They dance around what I believe to be at the very root of the problem – fear! Oddly enough, they do this dance because they are afraid to tell us we are afraid!
So let me be perhaps the first to offer a differing point of view.
NO, I do not think that we are held back by lack of knowledge or opportunity. But it’s a convenient excuse to continuously study the problem, prepare for the problem, but never deal with the problem. I submit to you that we already know enough and opportunity is everywhere. But frankly – what holds us back is fear. We are cowards. Let me ask you this. If every fear we imagined really did materialize, is that going to be your excuse when you stand before God?
Let me take you to another scene. I’m amazed when I attend a meal outside of church. That inconvenient moment arrives. Someone will (or should I say might) announce that a blessing will be given, but they seem to do so in an apologetic tone. I’m appalled that Christians will sometimes water down their public prayers – sacrificing them at the alter of political correctness. If I invite someone of another faith to offer a prayer, I expect them to pray according to their own faith. If they water down their prayer, they’ve lost my respect. Their prayers in accordance with their faith do not offend me. I’m not a victim. If fact, they’ve earned my respect.
This does not call for valor folks. Nobody’s life is in jeopardy. If we are gripped by fear in a situation of saying grace before a meal …
God help us!
You see, not only are heroes born of crisis – so are cowards.
God help us!
That’s what I think. I’m interested in your thoughts. There’s lots of ways to hit me up so let me hear from you.
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