What are heroes remembered for?
History is filled with people that are deemed to be heroes/heroines. But do all of them meet the threshold of heroism? What is it that really characterizes lives of true heroes?
In the Bible, the Book of Hebrews 11 records heroes of faith; people who stood out for what they believed in. Their qualities and accomplishments outlived them; and their lives became celebrated beyond their lifetimes.
What characterizes the lives of heroes?
1. Heroes are men and women known for their faith– They are people who walk not by what is seen but unseen. They believe. They believe in people’s potential beyond the present. They do not have the word “impossible” in their vocabulary. Besides, they are able to provide leadership that takes people from known to unknown.
2. Heroes have a Source of inspiration– Heroes derive their inspiration beyond themselves. Many find sustainable strength and encouragement not from people or what they get but from God and His word. God is their partner.
3. Heroes live for a purpose greater than themselves– True heroes are selfless. They have learned to conquer the self. They lay down their lives for the sake of many. They forfeit their prerogatives and rights to be able to look at the welfare of many. They are givers, not takers.
Their sphere of their influence is beyond their nuclear family, extended family, tribe, country, race, socio-economic or political distinctions. They see God’s image in all people. That is why they are celebrated by people from various walks of life.
4. Have eternal perspective of things– One jewel that all heroes have is hope. They look forward to something better. To them, the best is yet to come. They have a vision of this life and the life to come. Their hope cannot be eclipsed by temporary circumstances. In addition, they do not enjoy the present at the expense of tomorrow; their lives are shaped by the vision of what is to come.
5. Heroes stand for truth and justice– Truth is always something unpopular and in most cases suppressed. But heroes are always on the side of truth. They preach the truth and courageously advocate/defend the truth without seeking people’s approval. Besides, they fearlessly challenge established structures that are founded on falsehood. As a result many heroes aren’t honored or celebrated in their lifetimes.
6. Heroes are men and women of conviction– They are people who passionately live for a particular cause. They have a singular affection for a certain cause or need; and that is where they focus their energies on. They redefine and set new norms and standards.. Their consuming passion is often met with stiff resistance and hostility. And so sometimes they are killed because of what they adamantly stand for or dream. Often, they are defined not by the number of years they live but by the difference they made (in the lives of people) within the (few) years they live.
7. Heroes are men and women of integrity– They are figures of great repute in their societies. They do what they say and say what they do.
8. Like stars, heroes shine brighter in darkness– Heroes stand out from among the majority. Where there is hatred they demonstrate love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
9. They are future-oriented– They are not consumed with past narratives of failure, disappointments, and grudges. They have a big windscreen/windshield and a small rear view mirror. They shape the future in a new and greater way.
10. Heroes are ordinary human beings– Heroes are not superhuman, they are people like you and me; but they choose to rise above the occasion. They refuse to settle on mediocrity and average. They choose to be part of a solution than to be part of a problem. They do small things in a big and different way.
Be a hero.