Where are the Heroes?

“If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the
tax collectors doing that?
And if you greet only your brothers, what are you
doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?
Be perfect, therefore,
as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Jesus in Matthew 5:46-48

It’s not surprising how prevalent the drug culture is when you compare other facets of our society. People turn to drugs to make life more exciting or less stressful, or themselves less inhibited or more creative, etc. These are the same guidelines followed in many of life's choices: not by what is right but by what will give me the feeling I want. Most everyone thinks, “I should be happy,” so the search is on for the situation that will make them happy. Along the way, many evil decisions are made: spouses are abandoned, children neglected, friends abused, responsibilities ignored.

If we all made all our choices by what makes us feel good, there would be no heroes. Heroes are people who put aside their plans or desires in order to do something good for another person. For example, Sgt. York wanted to live a life of pacifism; but, when forced to be in a combat situation, he put aside his own comfortable ideas and fought to save the lives of other soldiers. Another example: the apostle Paul rejoiced that Christ was preached even though the preachers were intending by their preaching to stir up more trouble for Paul (Philippians 1:17-18). He was that much more concerned with what was good for others than with his own feelings.

Every day we see heroes in the world around us: the mother of a handicapped child, a teacher in an inner city school, Big Brother/ Big Sister volunteers, anyone who steps outside her comfort zone to help another, anyone who will put his own plans on hold while he encourages someone else.

When Jesus was describing how hard it would be for the disciples (Matthew 10:5-42), he said even the smallest act of participation in their work would be rewarded (v. 42). One who is thinking of his own comfort will not find it easy to participate in God’s work because God’s work does not make us comfortable in this world. Jesus also said, if one desires a perfect life, live without regard to a comfort zone (Matthew 5:46-48). Don’t shut your eyes to the destitute nor your hearts to the hurting. Don’t withhold friendship from those who disagree with you.

If you would have a perfect life, stop making choices by what you desire and start thinking of how you can be an encouragement to those around you, even those you don’t know yet, “that you may be children of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust.” (Matthew 5:45).

Be perfect, be heroic, be a disciple…be loving.

alternate title: "Being Perfect"

written October 26, 2003

 

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