LEARNING FROM ONE’S ‘HEROES’
“Your heavenly Father will forgive you if you forgive those who sin
against you; but if you refuse to forgive them, He will not forgive
you.” Matthew 6:14-15 (The Living Bible)
A recent article reported on the type of heroes chosen by young people. Not surprisingly, most of their choices were centered on TV or movie personalities or sports’ celebrities. I was a bit amused at their choices because as I reflected back on my childhood, I discovered that my “heroes” were also those in the entertainment field – men of action, like the Lone Ranger and Hop-A-Long Cassidy. However, as I became more familiar with the lives of my “heroes”, I found that they are only human and often had “feet of clay” and therefore soon lost their heroic stature.
In addition, as I matured the number of my heroes decreased and I began to admire certain traits in various individuals in my own circle of acquaintances instead of celebrities. Further, I discerned that these “new-heroes” possessed some trait that I felt was lacking or underdeveloped in my own life.
An area of my life that greatly bothered me was that I had long found it difficult to forgive people who offended me by either word or deed in spite of numerous biblical admonitions. Over the years I mellowed to the point that I did not often visibly react to these perceived slights but they were not forgiven nor forgotten. My trait of being unforgiving bothered me especially in light of Matthew 6:14-15. I decided that I needed help in this area so I consulted one of my “heroes”, my sister. I had noted that she very seldom expressed dismay over the actions of others, which would have annoyed me! When I inquired of her “secret”, her reply surprised me. Her “secret” was that most things aren’t really that important in the long run and that most of the time others are not really aware that they have even offended you!
Her words reminded me of our Lord’s words on the cross when He said: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke: 23:34 (NIV). Again a lesson for me on how one would act if one tried to mirror Him in their actions. Good intentions are fine but how do we change our reactions? An obvious truth is that we can’t on a long-term basis!! Only when we rely on Him to guide and strengthen us will be able to react to the hurtful words and deeds of others in light of His love. I thank my sister for helping me learn this important truth.