Written by Jeremy Stalnecker
In my last post I did my best to answer the question: “What is a Hero?” (you can read that here). This often overused word really does have a meaning apart from the “other worldly” fighters of evil that we see portrayed in film. And, as entertaining as many of these fictional stories can be, it is the real-life heroes that really make a difference in our lives. If you have not read my definition of hero, take a minute to check that out before you continue here. And, in case you missed the link in the first sentence, follow this one to get to that post.
As was said while defining the word, heroism, to be a hero, is not unusual because other CAN’T do what the hero has done. It is unusual because others WON’T do what the hero has done. Heroic acts can be done by anyone and yet remain so rare that we elevate those who do them, and we should, to a place of distinct honor. But why? Why is heroism so rare?
The reason that heroes are so hard to find is because most people don’t like the definition. Most people like fame and notoriety and get excited at the thought that they have some kind of gift or skill that others do not. When we talk about self-sacrifice though, that’s another story. This is the reason a clear definition is so important. Looking at our definition it’s easy to see that those who decide to be heroes do so while knowing it is not about them. In fact, a real hero knows that they may lose everything that normal people protect so that they can do what OTHERS need them to do. The act is taken on the behalf of others with a potentially high cost to the one acting heroically. There are not more heroes because the cost is just too high.
But even though the cost is high, WE NEED HEROES NOW MORE THAN EVER! In a country and a culture that is hurting so badly what we need are men and women who have honestly considered the cost and decided that the cause is worth it. We don’t need people who are ignorant of dangers that they will face or those that simply want to be seen. We need men and women who understand that life is not about defending what you have but about taking risks that can make those around you better. It is about living for a cause bigger than yourself for people that may never fully understand just how much you have done. We need heroes who are not content to just get by until their life on this earth ends but want to expend themselves on the behalf of others.
Our homes, communities, country, and world all need heroes. The cost may be high but there is no better life that could ever be lived.