“Life consists not in holding good cards but in playing those you hold well!” – Josh Billings
In the past month I have been speaking about some of my heroes. I have written about President Kennedy, Nelson Mandela, John Lennon and I have quoted song lyrics from Larry Norman. Stories especially those about real people are wonderful, because they help us to see how it is possible to live a life that impacts the world if not the lives of others in a positive way.
My eyes were drawn to watch a video article on TR – that’s Russia Today a satellite news channel which told of some of the shady dealings that Nelson Mandela made when he was President of South Africa to help get the South African economy on a secure footing. I also watched a couple of videos recorded by Larry Norman’s girlfriend who spoke of how he manipulated people.
At first I was disappointed to find that my heroes weren’t as I imagined them to be and then I thought of JFK’s fling with Marilyn Monroe and remembered something I’d read in a John Lennon biography. John had a drunken fight with his best friend Stuart Sutcliffe who hit his head on the pavement (sidewalk) and when he later died of a brain haemorrhage Lennon blamed himself.
The point I am making here is that no-one is perfect and that is the same of both you and me too! We are not only the heroes in our own story, we are the villains too! We are in good company, thankfully; because if you read the great “Hall of Faith” chapter in the bible Hebrews 11 you read about the mighty exploits of the great men of faith to be found in the Old Testament.
There are some wonderful heroes celebrated there: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Samuel, David, Solomon and so the list goes on. The great man of faith Abraham didn’t believe God’s promise that Sarah would bear him a son and with Sarah’s blessing had a son with Hagar their maidservant. Isaac stole his brothers birth right, David had Uriah the Hittite killed so that he could marry Bathsheba.
I’ve read the bible through all the way twice, so I know that Hebrews 11 is only telling us one part of these stories! Human beings are flawed; we have the capacity for great good and great evil. We need to be real, we are not all good or all bad, but we need to make sure that we keep the dark side of our nature on a short leash and put our best foot forward every day of our lives!
I believe we should forgive our heroes for not quite making the mark, and forgive ourselves and our fellow human beings for being like us less than we’d like to be and maybe then we will be remembered for the joy we have brought to the world, the good that we have done for others and we will all rest in peace when our time comes.