Where are the heroes?

Posted: February 13, 2012 in Love and Marriage
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Les Miserables is undeniably one of the great stories of our time and today I was considering the juxtaposition of its message with a recent conversation I had.  The more I thought about it, the more I couldn’t help but be inspired to write.

I couldn’t help wondering why honor is so absent from our society today, especially among men.  Who sold us a bill of goods that said “Live for yourself.  Look out for number one.  Get what you can.”  That’s the way to live life?  I couldn’t disagree more.

I’ll never forget a story I heard as a teen in which a woman was sharing how she and her husband had reconciled after he had had an affair.  She described the pain she felt, lying next to him in bed at night and thinking about what he had done.  She told how she knew she could have left him and been justified in doing so.

But then she said that God showed her that while divorcing him would have been permissible, it wouldn’t have been the most honorable thing.  She chose to stay.  She chose to face her fears, her uncertainty, her pain, and she chose to take the risk for something higher than her feelings, her needs, or what she wanted.

In Les Miserables, the story is a picture of the law and grace, judgement and mercy.  The Bible tells us that mercy triumphs over judgement.  Main character Jean Valjean receives both mercy (not getting what he deserves) and grace (getting what he doesn’t deserve) and goes on to become a giver of both.  Time and again, he has the opportunity to set honor aside and do what would be best for him, but he won’t.  He lives by a different standard, because he was ransomed and redeemed and he is bound by a higher law.

It’s a powerful story of self-sacrifice.  Of living for others rather than self.  And I can’t help but wonder.  Where are all the men today who would risk it all to give of themselves, rather than taking?  Where are the men who would put honor above their pride, and would use what they’ve been given to be what someone else needs?  Where are the heroes?

There’s something more meaningful than success.  There’s something more powerful than winning.  There’s something stronger than justification.

That something is love.  Not the “love” of the pop culture variety.  Not the “if it makes me feel good, if it meets my needs, if it makes me happy, if I’m being fulfilled, etc. etc. gag me please.  Not that selfish, me, me, me attitude that has nothing to do with love.

Real love gives. Real love sacrifices.  Real love doesn’t take.  Real love says others are more important than me and true success is when I can give myself away without asking for anything in return purely for another person’s benefit.

The stories of great love and sacrifice throughout the ages ring true because they get at the heart of what life is really all about and way down inside, no matter how much we bury it or deny it, we know it.

So the choice is, run from it or embrace it.  What will you do with what you’ve been given?

Where are the heroes?

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