What IS a hero? Is there some list of qualifications to make the cut for hero? It appears to me that our society has some floating definition that generically covers just about anyone who has been "famous" regardless of their life and its living.
Perhaps we need to go back to the "drawing board" and reevaluate the paradigm for hero. The "drawing board" would be Scripture. That's where we find God's definition of hero. And it's clear that God doesn't require perfection to make the grade for hero because God used some pretty flawed people to build His Kingdom on earth. There was Moses the murderer and Jacob the sneaky schemer. There was David the adulteror and murderer who God calls "a man after God's own heart"! There was Peter who denied that he even knew Jesus who fell on his face in tearful repentance at the feet of Jesus following the resurrection to receive forgiveness and restoration!
So, apparently in God's paradigm for hero there isn't the requirement of perfection, purity and squeaky clean. But - that being said - "hero" should require genuine sacrifice, ultimate integrity, remarkable courage to perform brave deeds with nobility. "Hero" also encompasses the concept of role model - positive role model, that is!
The dictionary adds: "the principal character (male) in a book, movie, etc." Maybe that's where "hero" runs off the rails! There are many principal players recorded on the pages of history who had their flash of fame but never got close to hero status. Generally "hero" means male but I am using "hero" generically to include both genders.
A friend - actually more than one - posted this picture on Facebook today:
It certainly distinguishes "hero" as more than the "icing on a cake." "Hero" is won by courage and commitment in the face of hardship, pain, struggle and even death!
I have lived in this picture one bright summer day on a hillside in North Carolina. My brother who had distinguished himself as a career Marine officer was buried after he died as a result of a tragic tractor accident on his farm days after retiring from the Corps. One of his young sons was about the age of this young man in the picture.
General Charles Krulak gave the flag from Ed's coffin to his widow. General Krulak (who was the Commandant of the US Marine Corps shortly thereafter) also wrote three letters - one to each of Ed's children. Each letter detailed an occasion when General Krulak and my brother were together and how in that situation General Krulak saw heroism, courage and Godly character. In each letter General Krulak referenced a Scripture verse my brother had applied to that situation. Not because he is my brother - but because of his character and courage doing the right thing rather than the expedient, easy way and most of all because of his commitment of his whole heart and life to Jesus Christ - that's what a hero looks like! Hero comes from the heart!