If you have ever had a hero, you have probably been disappointed by that hero. History is full of admirable and brave people who sadly also committed abominable and embarrassing sins. If you care to research them you can discover dark sins in the lives of history’s most noble figures that would make you cringe. It has been popular, especially recently, to discuss and review these failings, which I think is excellent. It is good to have an accurate picture of history because this gives us an accurate picture of ourselves, but it has also become popular to pass judgment on these figures and to discredit their good work because of their bad work. This tendency needs to end. When speaking of history, we speak of humans; all humans except one have sinned (Romans 3:23).
As a child I was taught fanciful stories about Columbus, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Martin Luther, Teddy Roosevelt, and Dr. King. Latter, one by one, I learned that each of these larger-than-life titans had committed crimes against their neighbors. Each one embarrassed their country, their cause, or their God. I was crushed. We long for incorruptible role models, but the fact remains that there is only one incorruptible.
In scripture too the wisest and bravest failed. The greatest kings and the wisest prophets lied, lost hope, committed murder, and sinned sexually. It turns out: God can use anybody, and he often uses the weak so that he will get credit for the victories he gives them.
|Fantasy Team of WWI Heroes By: Frederick Humbert|
Usually when we talk about the failings of the patriarchs we are challenged to remember and believe that God can use us in spite of what we’ve done. Of course he can; however, I want to shift the focus from ourselves to our neighbors. Please take a moment to remember someone whose behavior you despise; they may be a gossip, a tyrant, or a home wrecker. Whatever you think of them, God looks at them and loves them exactly as he loves you. Your sins, my sins, and their sins are all equally damnable, and Jesus Christ is equally willing and able to forgive each of us.
Pray The Lord’s Prayer today, and as you reach, "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." take the opportunity today to forgive your enemies just as Christ forgave us when we were still his enemies. God can use them as easily as he can use us. We are all in his hand: equally unworthy and yet equally loved.