We were listening to Mariah Carey’s song, ‘The hero lies in you.’ It has some powerful words that I am sure resonate with many people. Words like, ‘So when you feel like hope is gone, look inside you and be strong.’ It’s a song about love lost of course. But it has wider appeal and meaning to many. Mainly because it suggests that we all have an inner strength, what is referred to as ‘a hero inside our hearts.’ That’s not a line from the song, but a combination.
What is a hero? We use that word a lot and it has resonance for us. It moves us in this song. What does it mean in this song and generally? Hero can be a character in a piece of fiction who does great feats and is admired, the lead character. Hero can mean a person in life who we admire and who achieves great things, who overcomes obstacles, who does something great. Generally, the hero rides in to the rescue when things go wrong. They are the character in fiction and in real live that we credit with rescuing a person or situation.
These days, in this post-modern world we are much more likely to look at anti-heroes than heroes. The very concept of heroes has become passé and unpopular. Humans are a fickle lot, a fact that has been pressed home on me by watching the first series of Masterchef Goes Large. It’s not just that Greg Wallace and John Torode look so young in 2005, but it’s their comments. The idea that it is not desirable to mix the food of different nations. A concept that is lauded in the latest series. The complaints at food being presented in to fancy a manner, or veg being too crunchy. These are all food fashions that have changed. There is an old song called ‘Putting on the style.’ It so captures the idea that each generation just puts on a new style/fashion. It’s so serious to them, but as you get older and see the many ‘re-runs’ it becomes absurd.
Back to being our own hero. In our lives the song writers, including Mariah are suggesting that we can be the hero. Is that true? That’s an interesting question. Can we save ourselves? Be our own hero. There’s an American TV series called ‘Heroes’ it’s about a group of people who ‘evolve’ super powers. So, these ‘heroes’ are super-heroes. In a way that is what a lot of us think when we consider the idea of ‘hero’ we almost unconsciously add ‘super’ to it. Marvel comics have produced a whole series of comics and the follow-on films about ‘heroes’ some of whom do not have ‘super’ powers. Their ‘super’ powers are the weapons or armour they use. Characters like Iron Man and Falcon fit that bill. You probably think I am a huge comic book geek now? Actually, I don’t read comics at all. But I do occasionally watch films about comic book characters. They are escapist fun.
Where was I? Being our own hero. Can we be our own hero, save ourselves? At last, I am going to give my answer to that. Take it or leave it, weigh it for yourself. I don’t believe we can save ourselves. Which is not the same as saying that we should give up. I believe that we should be strong and try hard in our lives. I believe we should not give up. But I also believe that there are points in our lives when we need help. Things are just beyond us. We cry out in desperation. There is an answer. That answer comes not from within us, but from Jesus. I know, you want to stop reading now. Mike is banging on about Jesus again. Being all religious and talking twaddle. Actually, I am not being religious at all. I am the least religious person you are ever likely to come across. I do not blindly follow any rules. I don’t believe in a set of instructions that lead to salvation. I don’t worship a holy book. I do not advocate a man created ideology or religiosity. I have no time for the concept of working you way to heaven, or say that only good people can meet God. I dispute the idea that church is full of people who have got it together. I certainly do not put on a smile and say, ‘everything is wonderful because I know God.’ No, I am a real human being. I know about God, because I have a relationship with him through Jesus. My ‘faith’ is a real faith based on a real person.
There is nothing special about me, other than what God has done. I am totally unable to save myself. But God can do anything. I do not follow a set of instructions; I follow a loving God. I don’t worship a holy book. I read a book of life; The Bible, God’s Word. I don’t claim that I have my life perfect and together. I fail, I fall over, I get in a mess. God loves me in that mess. Helps me through it and pulls me out of it. When I go to a church meeting it is full of people just like me. Imperfect, weak, real and needing God. It is from that point that I am saying there is an answer. Jesus is the answer; because I have experienced it. Jesus is not a swear word, or a concept, or an irrelevancy. Jesus is a person we can know and be known by. More than that, Jesus is God’s son who came to earth so that we could know God and have hope and a future.
When I say we cannot save ourselves, it’s because we need God’s help. When we search for a hero inside ourselves; what we find is Jesus waiting to meet us and help us. You can choose to be self-sufficient and do it all alone, but ultimately you will then find you are too weak. We humans are full of bravado, singing loudly about how great we are. Inside we know the truth. Frightened, weak and lonely. We need each other, friends and family, but most of all we need God. Jesus will help us get to know him. Or you can decide to try and go it alone.
I have often suggested Alpha.org as a free, non-pressured way to ask questions about Christianity and I do so again.
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