Thursday, December 14, 2006

Flawed Heroes

I used to be extremely idealistic and perfectionistic and in some ways I still am. But realizing people's imperfections and humanness can be a breath of fresh air. It doesn't have to be a cause to become negative and bitter because no one is perfect besides God himself. We don't have to give up on heroes just because none of them live up to our expectations 100% of the time.

When I used to strive for perfection I was too hard on myself and others and Daniel was my Biblical hero. You read the book of Daniel and I don't think there is a record of anything he did wrong. He obviously sinned but for whatever reason none of them ever got recorded. Oh, that the rest of us could be so lucky :-). Yet, as I worked through my own imperfections and learned how to give myself and others a break my Biblical hero changed. I found myself identifying more with David or perhaps Rahab or another person who had faith and was praised by God but had obvious flaws. You don't condone the sin but you are also realistic about the fact that we are all just human.

I say all of this to explain my admiration for different people who have imperfections but also have done a lot of good that can't be overlooked because of their humanness. The first time I came to terms with this was with Michael Landon. I have seen almost every episode of Little House on the Prairie too many times to count. There is so much about this show that I love and it amplifies everything that is good about family, faith, life and it does it with heart and humor. Anytime life gets difficult I put in an episode of LHOP and everything is right with the world. My mom watched hours of it with me when I was in the beginning stages of labor with one of my sons :-).

Anyway, Landon's character embodies what it looks like to be a wonderful father and husband. Because of this I had a great admiration for him and even though he was acting you could often see his true heart come through in what he said and did. I also saw him in real life interviews and a biography of him showed how he would go to a camp for kids with cancer. Most celebrities would come for a day and get their photo-ops but Landon would go and actually spend the whole week interacting with the kids the entire time. There was something about him that gave you the impression that he was genuine and sincere.

So, it was very difficult when I found out that even though in real life he believed in family and faith he hadn't done a very good job of living it out. I was stunned when I learned that he had been married 3 times. But it was then that I realized that it didn't discount all the good he did. If I had known about the 3 marriages first it may have colored my view of him but I knew about the good first.

As some of you may have suspected this is leading up to my thoughts about Mel Gibson. I see the same qualities in Gibson's movies as I saw in LHOP and I see the same sincerity and heart in Gibson in real life as I saw in Michael Landon. Braveheart and The Patriot portray so much of where my heart is when it comes to passion, fighting for what you believe in, loyalty and never giving up. Gibson poured his heart into Braveheart like Landon did with LHOP and it shows.

I watched Sean Hannity's interview with Gibson last night and saw so much transparency in him and all the qualities that have garnered my respect and admiration for him. He had a sense of humor and seemed very genuine and real. He talked about faith and grace and you saw it in him. He talked about how we all have to be humiliated at times and that it leads to humility. It helps you keep perspective about your small place in this world. We are all human beings and we need a tap on the shoulder when we are getting out of line. He talked about how it is important to turn a negative into something good.

Does the drunken, anti-semitic speech bother me? Am I disappointed that he doesn't like Bush and is against the Iraq War? Yes, to all of those but it doesn't discount the tremendous good he has done with the Passion and all his other endeavors. He is a flawed hero of mine.

My last example would be Rush. This man has done more good for the conservative cause than anyone I know aside from Reagan. I adore the fact that he speaks his mind and doesn't care what anyone thinks or says. He is real and honest and believes in many of the same ideals that we all believe in.

Am I disappointed that he's had 3 failed marriages? Did the drug addiction disappoint me? Yes, but once again his flaws can't possibly discount all the good he's done.

The True Measure of a Man/Woman

All of this causes me to reflect on what is the true measure of a person. It is not whether they lived a perfect life because Jesus Christ is the only one who did that. It is whether they took the good and the bad, the strengths and the weaknesses and grew as a person. It is whether their faith in God has enabled them to bring good out of bad situations. It is whether they lived life with grace and faith and tried to make their corner of the world a little better.

(Sidenote: Many of you may disagree with me on this. You are free to do that and for some it may be because you knew the negatives about these people before the good. There are probably some people that had I known their strengths before their weaknesses I might view them differently. Such is life. But this post reflects my heart and is sincere and genuine.)

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