Mind in Renewal

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What to Do when a Hero Fails You

Posted by Daniel Edwards on April 19, 2009

I am writing this because, sometimes, we take great stock in other people. We look up to them. We respect them. They teach us and show us an example of who we want to be. Some would call these heroes; others might say role models or something else. Whatever the case, the idea is the same. But what do we do when someone who we consider so strong in the faith, so in tune with the Holy Spirit, fails us. It can be devastating and some of us might feel that we want to just sit at home and cry. But as Christians, how should we respond? This is in no way an exhaustive list, but here are my thoughts:

1.Realize that our hope is in Christ and Him alone. People will come and go. They will be here today and gone tomorrow, but Jesus has said that He will never leave us or forsake us. Others may die, get sick, have a bad day, or suffer from any number of things that will prevent them from being there for us. But Jesus Christ is alive and well, constantly strengthening and encouraging us and interceding with the Father on our behalf without fail. Not only that, but no matter how good a hero may be, no matter how much you may respect them, Jesus is the only perfect example. And that will never change

2.Realize that our heroes are human and they make mistakes. No one, no matter how honorable or great we may esteem them to be, is invincible in the battle against sin. All of our heroes, save for Jesus Christ, has sinned, and (unless they are no longer living) will sin again. Those who have walked with the Lord longer may be more faithful and they may not sin as often or as greatly as we see and perceive our own sin, but they do sin, more than we may even realize. Also, if our hero is a leader of any sort, then his or her sin will be magnified by the fact that it will be a more public sin.

3.Pray for them. Perhaps they are struggling with their faith. Perhaps, they had a momentary lapse of judgment or need the Lord’s guidance on a particular subject. But always remember this: even the greatest heroes have their tough times. We can help them by lifting them up in prayer and asking God to give them strength through the hard times.

4.Take time to appreciate what they have done in the past to edify you. Just because your hero has failed you in one area, it doesn’t mean that they are undeserving of any respect. If they were your spiritual hero before they let you down, then recognize that they have made a mistake, but don’t let one flaw blind you to everything good about the person. As humans this is often our tendency.

5.In some cases, confront them. If your hero is someone you know well, and they publicly sin against you, it is your responsibility to confront that person in truth and in love. After praying for that person and yourself, draw that person aside privately and show them from Scripture where they have sinned. Be straightforward, but not critical. Rather, make them aware of your concern for them. It is possible that they were blinded to their sin and they will be grateful to you for showing them the truth. If they do repent, accept their repentance and count it joy to have won a brother or sister over. If they do not however, follow Jesus’ instructions in Matthew 8: take two or three with you, and if that doesn’t work, take them before the Church. If that doesn’t work, then you may need to:


6. In some cases, withdraw support. If the person that you look up to starts forming a pattern and habit of sin(s), then it may be that it is time for you to stop supporting that person. As sad as it is to say, it is possible that your hero has pulled the wool over your eyes and that your hero is not who you thought he or she was. This course of action will of course need the help and discernment of other wise and strong Christians. These cases are truly painful, but remember…

7.Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Just because someone sins or promotes a faulty idea, it does not mean that you should not heed the things you have learned from them in the past. It also does not mean that you should try and forget your good memories with them. (Point 3.)

This is something that I have dealt with in my own life and spent some time thinking about and I hope it helps you.

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