Who will be the hero?

Well, another baseball season has come and gone. Yes, I know Game 7 of the World Series has yet to be played but MY season essentially ended the day the Dodgers were eliminated by the Cubs. It is always painful watching my teams go down to defeat; it matters not whether it is the Dodgers, Trojans (football), Bruins (basketball), the Raiders, or the Suns. In every big game there are crucial turning points that often hinge upon whether someone (anyone!) rises up to be the hero. So often the game turns on someone getting the big hit, pitching out of the bases loaded jam, hitting the “3”, or making the 4th down conversion. It matters not who the person is. In many instances it isn’t the star but some role player who will never make an all-star team or be put in the Hall of Fame that turns the tide. Without Dave Roberts stolen base as a pinch runner in the 2004 playoffs the Red Sox never even make it to the World Series that year and though Kirk Gibson’s homerun in game 1 of the 1988 World Series is what everyone remembers, he never even would have come up to hit if journeyman Mickey Hatcher hadn’t hit a two-run homerun in the first inning of that game.

It is that time in history. I have no way of knowing whether we are still in the first inning or if it’s the bottom of the ninth with two outs, I can’t help but believe as a world, we are in Game 7. We need a hero. We need the undrafted walk-on, the guy at the end of the bench to step up and make the big play. We aren’t in a political crisis, a cultural war, or financial disaster. This Game 7 is much bigger than those minuscule issues, it is eternal. It is not going to be a Piper, Carson, MacArthur, DeYoung, or even a Keller who is going to be the hero. The hero must be me, you, and the rest of the ordinary people claiming the name of Christ.

1)            Heroes will not be gossips.

As Christians we must repent of this. On every social media outlet Christians in an effort to rally the masses, express their point, and illustrate the legitimacy of their case have too often become nothing more than gossips. Whether it is political, racial, or social we take short audio and/or video clips of events a thousand miles away and arrogantly proclaim a verdict of guilt or innocence. We take sentences out of context; we share statistics of questionable veracity, and do so without a conscience. We make sweeping judgments of people with barely a modicum of reliable intel. Most often what is communicated is done so not for the sake of goodness but of being right and victorious in our cause. No matter the justness or rightness of our beliefs, no matter the passion of our conviction we shame the name of Christ with our arrogance and do irreparable damage to our witness when we proclaim our values in this way.

2)            Heroes will seek to be redemptive and reconciliatory.

The people who should be the stabilizers of a broken society should be the followers of Jesus Christ. The grace given by Jesus Christ redeemed sinners and reconciled us to the Father. That is what heroes do. Heroes extend grace. Heroes seek to redeem. Heroes work to reconcile. Bombastic arrogance displayed through trite memes and demeaning journalism may entertain us and serve to beat down our opponents but will never do anything other than inflame what is already a social bonfire.

Heroes will do the hard work of difficult conversations and relationships with patience and perseverance. Too many times people are shut out, shut down, and cut off simply because another person held to a different viewpoint.

When Jesus cleansed the temple, over-turning tables and kicking people out, He didn’t flex His muscles, shout people down, and puff out His chest and leave. He stuck around and taught truth. He instructed the people on matters of faith. He patiently and with great wisdom engaged those who opposed Him (Mark 11:1-13:2).

3)            Heroes will be gracious and humble.

Having conviction does not mean we have it all figured out. Jesus spoke of forgiveness, grace, mercy, and love. He spoke of righteousness and holiness. He spoke of sin, judgment, and obedience. He spoke of truth. Christians hold those principles as non-negotiable. We must also live with the weight of the reality that we do not know how to perfectly live out those principles in every situation. We must approach our world not with an open mind that questions the veracity of Scripture but with the humility that seeks to learn how to live what Christ proclaimed. As Paul instructed in Titus 3, we must remember to be considerate, ready to do good deeds, always remembering the depth of depravity that Christ had to rescue us from ourselves. We must live with our own imperfections firmly set in the front of our minds always being ready to listen, learn, and grow.

4)            Heroes will be of first priority evangelical, not political.

Social reform is needed. Racism in all forms is real. The impoverished and disenfranchised need care. Lazy and entitled people need to work and be productive. Gender issues need addressed. Sexual deviancy must be stopped. In the scope of eternity that is all meaningless. Christians as first priority must call people to faith in Christ. That is job one. That is why we have been given the status as the people of God.

In the formalization of the nation of Israel God called them a Kingdom of Priests (Exodus 19:5-6). When Peter was instructing scattered Christians he reiterated those same words (1st Peter 2:9-10). The main point of this is not that the Church is the new Israel, but that those who are God’s people from the very beginning and without change through today were created and formed to represent God to the world.

We can live in a world with no racism, with no impoverished cultures, with no financial woes, and with no political dysfunction and the world would still be under the sentence of eternal death if they are not redeemed and forgiven by Jesus Christ through faith in His work on the cross on their behalf. Heroes are those who see the depravity of our world as an opportunity to bring the gospel to a world that needs it. Only as sinners are brought face to face with Jesus will the blackness of our world become light. The gospel is what changes people.

Christian, be the one who sees Christ, who sees eternity, and is firmly committed to the call of Christ on our lives.

 

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