Flawed heroes

Flawed heroes are the only ones available.

This should not surprise us.  Take biblical heroes for example.  A friend and I have been discussing the Noah story lately.  My friend is not taken with Noah.  As he notes, Noah tells no one of the pending disaster, does not attempt to argue God out of the flood, takes no responsibility for his drunkenness or his nakedness, and speaks only to lay a curse on his grandsons.  What’s to admire in Noah, asks my friend?

His question got me thinking about other biblical heroes, and try as I might I can’t think of a single woman or man who passes the flawless test.  Kings, prophets, major and minor players in the drama of salvation history:  all display one or more unsavory traits. Yet God selects and works with them to accomplish whatever it is God is doing in a given time and place.

Apparently, God can handle our dysfunction, error, wrong-headedness and sin.  God works with us as we are, even as he dreams of our becoming Christ-like, both as individuals and as the People of God.

All of which leads me to look differently at others than might once have been the case.  Rather than spot a person’s flaws and say to myself, “Well, too bad, that disqualifies her or him from service to God,” I now try to say, “I see some of the flaws there, but I wonder what God might do with him or her anyway.”  The same change in question applies to how I look at myself.

Let’s give three cheers for flawed heroes.  They’re the only game in town.


Mike Smith

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Mike Smith serves as Senior Pastor of Central Baptist Church of Fountain City, Knoxville, Tenn. He is co-author of "Mount and Mountain: A Reverend and a Rabbi Talk About the Ten Commandments."

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