You will probably agree with my current assessment of the human condition.
- Selfishness is on the rise - manifesting as everything from greed to murder.
- The inability to take personal responsibility for anything is on a sharp rise.
- The ability to express natural love is spiraling down the toilet. Kindness and courtesy to strangers went the way of road rage and shooting neighbors over parking spaces. (See Matthew 24:12).
Have you noticed how a true hero has been redefined in a weak effort to compensate for this decline in the human spirit? A man who pays his child support and provides love to his children is carried through the streets on the shoulders of the townspeople. A woman who calls the cops when she sees somebody bleeding on the street is hailed as 'the hero who saved a person's life.
Am I crazy, or aren't these things we're supposed to do? Are we that hungry to find a hero??
I was especially amused about the sensationalized coverage of a Philadelphia bus driver. Under the title "Bus Driver Was a Hero," a recent article goes on to describe how this reported "hero" drove his passengers to safety after the bus got caught in a spray of gunfire. Our local TV news stories weren't any better - offering buckets of praise for the driver who drove a few blocks and lit the "Emergency" sign on the bus. And oh yea... he did this after catching one of the bullets.
I immediately thought to myself: Wouldn't the driver's own self-preservation be a motivating factor for fleeing the gunfire? At what point did he throw himself into danger to help save somebody else's life?
Dictionary definitions of "hero" often refer to "self sacrifice" as the true nature of heroism (like the definition at Wikipedia and the one here at Merriam-Websters). Sometimes the self-sacrifice can be giving up your own possessions to provide help for others. And in the most extreme cases, the sacrifice may be a threat to your own life.
If that's true, since when did dragging your wounded-self from the line of fire to avoid the next bullet become a heroic act that deserved high praise on television? I must ask again - Are we that dang hungry to find a hero? When the bar drops that low, it's time to worry.
I'm not trying to take anything from the bus driver or the injured passengers who must have seen their lives flash before their eyes. I have never faced gunfire and hope I never do... But I also can't give him the same "hero" badge that I lovingly give to folks like the first-responders during 9/11.
Would you be satisfied to be called a "hero" for anything less than putting your own life (or resources) on the line to help another person? It's time to stop the madness and expect a little more of each other - and of ourselves.