Heroes vs. Mentors
When I recently redid my blog design, I found this sitting on one of my pages. When or why I wrote it, I can't remember. But there wasn't room for it with my pages, and I thought it'd be a shame to delete it. So I'm editing and re-posting it here for all my lovely readers.
Heroes. We all have them. They're the people we look up to, the people we strive to be like, the people who are, in our eyes, the epitome of all that is good and pure, true and honest, just and godly. They are the parents we want to be like, the teachers we want to talk like, the older friends we want to look like. They seem to have accomplished the ultimate task in life: being Christ-like. We think they are perfect.
By now I know you have at least one person in your mind. They are your heroes - the people you long to be even slightly like. In reality, you are no different than them. Oh, they may not complain as much as you do, or waste time like you do, or miss four days of devotions in a row. But they are still human - something we all seem to forget.
So what does make our heroes so special? If they are the same as us, what makes them seem different?
They are more spiritually mature. We think they have 'arrived,' have reached perfection in human form; they know that they have far too much room for growth. We place them on the pedestal of our hearts and say, "As a human being, we cannot be exactly like Christ, but that's as close as a human could get." They look at those secret sins and 'little' problems and know they will never be as close as they appear.
They struggle with different sins. While we may be constantly struggling with complaining, they rarely say a word. As we realize that another day has been surrendered to laziness, they check off their to-do lists and appear accomplished. But this is a false appearance of perfection. Simply because they don't battle with the sin of complaining, doesn't mean they don't battle with sin. The areas we never thought could be hard to conquer take them down every day; but because we see our problem as the only giant, they appear to have won the battle. On the occasion that our sin does overcome them - which happens more than we think - we never notice, because we're too busy singing their praises, or we notice and shrug it off as a one-time thing.
This isn't to say we shouldn't have heroes. God often sends older, more mature people into our lives for a purpose - to be a role model and mentor, to show us what we need to work on and give us advice. All too often we place those heroes on the throne of our heart, and this is unfair. Besides being the sin of idolatry, this also places a burden on their lives as they fail to live up to your expectations. (It will happen.)
So I've decided to stop having heroes. Before you protest, hear me out. I'm getting rid of the heroes in my life and replacing them with mentors. Heroes are perfect ideals that don't really exist outside our own minds; mentors are imperfect, real-life humans who have lived through their own trials and blessings. Mentors give advice and help to learn through their mistakes.
Who are your mentors?