Hero Worship - Our Need to Idolize
When Harold Camping announced that Judgment Day would occur on May 21, 2011 with the coming of Christ, the Rapture of His people and a mighty earthquake, I'm sure many Christians hesitated for a moment, wondering if perhaps…maybe…he was right. Given the current calamities of our world: wars, corruption, violence, crime, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, etc., it was a possibility.
Many of those who agreed with Camping spent years of their lives following his Bible studies. One of his teachings was that Christ had abandoned the church and because of this teaching, many devotees stopped attending churches altogether. Towards the end, many quit their jobs, sold their houses, gave away their money and possessions and on that last day, sat glued to their TVs waiting for the massive rolling earthquake that was to overtake the earth according to Camping.
Well, Jesus was a no show.
Harold shrugged his shoulders and said that he must have miscalculated, but said that there definitely was an “Invisible Judgment Day.”
Well, many of his followers were bewildered, confused and dismayed. That’s not what he had proclaimed all the years and even the days before when he said that the Bible "guaranteed" the events to come.
How many of them are kicking themselves now for trusting someone with years of their life, only to find out that they were led down a wrong path, yet this happens all the time.
Thousands of lifelong and faithful Catholics were outraged to learn that some of the priests in their midst were child predators and that the Church protected and allowed them to continue for decades.
And look at the swarms of televangelists who preach loud and condemning words about the sins of world, yet themselves live lavish lifestyles of cars, jewelry, designer clothes and mansions, unapologetically defending their wealth and collecting much of it off the backs of the poor, disabled and elderly who idolize them.
And let's not forget the pastors and ministers who preached against the very sexual sins they themselves were discovered to be involved in.
There are pastors and ministers today who teach all sorts of things to their trusting congregations. There are gun-toting churches who say that killing is OK in the name of God. There are churches that criticize other churches and denominations, claiming only they have the absolute truth. There are pastors who teach that all outsiders are evil sinners and that it is right to judge and discriminate against them. There are churches that preach that God will make you financially wealthy...especially those who tithe to them. There are nasty, mean, angry churches whose members have learned to relish spewing venom at everyone but their own. There are churches that keep out people because of skin color or economic status, because they prefer people who look, act and live exactly like them. There are churches that preach that salvation has to be earned and that faith and the grace of Jesus Christ are not good enough. And there are the majority of churches who WILL NOT accept God's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender children.
But this is exactly what you get...when PEOPLE run the church.
Who are these people who lead their members wherever they want to? Why do we trust them? Why do we believe in them? Why do we accept everything they say without question?
We want to look up to someone. We want someone to trust and show us how to live. We want to follow someone who knows more than we do, someone who has all the answers. Yet many of these people we follow are themselves biased, ignorant, misled, corrupt, weak, arrogant, proud or flawed.
Well welcome to the human race. None of us is perfect.
And though many of the examples I have given are extreme; the majority of priests, ministers, pastors and leaders are good people who are trying their best. But they are STILL people. They and WE are just people. We really are the blind leading and following the blind.
But this is not the issue. The real issue is our NEED to LOOK UP TO SOMEONE. Our need to idolize. Our need for a hero.
Our world is full of people we love to idolize: celebrities, actors, activists, politicians, businessmen, sports heroes, artists, musicians, religious leaders, spiritual gurus, rich and powerful people, etc. People who we BELIEVE are better than us.
We need a hero. We need someone to copy. We want to be connected to someone better than us.
We are forever searching for the next star, the perfect person, a hero and a winner. Someone who speaks the truth, and will show us how to succeed.
Our culture today is all about appearances, status, ranking and wealth. We follow celebrities because we believe that if we copy them, we will attain their same POWERS of love, knowledge, wisdom, money, beauty, status and fame. We worship them because we want to BE them. We want what they have. We want our lives to be like their lives.
When we find our hero, we quote their words and phrases, we let them think for us, we follow their advice, their deeds and misdeeds, we buy the things they buy, we imitate their dress, we do what they do, we yell because they are yelling and if they do wrong...we makes excuses for them because we can't bear that if they are wrong...then we are wrong.
How many guys behave just like their favorite sports heroes, actors or musicians? How many girls dress, act and talk like their favorite glam starlets? How many of us idolize beautiful people because we want to be beautiful? How many people regurgitate the same rhetoric as their political candidates? How many church people talk the same lingo as their favorite Christian superstars, pastors and televangelists?
Even children imitate the words, actions, and beliefs of their parents without question...whether good or bad.
We follow because we don't believe in our own life. We imitate because we don't know how to think for ourselves. Without our heroes to hang onto...we are left out on a limb by ourselves...we would be nobodies. We would be alone.
How quickly we hand over our trust, belief and identity to someone who says everything we want to hear, who looks the way we want to look, with a nice face, a warm smile, a soothing voice and a confident handshake. We foolishly look to other people to lead us, who are no better than us.
We are indeed like sheep.
Eventually every person’s human side comes out. When we trust someone, put our faith in them and follow them, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment. So many of us give over our reasoning, common sense and blind faith to our idols.
In the end we will be disappointed. People will ALWAYS disappoint us. People will ALWAYS fail us. The person we idolize will eventually get old, say something wrong, change their beliefs, jump ship, abandon the cause, do something offensive, surrender, turn against you, commit a sinful act, do something they said they wouldn't, abandon you, let your relationship go...everyone will fail you.
Your minister, your church, your denomination, your parish, your fellow believers, your company, your counselor, your therapist, your doctor, your friends, your family, your parents, your spouse, your partner, your lover...everyone will eventually fail you in one way or another and yes...WE also will fail someone else, including the ones we love...because, we are all human.
But then who can we trust? Who can we go to?
There is only one person who we can follow, watch, listen to and learn from and that is JESUS CHRIST.
Jesus, the Son of God is the only one. Keep your eyes on Him alone. Listen only to His words. Do as He does. Learn all He has to teach. Follow His example. Have faith in Him and surrender your life to Him. Jesus will never disappoint or fail you. Jesus is the ONLY ONE.
"And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” - Acts 4:12
"...for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU” - Hebrews 13:5b
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