When I was a kid growing up in church and attending Sunday school, I learned a lot of Old Testament stories and met some of my favorite heroes. I wanted to be like them.
I wanted to have integrity like Joseph. I wanted to be a leader like Moses. I wanted to be brave like David. I assumed the aim of these stories was to give me a pattern to imitate. They were heroes to model my life after. So, I put them on a pedestal.
Then, as I grew up and started reading these stories as an adult, I discovered that my heroes had flaws. Joseph had delusions of grandeur. Moses had an anger problem. David was an adulterer. In fact, every one of my heroes turned out to have feet of clay. They were all dogged by their selfishness, sin, and brokenness. I became disillusioned. How could my heroes be so messed up?
But there was one Hero who didn’t fail me. In the Bible, Jesus stands alone as the perfect Hero. He alone is without sin. He alone is worthy.
You see, I had to relearn how to read my Bible. The Bible does have some heroic characters in it, but every one of them is sinfully flawed, except One. There’s actually only One true Hero in the Bible, and His name is Jesus! There is only One who is righteous. There is One who is Savior. There is One who will never let us down. All the other characters we meet are desperately in need of grace and redemption. And while the other characters do have heroic goodness that is worthy of imitation, they also have deep sinfulness and brokenness as well. The goodness in these characters is meant to point us to the greater righteousness of Jesus, and the badness in these characters is meant to point us to the great mercy and grace that is in Jesus.
And the good news is that God loves deeply conflicted people who are marbled with the bad alongside the good. This is good news because that’s exactly the kind of people we are. There is great beauty and brokenness in all of us. We have good intentions and we make bad choices. Like the characters in the Bible, we are desperately in need of grace and redemption. And Jesus has come for us: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
So don’t let the frailty of your Bible heroes throw you off. Let them point you to the real Hero whose grace is the only hope for sinners like us. And that is good news!
Even in our brokenness, we are loved, more than we know.