Right in the midst of tragedy, millions of television viewers had their faith in heroes restored. They watched a bystander voluntarily dive into the icy waters of the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., and rescue a survivor of an airplane crash. Another man willingly postponed his own rescue -- thus sacrificing his life -- in order to assist several others to safety.
Many who witnessed or read about these events were heartened to learn that society hasn't grown as callous or indifferent as some would have us believe. Actually, the world has never been without heroes. They're ever with us. Perhaps they would be more evident if we knew how to recognize them.
Heroes come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and ages. They're not carbon copies of Superman or Wonder Woman. But they do have a common denominator -- they're unselfish. They subordinate their personal desires for the good of others. They make sacrifices. While some heroes do give their lives for others, far more of them devote their lifetimes to the betterment of mankind.
The Bible is filled with such people. Joseph, Daniel, David, Paul, Peter, John -- to name just a few. Though many might never think of the Saviour, Christ Jesus, as a hero, he certainly was in the highest and holiest sense of that word , because he gave his life to save all mankind.
The Master's teachings alone, even apart from his example, call upon the best qualities in each of us if we're to follow him as Christians. Obedience to his Sermon on the Mount would make spiritual heroes of us all. ''Love your enemies, '' Jesus commanded, ''bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.''n1
n1 Matthew 5:44.
There are those, however, who feel that Jesus' teachings are no longer feasible, that it's impossible to practice such self-sacrifice in the ''real'' world today. But the teachings of Jesus were not a personal philosophy or some brand of psychology. Christian Science explains that the Master understood and demonstrated the spiritually scientific law of God, infinite Love. His lifework shows us that genuine love for our fellowman progressively elevates us above a physical, mortal view of ourselves and others to the recognition of our true, unlimited, spiritual identity as children of God. And the more we understand this to be our true identity, the more natural we find it to live and love unselfishly. This willingness to forsake the mortal sense of life for the spiritual sense ushers us into the very kingdom of heaven.
In the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ''Let unselfishness, goodness, mercy, justice, health, holiness, love -- the kingdom of heaven -- reign within us, and sin, disease, and death will diminish until they finally disappear.''n2
n2 Science and Health, p. 248.
You and I can become heroes today, no matter how humdrum our environment. Spirituality doesn't require a tragedy or an emergency to express itself.
How can we be a hero when we're not called upon to be one? We can begin by making choices and decisions that will benefit others rather than ourselves alone. We can curb feelings of anger and revenge, no matter how justified they may seem. As we do these things willingly, unselfishly, the heroic qualities in us will shine through -- and we'll recognize more and more heroes everywhere. DAILY BIBLE VESE The righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance . . . his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord . . . . He hath dispersed, he hate given to the poor. Psalms 112:6, 7, 9