The Qualities of a True Hero

Where a True Hero Places Their Identity

True heroism isn’t self-seeking. It doesn’t soldier toward worldly glory. A true hero’s heart, mind, body, and soul are fixed so intensely on the wellbeing of those they serve that their identity really becomes forged into those they are serving.

Sound familiar? Jesus saw himself in each of us when he served our human brothers and sisters in the flesh 2000 years ago, and he continues to see every human as a beautiful creation of God, formed in his image and likeness. He calls us to see others in the same way:

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’ “—Matthew 25:37-40 (RSV2CE)

It is in serving others that we serve Jesus, who identified himself with all people, particularly the afflicted and the poor.

Rising to True Heroism

A budding hero can only be elevated to true heroism when the qualities of strength, courage, zeal, and knowledge are tempered with the qualities of meekness, humility, prudence, and purity. A true hero wears qualities like:

  • Meek strength: Gently exuding toughness and vigor.
  • Humble courage: Remaining modest while exuding bravery.
  • Prudent zeal: being careful and thoughtful where they direct their energy.
  • Pure profundity: Applying knowledge toward good and right purposes.

Without the virtue of temperance, pride will consume the hero and they become a dangerous weapon fighting sadly and pathetically against God’s will. They haven’t kept their strength, courage, zeal, and knowledge in check, so the devil can twist the malleable hero into a self-absorbed, malformed tool against God. The devil does this with a twisted smile. He was the first to fall, and he doesn’t like to be alone (pride has a way of doing that).

Go Out and Serve

The Christian life is one of service. God becomes forged into the Christian through Baptism, when the Holy Spirit descends and dwells in the temple of the human body. We must then, through the power of the Holy Spirit, be Christ-like to others. Christ served others the same way and he teaches us to do likewise:

“It shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave; even as the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”—Matthew 20:26-28 (RSV2CE)

“If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”—John 13:14-17 (RSV2CE)