Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Cheryl Wyatt Wants to Know: What Makes a Real Life Hero?

A recent reader letter has me taking care to answer. Because I write romance novels featuring Christian relationships, this reader got the impression I know a lot about them. If she could live in my home for one day! LOL! See me gripe at my husband, who really IS hero material. That's him above in the candid photo with me. We're cheezin' it up as usual.

I confess laughter doesn't ALWAYS rule our home. Especially not when I started my dreadful diet three days ago and feel like throttling someone who eats sweet things in my presence. In hubby's defense, he did 18 (not exaggerating) loads of laundry yesterday because he could tell (by my screeching perhaps?) I was OVERWHELMED with tons of year changeover stuff plus unpacking from THREE (count them!) December trips, plus putting Christmas decorations and gifts away.

Did you know that Polly Pocket parts multiply by the hundreds when they hit the floor?

Anyway, not only did my sweet hubby tackle Mount Laundry so I could catch up from a crazy busy December, he washed, dried and HUNG UP a dolly dress. On a hanger just its size.

See the itty dress and hanger up there? Its Velcro must have hooked it to another article of my daughter's clothing and made it into the hamper.

Anyway, the sweet man actually hung up the little dress for my daughter instead of yell at her for not keeping it in the toy box where it belongs. In the midst of my post-holiday clean-up craze, the sight of that little dress stopped me cold and warmed my heart.

And made me know what a nincompoop I've been to him the past couple days.

Thanksgiving is past but not a day goes by that I'm not thankful for him (even through gritted teeth) especially when I have very close widowed friends who'd give anything to have their husbands back. Sometimes the things that drive us the most batty about a person are the very things we miss most about them when they're not here.

In her letter, the reader mentioned that reading Love Inspired books (YAY!) helped her see how a true Christian man should act toward women. She described her life and current relationship. Her man claims to be a Christian but other respected, known Christian leaders have told her he is not due to his actions and how he treats her. The reader said that all Godly counsel she's received has been from males. While she trusts them, she said she'd like a woman's take on the matter.

I can't get into detail about her man's behavior but it got me thinking HARD of how best to answer her. I prayed and instantly the thought came to mind, "A true Christian man will treat women the way Jesus treated them in the Bible."

While Jesus wasn't romantically involved with women in the Bible, there are lavish examples of his great respect and gentle care toward them. He was the only male present in a near-stoning who took up for the accused woman instead of threaten to stone her to death. After her accusers left, Jesus counseled her to go but sin no more. Which meant His care for her wasn't just for show. He truly cared. Truly respected her. Truly forgave her and He could because He was 100% God in human form in that moment.

I encouraged this reader to seek counsel in four other men. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, whose Biblical accounts offer intimate glimpses into Jesus' dealings with his fellow men...and women. I encouraged her to pray and pay special attention to how Jesus treated women in the Bible and ask herself is her significant other treating her as well. If he is a true Christian, he will be Christ-like. If he is not, my opinion is that her current boyfriend is not a true Christian. Or at least not one being obedient and spending time with God, which is the only thing that will transform the ugliness in our hearts. Harsh words and actions are sometimes more a spirit problem than a self-control issue. We can't change our outward behavior if our inner hearts aren't right.

Likewise, in order to be nicer to my husband during domestic duress aka the house being a disaster, (LOL!) which drives this OCDr NUTSO, it is imperative that I get alone with God and soak in His transforming presence.

My point in telling you all this? I want your opinion.

What do you say? I believe that if a man is a true Christian he will act so and his character and actions are what qualify him to be called a hero. Obviously heroes risk their lives for others, physically and in the every day. That means physical. The reason I write about U.S. Air Force Pararescuemen is because they risk their lives so others can live and I have a strong sense of being rescued by God. I love writing about rescuers. Especially ones as noble and sacrificial as PJs. Trust me, they LIVE their creed, "These things we do so that others may live." Part of their creed mentions putting others' needs before their own comforts and lives.

I think being willing to give up ones life isn't only in the physical death but in every day life, in putting the other person above and before oneself in a Godly manner. Jesus said that greater love has no man than that he lay down his life for his friends. There is NO greater love that what Jesus has for us. Even the most perfect Christian man can't live up to that. But, Christian men (and women) will strive to model that kind of love in the day-to-day. Not being selfish.

So I will ask you what the LI reader asked me: How can you tell if a man is a Christian? What do you think makes a man deserving of the hero's role in a Christian romance novel?

I think Jesus would have taken the time to hang up a little dolly dress for a young girl who didn't even realize it was dirty. Somehow that reminds me of many of the women Jesus forgave. By His very word, he cleansed them of sin they had no idea cloaked them in soil so strong it carried the capability to separate them from Jesus forever were it not for the robe of eternal righteousness He wrapped around their shoulders when he draped that death cloth on a cold tomb floor.

Forever is a very long time.

What do you think? What makes a true life hero? All the little things? One big thing?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts today in the comment section below. Please share!

Happy New Year!

Cheryl Wyatt


Cheryl Wyatt said...

Maryrose, thanks for answering. I appreciate you stopping by.


May the K9 Spy (and KC Frantzen) said...

Hey Cheryl,

Looks like there are two topics here - what makes a real life hero and how can you tell if someone is a Christian?

As far as the latter - if we can believe what the Bible says, and we read John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

or Acts 16:31 “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved..."

There is no caveat in either of these verses... No 'believe and do this', or 'act this way', etc. If a person has made this decision, he/she is a Christian.

Much like a person in his/her 30's (or better!) who acts like a 3 yr old... you can truly BE something and not act like it.

As far as heroes go - I think you nailed it! :)

so - I'm curious - which was YOUR tag line - I guessed, but still not sure! I need one for sure! :)

Have a happy day - and hug that hubby! He's a keeper!

Cheryl Wyatt said...

Thanks, KC! I also think that every man who is a true Christian is also a hero. Christianity isn't for wimps. LOL!

Hugs and thanks for stopping by!

Julie Hilton Steele said...

Cheryl, I helped women deal with this issue in my previous career as a pastor and staff member in churches. For some reason, people often get confused about what their Christian behavior should be towards those who are not behaving as Christians. Forgiveness, yes. But putting up with behaviors that are detrimental, no. I will be praying for this reader too.

I applauded your prayerful answer that a Christian man would treat women as Christ would. Respect, care, gentle guidance, love...its all there in the example of Jesus.

I also applaud all Love Inspired writers who receive these difficult letters and answer them with care.

Peace and prayers your way, Julie

Cheryl Wyatt said...

Julie, I loved what you said: "Forgiveness, yes. But putting up with behaviors that are detrimental, no."

I feel the same way!

Hugs and thanks for stopping by and sharing your heart.


Daisy said...

Hi Cheryl,

Yes... Polly Pockets multiply when they hit the floor. :) So do Barbie shoes... and Legos. And even if you're positive you found and gathered all the bits and pieces, you always miss one. One that you usually find in the dark with the softest part of your foot! :)

I think it's both, because sometimes the things that make someone a hero to us might seem big in our eyes, but small in their own, like hanging up a doll dress. What makes a person a hero is when they do those small things because it's simply who they are, and not because they're looking to be heroic.

I loved your answer about a Christian man treating women like Jesus treated women. My grandpa always told me you would know a Christian man because you could see Christ's actions in his own.

I'll be praying for your reader.

Cheryl Wyatt said...

Thank you, Daisy!

I agree about the Legos and Barbie shoes. If the soft part of our foot doesn't find them, the vacuum does. LOL!

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by.

beemama said...

To me what makes a man a hero is also what makes him a Christian. It's the little things: restocking the tp when he empties the roll, wiping his feet when he enters the house, fixing me a cup of coffee or hot tea just because. The little things that say that he notices me and my needs and cherishes me as a person. Is my hubby perfect, no, but is he trying and worth keeping, Oh YEAH, 37 years and counting.

Cheryl Wyatt said...

Beemama, those are my sentiments exactly.