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youth ministry, youth worker, humble

True Heroes Are Humble

By Doug Franklin January 15, 2013

True heroes display humility.  They deflect praise from themselves and make comments like, “I only did what anyone would do.”  Unfortunately, our society doesn’t place a very high value on humility, but all true heroes are humble.  What is humility?  It is having a modest view of one’s own worth.  Philippians 2:3-4 states, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

Pride is defined as, “pleasure or satisfaction taken in an achievement, possession, or association.”  It is a natural human tendency that all of us possess.  Every one of us struggles with displaying humility.  We are proud of our achievements, and want others to recognize our worth.  It is easy to look at what we have accomplished and feel pretty good about ourselves.  As Christians, this is a dangerous trap. Few things can hinder our relationship with God and our effectiveness as leaders faster than a prideful spirit.

Leadership is dangerous. It can corrupt. Many great leaders have fallen victim to the trap of sinful pride.  It is easy for a leader who starts out with the best intentions to end up as a jerk. Many leaders allow their power to go to their head and use it to abuse others.  A leader who does not have humility will take all the credit and therefore undermine their followers and in time drive the followers away.

Leaders are people of humility.  They are true heroes.  As strong, effective leaders, they realize that their followers are their best asset and they are the ones who actually deserve the credit for accomplishments.

Who are the heroes of today?  A nationwide survey conducted in 2003 by the Barron Prize found that:

  • “Only half of American teens have a hero.”
  • “Of those teens who did name a well-known hero, more than half named a movie star, musician, or athlete.”
  • “More than twice as many teens cited as their heroes Superman and Spider-man than cited Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, or Martin Luther King, Jr.”
  • “Apart from family members, only three women were cited as heroes, despite the fact that half the respondents were female.”

Who is a hero?  The late Christopher Reeve, who starred in several Superman movies, gave a memorable definition. “A hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”

What do heroes have in common?  Listen to the comments made by today’s heroes – movie stars, musicians, or athletes.  Most often they talk about themselves – who they are, what they have, and why they are important.  This self-focused attitude is the exact opposite of what it means to be a hero.

About the Author

Doug Franklin

Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners  who never leave their side. Doug grew up in…  Read More