Monday, August 13, 2001
When our boys were young, I usually knew where to find them on a Saturday morning--watching cartoons on TV. Back then, they were a little more innocent than some of what's offered today. One morning, they called for me to come in to see what was coming on television. And I thought, "Oh great, Smurfs." But when I saw what it was, I dropped what I was doing, sat down and watched it. It was the original episode of my favorite boyhood TV show, "Superman." There he was again in his blue tights and red cape--faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. But as it concluded, I felt this tinge of sadness. I remembered what eventually happened to Superman...actually to the actor who played him. His sudden death was ruled a suicide. They said he had been type cast, and it was hard for Superman to get any other roles. He couldn't be Superman for the rest of his life. No man can.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A WORD WITH YOU today about "The Sad Side Of Superman."
There's a Superman Syndrome that most males grow up with. Not that he has to leap tall buildings in a single bound. But if you're a modern male, you've often been made to feel that you should show no pain, no weakness, no tears, no tenderness, no deep feelings. You're always playing a Superman role that says, "I'm fine. I can handle it. I've got everything under control." Then one day all the feelings you've suppressed or denied explode.
Our word for today from the Word of God is about an Old Testament Superman. It's from 2 Kings 5:1. "Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded." This man was a conqueror, he's a winner, he's a strong leader. But, "He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy." Naaman was dying--but he was determined to remain in control. He is told to go to Israel to see the prophet Elisha if he wants to be healed. Well, to make a long story short, he tries to buy a cure, to use politics and clout to get an answer.
But God's prescription through his prophet is for the mighty general to go and dip himself seven times in the muddy Jordan River. The Bible says, "He turned and went off in a rage" He was not about to allow himself to be weak...to be humbled in front of people. He'd almost rather be dead than weak. But there was no other way to be well.
The Bible continues, "Naaman's servants went to him and said, 'My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, 'Wash and be cleansed'. So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy:" (2 Kings 5:12-14).
There was no healing for Naaman until he was willing to quit being Superman. It could be the prescription is the same for you. You're trying to be so strong, so together, so in charge...but you're dying inside. Would you finally take off your cape and your big letter "S"? Open up to God...to a friend...open up to your wife...to your children...to a pastor...a brother...a counselor.
To be courageous enough to face your real feelings, your real fears, your real struggles is not a sign of weakness. It's a sign of great strength. You've gone too long being a wounded man with no place to bleed. You can't always be Superman--you were never meant to be. Don't be afraid to be weak. Don't be afraid to be real. When you can finally admit you're weak, you have never been stronger.