When you do the right thing, it’s nothing like in the movies.
In the movies, when you make a selfless sacrifice to do a great good, everyone notices. By the end of the movie, you are being honored at some huge gathering. When they say your name, the whole room rises to their feet. The strings ascend, cymbals crash, hearts are lifted. Fade out.
In the movies, when you take a tough stand for a righteous cause, your risky choice is vindicated by the final scenes. In the script, the people who opposed you are emphatically proven wrong. It’s clear to all that you alone saw the truth and were willing to stand alone, against the crowd. Freeze frame on your raised fist in the air, credits roll with theme song playing underneath.
But when you make a selfless sacrifice in the real world, you end up the work, struggle and pain that a true sacrifice demands. No music swells, few pats you on the back, fewer help you. Some pay compliments, while looking at you like an odd curiosity, wondering what your true motives could be.
When you take that tough stand, there is no vindication, at least not in this life. You alienate those who disagree, and you suffer for their lack of understanding. You live with the consequences of your stand, admired by a few, maligned by others.
So why do the right thing?
Because, in another land and another time, there is One who will vindicate your tough stand. And when He speaks, all opposing voices will be silenced. In that land, your sacrifice will be seen as the noble gesture it was, and rewarded.
In that land, sacrifice is the gold-standard of honor. There will be a huge gathering, and you will indeed be honored with those who sacrificed from ages past. The One who judges all things will say your name, and that room filled with the most holy and loving saints of history will rise to applaud.
Until then, you wait and trust, homesick for a land you’ve never seen before.
But when you see it, that’s when the music swells. Because there’s always a crescendo when the hero comes home.
(photo by Glenn Christopher)