So, was Joost van der Westhuizen caught doing some unsavoury things on camera last week? Was it actually him or just a lookalike with an axe to grind? Who knows? The allegations may be true, they may be false but boy did the whole fiasco remind me of another fallen hero from not so long ago.
To even write his name conjures up emotions for me. I loved cricket, watched every game I could, idolised the players. It was the highlight of my week. It was the highlight of the nation’s week every time the boys took to the field. And then Hansie. When he fell from grace all of us reeled in shocked disbelief. Who can forget the heart retching tag line that he sobbed, “Satan made me do it.”
South Africa seems to be collecting fallen heroes. From sports stars to politicians. Think of JZ, the leader of the countries moral regeneration movement washing off his sins in the shower, or how about Dr Alan Boesak, the Dutch Reformed cleric with rather deep pockets, or even the far fallen Carl Niehaus, spin “doctor” who tragically spun out of control.
Nowadays fallen heroes are the order of the day.
Not much has changed really. Back in the year dot a King named David ruled the nation of Israel. He had everything going for him and found favour with both man and God. But instead of obeying God whole heartedly he got up to all kinds of nonsense and in his naked humanity sinned reprehensibly.
The following quote is an excerpt from a poem that he’s presumed to have written. Psalm 118 verses 8 – 9 reads:
Who do you put your faith, trust or hope in? Who’s you hero?
But even as I read what I’ve just written I’m reminded of the man Christ Jesus. The writer of the New Testament book Hebrews sums it up very well in Chapter 4 verse 15:
Jesus was without sin. Tempted in everyway and yet He held His ground. Immutable. Holy. God.
That’s why Paul could say with such conviction in 1 Corinthians 11 verse 1:
It turns out there are still heroes out there after all, it just takes a little bit more digging to find them.