I want to thank Michael Phelps for illustrating something I think we all know real well - heroes suck. Ok, not like Phelps was a personal hero of mine, though he's an amazing swimmer, but still - he was a hero for a lot of people.
My hero's tend to be dead, but still, the more I learn about my hero's the more I realize how flawed they were. Luther was an anti-Semite, Servetus is a blemish on Calvin's ministry (though he was under the death sentence all over Europe), Edwards owned slaves, Wesley was Wesleyan, etc...Even those heroes whose sins aren't so public were still flawed. I'm sure of it.
As I've been reading through Genesis and Exodus, the same truth hits you square between the eyes. The Pentateuch is sometimes uncomfortable. Abraham pimps his wife out to powerful men to save his skin. Isaac follows dad's example. Jacob is just slimy. Moses is a murderer. We could go on, but point made. God uses people mired in sin to accomplish his purposes. Even after they are called and begin serving God the process of sanctification is slow and painful and never quite complete, at least not in this life.
As we consider our heroes we should come to a place of worship. Certainly not of our heroes but of the God who gave them the privilege of serving his purposes.