Are there any of you out there who feel like this:

Judges 11:7 But Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead: “But you hate me. You kicked me out of my family home. So why are you coming to me now? Because you are in trouble. Right?”

Used. Only needed for your skill and not your heart? I can’t tell you how many times a week a get this feeling. People who don’t even normally talk to you, people who walk the other way with their head down when you walk down the hall–suddenly, when they need something, you are their best friend. It hurts. It hurts a lot.

I can only imagine how painful it was for Jephthah. His brothers threw him out of town just because he had a different mother and then, when Israel was under the thumb of yet another oppressive country, they asked him to come.

Why did they ask him? Because he was strong. All that rejection, all that fending for himself had made him stronger than the others. Because of his woes, he was a superior warrior.

I know that is true for me. I’ve been through some things, some by my own doing, some at the hands of others, that may seem crippling, and really, they were for a time. My wounds prevented me from doing what I was made to do, until I gave the wounds over to the Lord and He helped them heal. They may be scars, but I hear that scarred skin is tougher than the others. I know that a broken bone that is healed is stronger than the others.

Jephthah proved to be strong in body, in mind and in integrity (though that last one was proven through a vow he made in haste that had tragic results). Israel was saved again this time through an unlikely hero with less than savory roots. He was less than perfect, but God still gave him victory. It is hope, dear reader, that all is never lost and that unlikely heros are everywhere.

What makes a hero? Many things, but here, the ability to forgive those who have harmed you, even to go a bit further and fight for those people. That’s heroic. My hat is tipped to Jephthah.

Matthew 5:44 But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may [ap]be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.