Great stories can inspire heroism, helping it to bubble up and spring forth, even against a tide of mediocrity. When we see heroes in literature, we are challenged. If we find that the heroes are more brave and virtuous than we are, do we strive to be like them, or do we remain where we are, satisfied with the mediocrity that holds us in place? That's the power of a story that provides true heroes. It gives us a model, someone to follow and imitate.
Unfortunately, there seems to be a movement in Christian literature toward what some call "realism" or "honesty" in storytelling. What does that really mean? From what I have read, it seems that making Christians more sinful, showing them struggling (and failing) against inner, fleshly conflict, is, for some, the key to making stories more "real." Far from portraying a Christian as virtuous, consistently obedient, even heroic, these stories portray the worst possible scenario, the Christian who disobeys. In other words, it displays the hypocrite as being the normal, real, honest portrayal of Christianity.
True "Reality" is so far from this imagined concept of the Christian life! "Honest" portrayals of faith in Christ should demontrate faithfulness, mercy, grace, compassion, patience, and any other characteristic that Christ Himself would show. If a story shows a Christian to be lustful, prideful, dishonest, or any of the manifestations of the evil one, the story is being dishonest. It is telling a lie. As the Bible says, it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. And since Christ lives in me, what I manifest on the outside, is what is true on the inside.
This is why we must write with a true biblical worldview, that the Spirit of Christ is able to change a person into a true hero, a virtuous man or woman. We see the evil of hypocrisy in the lives of people all around us every day. Why should we perpetuate the lie in literature? Such a portrayal helps no one. It only drags us down, makes us think that everyone must be a lower-than-dirt worm who can't find true freedom from sin.
If we want to foster a generation of heroes, let us begin by writing stories for young people that tell the truth about the power we have in Christ. We really do overwhelmingly conquer. Jesus really is greater than Satan. If we really want to obey Him, we can. We must.