"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things." Philippians 4:8
This past month, I participated in a peacemaking workshop with the Preemptive Love Coalition. One of my greatest takeaways was this:
"Honoring dignity requires humility..."-- Love Anyway Workbook
Honoring dignity requires humility. That word dignity has tripped me up time and again. I was often confusing it as an earned virtue. When my husband and I struggled in our marriage, and he shared his conclusion about Christ, I hardly honored his dignity with a humble response. Nights of fighting led to my own opinion lashing out. I didn't think he deserved honor or dignity or anything at all.
The thing is, denying dignity to any other human is in fact, dishonorable of the person denying it. One cannot be Honorable at the expense of another's dignity.
Doesn't Christ show us this in His Gospels? In the lowly leper, a stained woman, the crazed gentile, a greedy tax collector, Christ honors their dignity by responding to their need. No matter their state or position, they aren't too low to be ignored by the Savior of the world. The most Honorable, Dignified Human to walk the Earth honors the dignity of others with unmatched humility and grace.
Every human has unearned dignity because they are created by a Good God.
In these days of slander and hatred and anger, where might we dwell on the honorable? I'd say first and foremost in the writings of four men: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. In Christ's example, we will never be disappointed when we choose to dwell on whatever is Honorable.
Yet, even in our bankrupt season of pandemic and division, the Good Lord always provides us with Honorable examples in our everyday lives. Let us dwell on:
The perseverance of the frontline hospital worker who honors the dignity of all who need help.
The decency of the driver ahead who stopped to honor the dignity of that homeless man, regardless of the traffic jam he may have caused.
The generosity of the wealthy man who donates food to the food bank.
The kindness of the person who opposes us in the voting booth but offers friendship regardless.
Honoring someone else's dignity is indeed, Honorable. For it acknowledges the innate value of a created being of God. And, each created being is given the chance to acknowledge each other with dignity. In that, we catch a glimpse of the One Who is most Honorable of all.
When was the last time you witnessed someone act honorably?