Personal Honor and the Child of God

Posted on April 12, 2012 by

“The desire for self-justification is deeply ingrained in western man.  In the 17C it was called the ‘point of honor’.  … No monarch wanted his subjects to lose all of these qualities, and the ethos persisted. … It implies loyalty, honesty and courage, which remove or reduce the need for inspectors and written codes of ethics.”  Jacques Barzun, From Dawn to Decadence, p. 242

Reading through the historical overview that I am perusing, I was struck by this quote.  It made me think about some of the blogs I’ve read, some of the things I see as I interact with the public, the incredible insanity that I notice on the news… it made me think about our bureaucracy mad society.  Is it cause or effect, the lack of personal honor?  Is it intentional?  Or situational?  Why is it that so very few people can be trusted to do what it is that they have committed to doing?

To those that say that the chivalric mode was never meant for everyone, I must agree.  But ought it to have been?  Is a notion of personal honor a Biblical worldview, or an addition?  If an addition, is it good or bad, or simply neutral?

We know that we were sinners.  But as we are no longer sinners but children… should we denigrate ourselves forever?  Is it necessary to continually remind ourselves that we are but clay, base material?  Perhaps yes.  Perhaps no.  Likely the answer to that lies in the deepest heart of each person to whom the question is addressed.

Whatever we were, we are new creations now in Christ.  Tell me that the virtues of honesty, doing what one has contracted to do regardless of fairness or difficulty, kindness, charity, caring for others less fortunate while working for ones’ own daily bread… tell me that these are not Biblical, and I will set you a reading list.

What to do?  In small societies, one can shun the dishonorable.  (Avoiding taking dishonorable people into one’s bosom is entirely wise, even while extending charity).  In large societies with constant movement, it is impossible.  One can always find new friends – or victims, as t’were.  There is no force that can make one act in honor, for honor comes from the deepest self.  If the action is forced, it has no basis in honor.  (Which is likely why those who are intrisically honorable hold bureaucracy in contempt – it only gets in their way).

Cause or effect, our society certainly encourages a total lack of personal honor.  Endless laws, endless lawsuits, endless edging around.  We are not a Christian society, for God’s children should act honorably, no matter what the situation., and obviously the vast majority of our society acts without honor, regardless of whom they claim to worship.

What to do?  Return to the notion of personal honor.  Hold oneself to a higher standard of behavior, and understand that the world around will not only not reflect that, it will likely abuse it.  And so?  Are we not *instructed* to suffer joyously for righteousness’ sake?  Do the right thing, do the honorable thing – avoid taking the dishonorable into your bosom, but if situated in a place where honor demands that one must do something, then do it as unto the Lord.

We will never see a righteous, equitable or just society until our Lord returns to rule.  We need to stop expecting that, and get on with our own lives.  Can you hold your own head high, as a child of the King?   Do you honor your Father?  Forget the world, it is filth.  Deal with your life, your witness.

This doesn’t mean to live without wisdom.  When we are given choices, there is no reason to take a snake into our hearts or lives.  Make sure you’re equally yoked – in marriage, in business, in friendship.  Spend time learning the character of those to whom you are considering an offer of trust.

Ultimately, there is only one person that you can control, that you can change, and you will be held accountable for what you choose to do with what you were given.

Honor.  It is yours, wear it for your Father’s glory.

*Originally published on xanga on 3/1/12