Dishonor – to deprive of honor; disgrace; bring reproach or shame on1
Honor – honesty, fairness, or integrity in one’s beliefs and actions; a source of credit or distinction; to hold in high respect2
…[love] does not dishonor others… (1 Corinthians 13:5a, NIV)
“It’s every man for himself,” your coworker says. “If you want something, you gotta pull yourself up and make it happen. You can’t rely on anyone else to do it for you or help you along.” Have your ever received a similar speech by a coworker? Or a friend? Or a family member? Is this not the way of the world? To rely upon yourself alone and expect others to do the same? Does this show love?
As we continue our study into what exactly Love Is…, we again examine something love is not. When you love someone, you do not dishonor them. You do not embarrass them, disgrace them, or seek to hurt them with either words or actions.
30…Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ (Luke 10:30-35, NIV)
The traveler had already been dishonored. He had been beaten and robbed. His clothes had been taken. He was furthered dishonored by the priest and the Levite. They did not show integrity in their beliefs, and by passing by the man, showed him dishonor. The Samaritan, however, showed honor to the traveler, showed love to the traveler. The Samaritan treated the traveler with honor. He treated his injuries, gave him clothing, food, water, shelter, and the ability to recover. The Samaritan showed love through his honoring of the traveler.
Was Paul thinking of this parable when he wrote in Romans 12:10, “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” (NIV) Or perhaps he was thinking of the love God showed to us, by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins. No matter our sins, God never seeks to disgrace us or shame us for our sin. He wants us to repent of our sin so that we need not be ashamed! He freely forgives us of our sin when we repent so that we can draw strength from Him. So we do not need to be shamed and embarrassed by our weakness. God treats us all with honor and fairness. God never changes who He is based upon with whom He is interacting. God shows us honor by staying true to who He is at all times!
Through our sins, we dishonor God everyday, like the men who attacked the traveler. We show our honor for God when we come to Him with a repentant heart. We can further show honor to God through our actions, when we behave like the Good Samaritan, and show love and honor to all those around us.
We live in a world that, sadly, does not often have a focus on God. A world that is showing increasing acceptance and celebration of being dishonorable to others, especially those with whom one may disagree. As followers of Christ, it is our responsibility to be a shining light for Him in whatever circumstances we find ourselves. That includes showing honor to all we encounter and in all that we do. Do you grumble and complain when a co-workers asks for help? Do you begrudgingly complete an assignment that is not part of your normal workload? Do you sneer and look down upon the homeless man you walk past everyday? Do you dismiss and mock those who have a differing opinion than yourself?
We are to react to every situation with love. We are to reject the world’s view of “every man for himself,” and instead focus on having every action honoring God. Yes, it will require work. Yes, it will be difficult at times. Yes, it will set you apart from the crowd. But, in the end, it will bring your closer to God, for to live a life for God, is to show the world the honor God has shown you.
Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, it does not dishonor others…
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