Monday, December 22, 2014

1 Corinthians 13: Love Does Not Dishonor Others

The word dishonor, is also translated as 'acting unbecomingly', or being rude.  Dishonor only makes sense in understanding honor.  Honor is thoughts, words, and actions that purpose to respect and lift up others.  Dishonor is the opposite, its' goal is to tear down, to make others feel bad or uncomfortable.  Dishonor stems from believing you are better than others.  This could be in regards to intellect, physical capability, good looks, spiritual zeal, or any characteristic, action, or thought, that makes one feel superior and others inferior.

Dishonoring someone is attributing less worth  than they actually deserve.  We do this by talking about people behind their backs, by making snide remarks, and/or by labeling them in any form to paint a negative picture of them. In the same way, it is an attempt to paint a more positive picture of ourselves. 

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen (Ephesians 4:29)."

It is quite a common thing in our society for our language to lean towards negativity.  Everything is made out to be tough, frustrating, and not what we want it to be. We pick apart groups, ideas, and individuals; gossiping and tearing others down like we are paid for it!

"Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, "children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation." Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky (Philippians 2:14-15)."

Being negative and dishonoring others takes little courage, anybody can do it; but to attribute worth and value to individuals we don't consider deserve it, takes a humility.

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others (Philippians 2:3-4)."

Humility is a backwards way to live in a world governed by pride and the pursuit of making an image for ourselves. Humility doesn't build a platform on which people can see us, but on which people can see God.  It is elevating others, encouraging them, being 'for' them. This lifestyle is completely embodied in the person of Jesus Christ. Notice how the following passage starts; it is instruction on how to deal with our own personal relationships. 

"In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death-- even death on a cross (Philippians 2:5-8)!" 

We are equipped to 'build' each other up (Ephesians 4), and to 'encourage one another as long as it is today (Hebrews 3:13)'. 

While negativity, pessimism, and cynicism, are fruit of unbelief and doubt; hope, joy, and good will, are fruit of faith. When we see Jesus, our honor of people matches their attributed worth, which is measured according to what God was willing to pay for them. When wet have eyes to see 'no one according to the flesh', and to have love that is characterized by the very things in this 1 Corinthians 13 passage, we will see people begin to live the way they were created to be, in wholeness, peace, joy, and confidence.  If we dishonor those around us, then we will cause everyone involved to fall short of the lifestyle we are created to enjoy!

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Colossians 3:12-17).".