Honor

Many people make a lot of noise about honor; but, what exactly is honor? I am presently reading a book about the journey through the nine circles of Hell by Odysseus and Diomedes; their version of honor was to kill a man if he insulted you. I don’t think that works for us today.

When I was a young boy, growing up in Newark, NJ, Honor meant fighting for your rights, fighting when someone did something to slight you. The phrase turn the other cheek was not honorable; as a matter of fact, it was considered cowardly to turn and walk away from a fight. Life was measured in how many honorable moments you had.

I have a different idea of honor today; I still measure life by doing honorable deeds, but none of them involve violence. To me, violence in the dishonorable way to react. If someone were to make a fortune by cheating others our of their share is also not honorable; to me this is just greed. It may make this person rich and powerful, but we can see that honor has nothing to do with it. Honor is not and cannot be measured in gold, jewelry, or money.

Life is measured honor. God honors us with our human frailty and our families. Being responsible is honorable. Our friends give us honor; we do not ask for it. They honor us just by being our friends. Honor is community. Even if the world throws our lives into a tornado of spinning terrors, our community strength is a gift from God with which we can accomplish a better world. Personally, I ask for God’s help and blessing every day.

God is pleased when He is fully immersed in our limited, loving, and broken human community. We give God honor and love when we build our mutual communities that exclude nobody. We just have to have the patience to earn this, to earn this by listening for His word. I believe that if people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I’ll bet they’d be a lot more honorable. And happy.

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