Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What is Honor?, 4

Continued from "What is Honor?, 3"

The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility. (Pro 15:33)

Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility. (Pro 18:12)

A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit. (Pro 29:23)

So, why did you get into a fight with that guy?

"He insulted me. My honor was at stake."

People know that guy is all mouth, and they don't believe anything he says. He couldn't harm your reputation.

"No, but my honor was at stake."

He has no power to take away any of your rights or privileges.

"No, but I couldn't let it go by, because my honor was at stake."

Could anything he said have diminished you in any way? Reduced your stature, your character?

"No! I keep trying to tell you; I was defending my HONOR."

It's obvious that the individual above who defended his honor was not operating under any of the standard dictionary definitions (see below). A lot of people seem to operate the same way he does, with a concept of honor that just doesn't fit the normal meanings.

I think I've figured out what honor means in such contexts: PRIDE. I mean pride in the sense of " inordinate self-esteem : conceit" (Merriam-Webster).

Of course, it doesn't sound so good to say, "I got in a fight because I'm too arrogant of an SOB (Sorry Old Buzzard) to let an insignificant insult pass." It sounds so much better to say, "It was a matter of honor."

I think pride has a lot to do with "honor killings", too. Some Muslim father, brother or husband's ego is threatened by a female family member, in addition to which he's afraid that his Muslim friends will think he's a wimp (another blow to his self-concept).

So he murders a defenseless girl to rescue his pride.

If I read my Bible right, these are all woefully wrong reasons to fight. And it's easy to see why God's Word identifies pride with defeat & destruction.

To be continued

The following definition comes from Merriam-Webster:

1 a : good name or public esteem : reputation b : a showing of usually merited respect : recognition
2 : privilege
3 : a person of superior standing —now used especially as a title for a holder of high office
4 : one whose worth brings respect or fame : credit
5 : the center point of the upper half of an armorial escutcheon
6 : an evidence or symbol of distinction: as a : an exalted title or rank b (1) : badge, decoration (2) : a ceremonial rite or observance c : an award in a contest or field of competition d archaic : a gesture of deference : bow e plural (1) : an academic distinction conferred on a superior student (2) : a course of study for superior students supplementing or replacing a regular course
7 : chastity, purity
8 a : a keen sense of ethical conduct : integrity "wouldn't do it as a matter of honor" b : one's word given as a guarantee of performance
9 plural : social courtesies or civilities extended by a host
10 a (1) : an ace, king, queen, jack, or ten especially of the trump suit in bridge (2) : the scoring value of honors held in bridge —usually used in plural b : the privilege of playing first from the tee in golf

1 comment:

The Warrior said...

I remember a story where a young Muslim lady was raped and imprisoned, and somehow she got her brother to come see her--can't remember the particulars. Instead of aiding her, he shot her dead.

They ARE wimps. More, actually....

EXCELLENT series, one of your absolute best yet. I await the next installment!