Thanks to HonorShame.com, I learned about this short video which artfully describes the problem of honor-based violence—and how it can be overcome. It presents a secular view on the subject, and has really worthwhile content.
Here’s the main idea: Honor-based violence can be overcome through a new honor code.
Now isn’t that what Jesus teaches? We have a new honor code as we follow Christ—as we pattern our lives after his.
Consider these two well-known passages about Jesus’ reversal of honor codes:
And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” (Mark 9:35)
But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:43-45)
Easy to say it, hard to live it
We all know this is not easy, even for those who follow Jesus as Lord and Savior.
How can we actually live out these new reverse-honor codes?
Here’s how: I believe the Bible teaches that God himself shares with us his honor and glory, so that we gain an “honor-surplus” … and build “shame-resilience”. In turn, Jesus himself empowers us to live in a way that reflects his very love and servanthood. We can actually endure shame, and be “last of all and servant of all”—living out the reverse honor codes of Jesus.
We can do this because God has already shared with us his own honor and glory!
We can call a cease -fire! Because of Jesus, we are not compelled to defend our honor or engage in honor competition—because we are already so abundantly honored in Christ! We are literally peacemakers (Mat 5:9–10)—in the honor and under the reign—of King Jesus.
God shares his glory with his people
Consider these verses that reveal that God actually shares with his people his honor and glory:
How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? (John 5:44).
… for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God (John 12:43).
The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one (John 17:22).
In addition, these verses below show that followers of Jesus Christ are, in fact, to be given honor, to seek glory, and to be called glorious.
So the honor is for you who believe … (1 Pet 2:7)
To those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life (Rom 2:7).
… that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God (Rom 8:21).
But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory (1 Cor 2:7).
Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones (Jude 1:8).
Do you see it? We have a new source of honor in following Jesus.
The verses above are but a small sampling from Scripture which tell followers of Christ that God is sharing with us his glory and honor. (Click here to learn more about the believer’s honor-status reversal through salvation.) This abundant honor surplus in Jesus helps us overcome rivalry, conflict and violence in our relationships.
Oh, how we need to experience the glory and honor of God—our honor-surplus in Christ—to build peace-filled marriages, families, communities, churches, and nations.
A new honor code through following Jesus Christ—this ends honor-based conflict.
1. For more on the concept of “shame resilience”, see Brené Brown, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead (New York: Gotham, 2012).