Here is a quick description of the honor-shame dynamic called the “image of limited good”. The image of limited good is “the belief that everything in the social, economic, natural universe … everything desired in life: land, wealth, respect and status, power and influence … exist in finite quantity and are in short supply”. If you gain, I lose … it’s a “zero-sum game.”
The example given in the video is from 1 Samuel 18:6–9. After David’s victory over Goliath, Israel’s women celebrated and honored David above Saul. Did Saul celebrate with the people over their great victory? No!
Instead of Saul rejoicing over Israel’s dramatic victory, Saul lamented (1 Sam 18:8); he considered it a mortal threat that David was honored above himself. Here’s why: There was only so much honor to go around (honor is a “limited good”)—so as David’s honor status increased among the people, Saul’s own honor went down.
Saul’s extreme envy reflected the default values of his culture—a win-lose mindset—the “image of limited good”.
Learn more about the “image of limited good”, and discover how Christ overturns “limited good”—in the next in our series of quick videos about honor and shame. Click here to watch the video on Vimeo.
Learn more—free chapter from The Global Gospel on the “image of limited good”
The free resource available with this post is an excerpt from The Global Gospel—Chapter 2.3: Honor/Shame Dynamic #3: The Image of Limited Good. The chapter is five pages long. Enjoy the next quick video: “The Image of Limited Good”
1. Jerome Neyrey: Honor and Shame in the Gospel of Matthew (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998), 18.