Sometimes Honor Sometimes Hubris
Repay no one evil for evil…Beloved, do not avenge yourselves…Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:17, 19, 21
Every Christian should know how to handle honor and respect. But the real test that will mark you is how well you handle disrespect. Jesus said you will experience it, more than you think is fair. Preachers are more likely to suffer this. They know “It’s sometime chickens and sometime feathers.” All Bible heroes without question faced insults.
Indignity has been around forever. In the Greek New Testament there is a word for this, hubris. Generally translated as “insolence” it suggests pride and prejudice accompanied by a mean spirit. It’s a “bomb” word that explodes with various deadly effects. Hubris is rudeness that crosses the line, meant to sting, to humiliate. It is based in exaggerated pride. It is an assault aimed at shamefully debasing someone.
Here is Jesus’ example. In the parable of the Great Wedding Feast, the King sent out messengers to invite guests to his son’s wedding feast. But the unresponsive, disrespectful folk “seized his messengers and insulted (hubris) them and killed them.” A moral outrage! (Matthew 22:6) Later when Jesus foretells the abusive maltreatment He will receive at the hands of His Gentile crucifiers, that word in the Greek text is hubris. (Luke 18:35)
Adding insult to injury, the devil took advantage of the suffering, dying Christ on the cross to have someone scream out mockery at Him: “If you are the son of God, come down from the cross.” The passing crowd hurled insults. The priests and scribes also joined in their offensive derision.
If you have undergone attacks of indignity, here’s good advice from the Word of God. Three things you must do:
This is essential for you to go on with your life. Forgiveness does not mean you have to take the offender into your trust. Rather, mark that man. (Romans 16:17) Avoid that person who is offensive. Do not respond. Let the Lord fight your battle. He will! (Psalm 35)
Put it behind you and fill your life with divine vision, with a goal. And then go forward. (Philippians 3:13) “Press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called you heavenward in Christ Jesus.” He will give you grace to do this. Don’t worry. The haughty offender will reap the consequences of his actions. (Proverbs 16:18)
Keep your eye upon the goal, upon the Lord. Nothing can separate you from Christ nor from the destiny He has for you. He causes all things to work together for good for you. (Romans 8:28) Nothing obstructs nor even hinders His purpose, His plan for your life. In fact, He can turn the bad things into good for your future.
God’s purpose for you is like a swift freight train. Nothing hinders it. The little dogs may bark, as the old saying goes, but the train keeps on moving. So don’t quit! Stay on board the train that’s bound for glory. Neither honor nor hubris determines its goal and progress.
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