1 Corinthians 13:5

5″  [Love] does not dishonor others…”

In church a few weeks ago, we focused on 1 Corinthians 13 (perhaps one of the most widely read verses), and were given the task of implementing one of the commandments each week. As I sat in church that Sunday, I contemplated which task I wanted to undertake. I’ve pretty much mastered the whole “Love is patient thing” (Hello, no Prince Charming). I understand what it means to be kind, not envious, boastful, or proud (Don’t post braggy things about yourself on social media). Then I got stuck, “it does not dishonor others”.

Dishonoring our significant others: Obviously, I think the most extreme ways we can dishonor our significant others is through lying, stealing, cheating, but I think another form of dishonor, although subtle but potentially equally as hazardous, is through complaining about them to others. I am totally guilty of this one; I’m doing this thing where I check my “On This Day” Facebook Ap to do some cleaning, and every once in a while, I will come across a status I posted about how I wish my long-term boyfriend would buy me things, or how wrong it was that my dad comes up more on my caller log than he. This wise woman once told me, “one of my co-workers pointed out that she really admired me, because while everyone always bitches about their husbands during happy hour, I never say anything negative about mine”. Certainly, we all go through struggles and strifes with our significant others (and overcoming those struggles and strifes is what make our relationships strong), but I think we dishonor our significant others when we allow ourselves into this territory of bitching and complaining, because certainly our significant others will meet our co-workers at the company holiday party. It puts them in a very uncomfortable position, because when they meet those co-workers, they know those co-workers have some kind of negative information. Going back to my long term boyfriend–I certainly blasted dishonoring things all over Facebook about our relationship, and I’m sure it made him uncomfortable to walk into situations where he knew he’d be around people I’d spoken negatively about him towards.

Dishonoring our family members: It seems that we always treat our family members less favorably than we do other people–because we know, come holiday season, we know that, due to social customs, no matter what our relationship status is, we will plan a family gathering with them (whereas our friends really have no obligation to hang out with us). Coming from a family of women, dishonoring each other is a norm. When I was a senior in high school, my little sister was a freshman, and we both had the same teacher; I had 4th period, she had 6th period, and I would perpetually come into class, blustering about how she made me late to school, spouting off all kinds of dishonoring things about her, so when she arrived to class a few periods later, the teacher would scold her for making me late to school. In the same way as dishonoring your significant other, in this moment, I was also dishonoring my sister, because I was giving unfavorable information about her to another person, that has the potential to taint and alter that other person’s perception of her. When people ask me how my family members are doing, it’s not really my place to share all of their unpleasant information (“Oh you know, she’s developed an eating disorder”, “She hates her husband”, “They wasted their savings on gambling”).

Dishonoring our co-workers: Certainly talking negatively about your co-workers to other co-workers can lead to disastrous consequences–once you allow yourself to go into that territory, you have (a) told your co-worker you are open to those kind of conversations, (b) base your relationships on gossiping, and (c) train your mind to look for those characteristics so that you have fuel to “bond” over. As a teacher and a coach, I always try to be very careful about dishonoring students and athletes in this way, and to not engage in gossip conversations with other teachers about them. But, in other aspects, I think we can dishonor our co-workers by not fulfilling our responsibilities, slacking on our work, making their jobs more difficult. One of my many tasks includes cleaning the yoga studio (for free yoga, of course), and while there certainly are nights that go a little later than I wish, I know that, by slacking on my job (not filling up the shampoo bottles, not rolling enough towels, not taking out the trash), I am therefore making someone else’s job more difficult, and thus dishonoring their time, and their duties as well. In my unique job, not teaching my students adequate reading, writing, and thinking skills therefore means the next teacher must work harder, and risk not being able to teach their own requirements. In the business world, if I’m not meeting deadlines or responding to e-mails, that could also negatively impact, and dishonor, someone else’s time and job responsibilities.

Dishonoring our leaders: We certainly are called to combat injustice, but I think there is a difference between actively disarming the injustices in a productive way, and berating our leaders. We have the ability to train ourselves to think, so when we train ourselves to produce negative, degrading thoughts about our leaders, we are no longer disarming the injustices, but rather perpetuating the problem.  Take the recent presidential election, for example; we have the choice to (a) talk about how much we hate the other candidate, or (b) talk about how much we like our candidate. In taking Option B, we certainly are not ignoring the fact that we think the other candidate is really bad, but instead of focusing on those degrading comments, we are instead, focusing on enforcing productivity and progression (because, negativity does not serve us in anyway–it only makes us tried, stressed, and anxious). Its like Casey Anthony–it’s not that we said she wasn’t guilty, but that there wasn’t enough information to say she was–I’m not saying that the other leader isn’t a bad person, but I’m just saying that this other person would be better. Besides the president, we have many other leaders who influence us everyday: our bosses, our coaches, our church leaders. My leaders many not make the same choice I would have, but that doesn’t mean I have to go around, gossiping, spouting my mouth, and refusing to adhere to their policies (unless those policies are unjust, and then, I have to find a productive way to combat them).

Dishonoring literary characters: Well, no one dishonors Atticus Finch so…

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