Dignity

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Art:

This rough sketch is Ink with pen and brush.  I may do a final Ink in the future. The photo reference is an original photo taken by a friend in Michigan.  She takes great pictures in a nature setting near her home, and often posts them for others to enjoy.  I can’t say with any certainty that ducks actually deal with this week’s Thought — ‘dignity’. However, I think it would be a challenge to find anything to surpass them in their unique category of natural grace.

 Thought:

In my recent reading I came across this quote that arrested my attention:

“Dignity is worth that has no substitute.”

            It’s a definition. What exactly is the definition saying? After some thought, this is what I came up with: “Dignity is worth [or value] that has no substitute [it’s priceless].”  Dignity is something that, should a comparison be attempted, nothing can be substituted for it. Nothing would be equal to or better than it is.

To dignify is to exalt, distinguish, grace, glorify, venerate or honor.  The opposite of dignify is degrade.  In my thinking, only God fully meets this standard.  No person, place, thing or intangible can substitute, or be better by comparison, where dignity is concerned.

Who can consistently reflect this kind of dignity?  In my view, the only answer is Jesus who is God in human form.  Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me…” To insure we can actually learn dignity from the yoke experience with Jesus, God placed his Holy Spirit in us to empower and guide. We will not be perfect in our present humanity, but we can learn dignity from Jesus as we yoke with him aided by the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit.

I listen to press reports, speeches and interviews with men and women, in and out of politics. I’m grieved with the degrading of fellow Americans. One may agree or disagree with ideas and programs, this is how we may all benefit. Do it with dignity. Don’t attack the person.  I grew up with this motto: “If you can’t say anything good about a person, don’t say anything.”   I hope what I may be seeing does not actually reflect the current spirit of the American people. If that be the case, we may be in more difficulty than we realize. I must pray more for everyone that dignity will be evident. I like what Dallas Willard says about the dignity.

“Dignity is worth that has no substitute.  If a thing has dignity, there is nothing you can substitute for it according to Immanuel Kant.  Most things have a price.  That means there’s a substitute. There’s a price on a cheeseburger.  That means if you give money to the seller, he will give you the cheeseburger.  One reason we still have the blessed law that you can’t sell human beings is because they have dignity.  This is what C. S. Lewis is driving at in the greater Weight of Glory, where he talks about that. Bonhoeffer deals with the same thing in Life Together.

“Every person has dignity, and when you see a person that doesn’t realize that or doesn’t associate it with their work in a society, where so often dignity is associated with work, you begin to understand why unemployment is such a terrible thing, and how it’s important to understand that employment is not a job, though it may be a job.  Employment is the creation of value. It’s work, but it can also be play.

“In the kingdom of God, we are set free to play—abandonment to God.  Madame Guyon was imprisoned for years because of her religious views. She wrote a little poem about how she sat and sang in her prison and how she was content that God had placed her there.  She retained her dignity because she retained her connection to God.  That’s what is crucial.  That’s what gives human beings the dignity they have lost, by and large, through alienation from God and through living in a way where others are attacked and they are attacked, and this process of evaluating goes on so ceaselessly.  What a relief it is to be able to meet people without evaluating them, without sizing them up in some way.  You can do that in the kingdom of God.” [1]

1I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—

2for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

I Timothy 2:1-2

 Last week’s quote in the ‘Valentine Blog’ was from, Living in Christ’s Presence, Dallas Willard p. 104

[1] Living in Christ’s Presence by Dallas Willard, p. 88, 89

2 thoughts on “Dignity

  1. You wrote: I hope what I may be seeing does not actually reflect the current spirit of the American people. If that be the case, we may be in more difficulty than we realize. I think leaders of both extremes have infected the middle with their vitriol. I catch myself denigrating people with degrading statements or thoughts, and then I try to backtrack from such demeaning statements. It’s hard in the atmosphere today.

    Like

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