Teachings on Dignity?

Krissa Lox

Active Member
A major frustration I've been frequently encountering is that it's very hard to figure out how to effectively communicate with people who have no inherent sense of dignity.

Intuitively, I feel like dignity is an important aspect of living for Christ, but I can only think of places where the Bible makes indirect inferences to it (like when Paul says don't publicly speak in tongues if it's just going to confuse people rather than accomplishing something worthwhile) instead of more explicit instruction that would be helpful in explaining the concept to others who struggle with the consequences of falling short in this area.

Maybe it's something that comes as a byproduct of maturity or prayer life or other spiritual pursuits rather than being something we can work on directly, but it seems like it's becoming a problem to not have some sort of clear scriptural basis to converse about it with others who don't seem to be succeeding at learning it on their own.

Are there places the Bible covers this subject that I'm missing or ways other Christians have found to meaningfully address it, or are we really supposed to be just letting immature people keep ignorantly walking off of avoidable cliffs in hopes they'll learn more sense from their hard impact with the ground?
 

The Mighty Gerbil

Tribe of Judah TF 2 Chapter Leader & CGA Admin
Staff member
Are verses on dignity really what you are looking for? I mean I tend to think of dignity being self respect or in this case how you present yourself to others. It's putting effort in your appearance, speech, and behavior for a job interview to show others you will be a responsible hard worker or have personal responsibility Luke 16:10-12 . When you say "immature people keep ignorantly walking off of avoidable cliffs" that seems to be more in line with a lack of personal responsibility itself (the consequences of someone sinning) not the outward indicators of personal responsibility existing. You want to get to the heart of the matter not just the outward trappings of dignity Matthew 15:18 . In short I would widen your search beyond just dignity.

A random search on verses on Dignity which will probably be of no help whatsoever https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/words/Dignity . Just attempting to help XD .
 
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Krissa Lox

Active Member
Are verses on dignity really what you are looking for? I mean I tend to think of dignity being self respect or in this case how you present yourself to others. It's putting effort in your appearance, speech, and behavior for a job interview to show others you will be a responsible hard worker or have personal responsibility Luke 16:10-12 . When you say "immature people keep ignorantly walking off of avoidable cliffs" that seems to be more in line with a lack of personal responsibility itself (the consequences of someone sinning) not the outward indicators of personal responsibility existing. You want to get to the heart of the matter not just the outward trappings of dignity Matthew 15:18 . In short I would widen your search beyond just dignity.

A random search on verses on Dignity which will probably be of no help whatsoever https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/words/Dignity . Just attempting to help XD .

Well, I found the knowing-jesus site helpful as a personal resource, even if it doesn't help with this specific scenario, so I appreciate you sharing it.

I think you've actually grasped the sense of what I'm struggling with very well, it's just not something that I think easily expresses into words to directly communicate about. More like something people learn indirectly over time from discipleship/mentorship relationships or having long-term visible role models or healthy functioning family and social structures, which might be getting more rare these days. And thus maybe new ways have to be found to explain things that used to be commonsense concepts from scratch.

The underlying issue is more of a societal one rather than something that can be easily addressed on an individual level - increasing economic/social marginalization of young and healthy but not wealthy or well-connected men (and women too, but men seem to suffer a lot more emotionally and spiritually from it). It's a problem that causes a lot of painful difficulties with life management and loneliness, but in the Bible there's - as far as I can recall - not much individual instruction for how such situations should be dealt with.

The actual applicable verse most correctly suited for this case is probably "Be still and know that I'm God," because God probably does really have a plan that He's working on to correct this and doesn't expect lone individuals to be able to fix it for themselves. However, it's been my observation that there's few if any more torturous ideas you can put on a man than to suggest that he live with a problem he can't fix. Most guys want to fix stuff, whether it's rational or within their means or not. They just do, and it's usually an incredible blow to their self-esteem when they can't. So in terms of practical reality, anything pertaining to "Be still" is probably not going to suffice on its own, and some safer avenues of direction for how he can be spending his time would likely help lessen the chances of him wandering off somewhere he shouldn't where he might face unexpected temptations to sin or get caught up in ill-considered crusades or be preyed upon in his vulnerability and angst.

I don't think the issue is ultimately one of personal responsibility because they wouldn't feel so frustrated and flailing about if they were really okay with being idle. But without a concrete vision of how to move forward in some productive way, there does tend to be some problems of personal initiative. I think you're absolutely right in saying that dignity is an outward manifestation of other inner disciplines and choices, but in this kind of case that's what I'm perceiving as being needed, some sort of envisionable end goal to guide the inner workings that need to take place. And for those who naturally understand what I mean by dignity, it works pretty well to help click things into place because maintaining your personal dignity is going to be valuable to you and God whether the rest of society appreciates you or not. But for people who don't have a natural understanding of what I mean by this, having to explain all the basic steps of being a healthy responsible adult ends up sounding like a naggy to-do list that often gets met with a whiny toddler-like question of "But why???" to which I struggle with not having a better answer than an exasperated "Because it's good for you, that's why."
 

The Mighty Gerbil

Tribe of Judah TF 2 Chapter Leader & CGA Admin
Staff member
Our fundamental reason for existing is to love God Matthew 22:37-40 . Discerning and doing His will should be the life motivation for all Christians, man or woman. Certainly one cannot go through the list of all the things we should and shouldn't do (even the Bible itself is only a 1000~ pages and cannot cover everything). As one cannot impart every law impart the thing on which all law is founded. The motivation to find and do what is good, and right, and just, by God (and not the world). To be desirous for the Holy Spirit.

It's really hard to get a person to do anything if they don't want to do it thus it is the spirit (doing things for the right reason) not the deed which should take precedence. Doubtless the rich people giving to the poor did more materially for the poor than the widow throwing in two pennies. Yet they and most of the people who "do good" today do it for vanity, to buy good feelings, never daring to ask themselves whether the things they do or support actually do "good" lest they lose that feeling. A person who actually wants to do "good" will ask questions. Does using God's name in vain glorify He who is supposed to be the most important in everything? If anything in life is worthy of respect is it not the Creator of the universe who died for you? If sex has purpose and consequences why disregard it so in word and deed? As the questions are infinite isn't the desire to ask them more important than a single one? Regardless if one can only get the deed and not the more important belief and spirit behind it don't be too proud to take what you can. I know many of the players on our TF2 server unfortunately only restrain themselves for fear of the admin not fear of God.

Men certainly want to fix things but along with that must also come humility. I certainly want to fix beliefs and behaviors in people (and in myself) for God, but one needs to accept that we will never be perfect on Earth, that we were all given free will, and that another person's choices are, ultimately, between them and God. The job Christ set forth for us is to teach as He taught us in word and deed, regardless of success. Were we not told to become perfect even though we cannot of ourselves? To run a race like you mean to win can be analogous to fixing things, success should be pursued with all strength, but whether it happens or not must be wholly given to God.

What is success in life? Who is God? What does He want from us? Perhaps fundamental questions may be what you want to focus on first to impart motivation to actually do anything else? For me I've always found the desire to do right analogous to what it takes to be a "hero". A desire even secular men should understand in how they want to view themselves.

Vague meanderings I know but unless specifics are given it's all I got XD .
 
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