A Display of Honor

Earlier. today I heard a review about the movie, Harriet, which told the story of Harriet Tubman. Thinking about Harriet Tubman, the thoughts have to go to the South and slavery and the Civil War and all the issues related to them. February was designated as Black History Month in 1976 by President Gerald Ford. However, the precursor to Black History Month was Negro History Week, which was begun by historian Carter G. Woodson and his Association for the Study of African American Life and History in 1926. The purpose of setting aside February for Black History Month was to give credence to a subject about the contributions of  a people that have been largely neglected throughout the history of this country.

For example, one of the words that stands out when many people think of the south ad their reason for engaging in the Civil War is the word "honor’. The South was not fighting to maintain the institution of slavery, but to defend their honor and the southern way of life. Yet, when you look at the definition of the word honor, interestingly Wikipedia says it best:

Honour is the idea of a bond between an individual and a society as a quality of a person that is both of social teaching and of personal ethos, that manifests itself as a code of conduct, and has various elements such as valor, chivalry, honesty, and compassion. Wikipedia

Imagine honor being classified as "a bond between an individual and a society"? Even if you don’t go further, can society create a bond between only one kind of individual and society, if that society is composed or different kinds of individuals? Then if we go further in the description to see, "that (it) manifests itself as a code of conduct, and has various elements such as valor, chivalry, honesty, and compassion" If you look at the complete description, it logically follows that the institution of slavery cannot possibly be related to words such as valor, honesty, and compassion. 

Yet, when you look at the life of Harriet Tubman, you can find that she exhibits these kinds of characteristics.  In her own words she said"

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.Harriet Tubman

It speaks to her fervent desire not just to defend her people and seek freedom for them, but to change the world. The difference in a Harriet Tubman and a Civil War soldier was that one wanted to preserve the southern way of life benefitting a few, while the other wanted to free an enslaved people to change the world! Which one exhibited honor?

So too, in our lives we read the scripture and do we read it for ourselves alone to reap benefits, or to help guide us on a mission that will change the world:

"Great sorrow awaits you religious scholars and Pharisees—frauds and pretenders! For you are obsessed with peripheral issues, like insisting on paying meticulous tithes on the smallest herbs that grow in your gardens. These matters are fine, yet you ignore the most important duty of all: to walk in the love of God, to display mercy to others, and to live with integrity. Readjust your values and place first things first. Matthew 23:23 (The Passion Translation)