Shame turned to Honor as seen in the Book of Philippians

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By Floyd D Ruffin

Shame turned to Honor as seen in the Book of Philippians

In the times of New Testament (NT) there is much allusion to the culture of “honor and

shame.” It is often referred to in words such as being reviled or excluded. For

example, Jesus was called Beelzebub, recorded in Matthew 10. And Jesus replied that if

they will seek to shame Him with such names you, His followers, can expect the same and


Honor is said to be the positive value of a person in his or her own eyes plus the positive

appreciation of that person in the eyes of his or her group or community. Shame is the opposite

view. A man cannot be honored unless be is honorable, or does deeds which are deemed

honorable. On the other hand, one without a sense of shame is lightly to be a shameful person

and will not do honorable deeds. The Apostle Paul was honorable in nature and could be

shamed. One would seek to be one of honor; however, one neither does nor, normally, seeks to

be shameful.

In the Book to the Philippians, the people of Philippi did as much as they could to shame

the Apostle Paul. However, that which was intended to bring shame for the Apostle, he turned it

to be something to be honored. The first example is to be found in chapter one, vs. 12-21. Paul

declares that the things which have and were happening to him are not shameful but

“…have fallen rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; that my bonds in Christ are manifesting in…the palace… and all other places; …And many of the brethren…are much more bold to speak the word without fear….in nothing I shall be ashamed, …whether it be by life, or by death.”

The Apostle clearly does not live in self-pity or self-abasement because of the way he is

persecuted and looked now upon as one worthy of imprisonment and death because he has

turned away from “Judaism” to be a follower of Jesus. And, that he proclaimed his allegiance to

Jesus and taught “the way” to all who would listen. (To the Jew, this is shameful)

At Philippians chapter two verse five and following the Apostle speaks of what is

construed as the shame Jesus willingly accepted by giving up what He had, GREAT HONOR, to

say the least, and expose Himself to ridicule and shame, even to become, through human eyes,

a curse.

The shame that Jesus exposed Himself to, was turned back to GREAT HONOR because

it is recorded that “…God…hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above

every name. That at the sound of His name, everyone and everything will bow. That which is in

heaven and that which is on and under the Earth. (Phil. 2:9-10)

Let this mind be in me…

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