Phil Robertson – Living honorably and peaceably seems to be increasingly difficult in today’s world. Many folks of my age recall a time when civility and courtesy were the norm rather than the exception. When I look back on the last half of the 20th century, I realize that, in reality, behavior has changed little. Evil, however, has shed its costume and is acting “mainstream” and seeking greater acceptance. God’s challenge for me, as stated in our passage for October, is the same as in previous times: to live with honor and to seek peace with others.
Living honorably has been a challenge since the Garden of Eden. I have always been taught that revenge is wrong (Romans 12:19), but I would put revenge in the class of something like the Hatfields and McCoys, or a blood feud. But our verse 17 lowers the bar on behavior that I may characterize as “giving them a taste of their own medicine” or “teaching them a lesson.” In 1974 I read a book entitled “Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less” by Jeffrey Archer. It is a story about “payback” in which three men were swindled out of millions of dollars by a conman and they plotted to get their money back without the swindler realizing they had recovered what they had lost down to the exact penny. It was a very clever and enjoyable tale. As a fraud investigator I found the story very appealing.
God tells me that I should not be “clever” or deceitful in any of my relationships. Jesus tells me plainly in Matthew 5:31-37 that I should be honest in all that I do. Not only am I to be honest, I am to be honorable. Honesty is how I relate to truth; honorable is how I relate to others. Second Cor. 8:21 tells me to regard honor, NOT ONLY IN THE SIGHT OF the LORD, but also in the sight of men. Honorable behavior goes to the root of my regard for God as demonstrated by my regard for those God created and Christ died for.
I often tell myself that peace in life is my goal (Romans 12:18). Yet conflict is what I find interesting in most aspects of my life. I may characterize it as “competition” or “just business,” but conflict has been a staple of my life. After all, I don’t want to read a book where the plot lacks “drama” or a villain or the good guy doesn’t win in the end. My challenge is not to incorporate conflict into my life and the lives of others. I need to let God fight my battles and to trust His judgement. I fear I am still a work in progress.