Doctrines of DignityEcclesiastes 10:6 Folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit in low place.
Habakkuk 1:7 They [are] terrible and dreadful: their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves.
Dignity is viewed by most as an entitlement, a protocol of civil behavior. Only barbarians ignore this civil protocol and strip their enemies of their dignity.
The Bible does not prescribe dignity, but rather love. We are to love our neighbors and value them in our hearts the way God esteems them.
Nobility is rooted in dignity, after all a noble man is a ‘dignitary’. Human dignity celebrates the nobility of humanity, thus dignity enables the nobility of ‘Self’. Self-sovereignty is the human condition that isolates man from his Creator, yet it is our self-dignity that we fight the hardest to preserve.
Dignity bypasses love and entitles mankind to “civil treatment” out of respect for humanity. Now, some may say humanity is entitled to dignity as a result of man being imaged in the likeness of God. And while this is partly true, the part that is true is generally ignored. Man is uniquely equipped to enable Christ (True Eternal Nobility) to be born out in his life, not to enable doctrines of individual sovereignty.
Doctrines of Dignity are very cleaver, because they appeal to man’s higher calling, yet they remain outside of God. The Pharisees proclaimed Doctrines of Dignity as they prescribed condemnation, guilt and self-righteousness. They showcased their own personal dignity and would then lord over others that did not measure up.
Personal guilt is one of the chief tools of dignity. After all, a dignified person feels guilty about moral failure, so personal nobility is proven by guilt’s acknowledgement. Christ has something to say in this regard, “Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward.” (Matthew 6:16). Personal dignity expects noble behavior and disenfranchises God’s grace. Love is not an entitlement; love is a gift that flows from the Father and is born from the Holy Spirit.
Personal pride is another chief tool of dignity. A dignified person takes pride in the things they do, so personal dignity is proven by the care one gives to their personal work. “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (1 John 2:16) Pride reveals self-dignity, whereas humility reveals God.
The “poor in spirit” that Christ identified as “blessed” in Mathew 5: 3 holds no personal dignity. In contrast, the ‘dignified’ are strong in spirit and have a sense of personal significance. Snobbery, often as “blue bloods” is the fruit of dignity.
Galatians 3:18 says, “For if the inheritance [be] of the law, [it is] no more of promise: but God gave [it] to Abraham by promise.” Dignity is an entitlement, not a gift. Entitlements are not earned; they are an inheritance. While gifts also are not earned, they in contrast, are expressions of love. So dignity bypasses love by entitling favor through circumstance, not personal love. Inheritance is a wonderful example, if someone inherits a fortune they feel entitled the minute the court reveals the beneficiary. God’s grace is not our inheritance; it is God’s gift… a lover’s gift to the unlovable.