Two dynamic pairs are necessary for true dignity, 1. Freedom and responsibility and 2. Voice and choice.
- Freedom is the opportunity to self determine.
- Responsibility is ownership.
- Voice is the unique expression of who you are.
- Choice is decision.
When we speak life, we declare freedom and responsibility and voice and choice.
Let’s consider these aspects of dignity in the Biblical narrative called, “The Loving Father.” Luke 15.
- Why did the son ask for his inheritance? The loving father had effectively communicated freedom and responsibility and voice and choice.
- Why did the father grant the son’s request?
- The loving father knew that all healthy relationships must include freedom and responsibility and voice and choice.
- It is better to honor dignity and allow the son to “come to his senses” than it is to dishonor
- To ignore the son’s dignity would have been as grave a sin in the father as the sins the son would commit in the “far land.”
This narrative is a reply to a primary complaint by religious Jews (scribes and Pharisees), “You receive and eat with publicans and sinners.”
In essence Jesus was saying, “Publicans and sinners are people with God given dignity too. Show them the love of the Father and when they come to their senses they too will turn and run to Father’s House.”
When freedom and responsibility and voice and choice begin to be used wisely, one’s dignity earns trust. Proverbs 3:13-18, Titus 2:7-10, Proverbs 28:6, Proverbs 10:9, Psalm 25:21
What gifts did the loving father immediately give the son? A robe, a ring (the family’s authority) and sandals….Everything the son would need if he chose to leave again!!! The son now showed signs of being trustworthy with the father’s true inheritance – loving relationship. John 15:12-15, John 1:12-13
Even after the son lost or destroyed everything except the awareness of his father’s house, the loving father still extended the dignity of freedom and responsibility and voice and choice.