Men are instinctively driven by their desire to be successful, and arguably, nothing is (or should be) as important to a man as his mission. While on the pursuit of success and fulfilling your mission, you acquire honor that builds your reputation.
While success and our missions are important, nothing is more valuable to the individual man than his reputation. Your reputation is the perception that other people have of you backed by your words and actions.
Every good thing, and bad thing, you do builds your reputation. Because of this, having an honorable reputation is important. As I said, you can have a good reputation or a bad reputation.
If your goal to be successful is to be successful through honest means, it will reflect a certain level of honor within you. If your mission is to be self-employed or be a husband and a father, so long as you are not scandalous in the self-employment, nor pursue husbandry and fatherhood through illegitimate means. Then your mission will, again, reflect that you are an honorable man.
Your reputation is essentially the first thing that comes to mind when someone thinks about you. Honor is then determined if the first thought is good, great, or astonishing.
You cannot control what someone thinks about you. But you can ensure that you build a reputation for yourself that is honorable.
Now, for truly honorable men, he will have enemies who want to see him burn. Especially in the era, we live in more than ever. If you can effectively tarnish or even destroy an honorable reputation, then you might as well have killed the man.
What is your first response when you are physically under attack?
Naturally, you follow flight or fight. Hopefully, your instinct is to fight, unless prevailing circumstances demand you flee. So, when you are physically being threatened, as men, it is important to ensure that we train well to defend ourselves.
It is crucial that we are able to defend ourselves and even fight back. In some cases, this is a matter of life or death.
If your reputation is under attack, then the honorable things you have done act as your defense. How you act during the onslaught is how you inadvertently strike back.
As I’ve established, honor is absolutely crucial to uphold a good reputation, and acting and speaking honorably are what will get you through when your reputation is under attack.
Your honor has been built up since the day you were able to make a choice between right and wrong and chose right. An honorable reputation takes years to acquire and build. It doesn’t happen overnight or even in a matter of days.
Though, those who attack your reputation and your honor do not care how long it took you to build it. For the attacker, they only need you to make one mistake that goes against your honor, and they can destroy your reputation.
Now, a man cannot survive these attacks easily if he is the only one who is defending his honor.
Men are social creatures, whether some like it or not. Since the beginning of time, we have been told that it is not good for man to be alone. Men should and need to be surrounded by other strong men. It is advantageous for all parties involved.
But the way you view these relationships change when you realize that you are not called to defend just your honor, but the honor of your brothers as well.
When another man tells you his life story, and you join him in life through an establishment of brotherhood, you have both heard the stories of his honor, and over time, you will learn if his reputation is good or bad.
Essentially, when a man tells you his life story, he is inviting you to join him with what comes next. Should you accept the invitation to accompany him, you are joining together in a quest for honor.
Henceforth, it is your duty to protect and defend that man’s honor and reputation, as it is his to protect and defend yours.
This is called the Honor System.
Now, when your brother’s honor and reputation is under attack, there are two possibilities: A) the attack is unwarranted without truth (based off of accusations, slander, and destruction of reputation), or B) the attack came because of his unresolved conflict (the attack came because he didn’t properly handle past situations).
While the attack ensues, regardless of which of the two possibilities it is, you are always called to protect and defend his honor, so long as it rests easily within you to do so. If you do not believe it is the right thing to do, then be prepared for him to cut you out of his life completely. Sometimes it is good for this to happen. Other times it is most regrettable when it happens.
You defend your brother’s reputation by telling the honest and good stories of his past or sharing the true accounts of what really happened (if the attack is based on wrong accusations). Never falter and reveal information that might condemn him or add fuel to the attacker’s fires.
Now, I’m not telling you to lie on his behalf. If you know the accusations are true, then you take that up with your brother. You do not say that out loud to the enemy.
If he has does nothing to warrant the attack, you defend his honor as if it were your own. If you know there is legitimacy to the attack, you continue to defend his honor as if it were your own, but you address the situation amongst yourselves.
If it is legitimate, this puts you in a difficult yet crucial situation that can increase your own honor, but only if you do it right.
You defend him publicly, but you confront him privately.
Public & Private
There’s a possibility your brother believes the attack is completely unrighteous and unwarranted. Still, it is the result of a conflict that he did not properly address or clear in his past. If this is the case, you must confront him, but with love.
Do not condemn him. You do not want to give him any reason through your own words or actions that make him think you are against him. If you do confront him on the matter, specifically tell him, “I am not against you, I will defend you, but I need you to know that you have done wrong in this as well.” Do this with a modest and humble demeanor. Ensure your posture isn’t hostile, or your tone of voice isn’t aggressive.
These are hard traits to master, but mastering them will add honor to your reputation.
The goal is to defend your brother’s honor through and through. Do not buckle. Do not give in to the mob’s attacks. Speak highly and truthfully of him. Cut those who have persecuted him out of your life. Do not compromise for the sake of his honor, and god-forbid you compromise for the sake of your own.
Lastly, never apologize for him. That is a rule you should never break.
Sometimes defending honor means being silent. But if you are directly asked about your brother’s situation, you answer honestly and tell of his rightness. You build his reputation and honor up, even if it seems impossible.
Do not speak falsely on his behalf. That will compromise your honor and risk destroying his. Ultimately, honesty is key in defending your own honor and others.
It is called the Honor System because if you defend your brothers, they will come and defend you. And when you are faced with an onslaught of attacks, ridicule, defamation, and accusations, you will need a strong defense – and there is hardly any stronger defense than that from your brothers.
The men you defend will form a barricade around you if you are targeted next. If you abide by the Honor System, it will do you well.
David F.A. | Arsenal Headmaster | Twitter: @HeadMasterDFA
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