“…whatever is honorable…dwell on these things.” Philippians 4:8
The example of honor came over me like a crashing wave. As I followed the stories of the Costa Concordia, the luxury cruise liner that crashed last Friday into rocks off the coast of Italy and has been sinking into the freezing water, I immediately came across a glaring example of what is not considered honorable.
The ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino, who is under investigation for manslaughter, is also facing other charges. Apparently, Italian navigation code says that “a captain who abandons a ship in danger can face up to 12 years in prison“. I had always thought that the old axiom about a captain going down with his ship was a moral principal, I had no idea that it was a law.
As I continued to read story after story of the sinking cruise ship, I would rejoice with the rest of the world when more people would be found alive. Today, I came across a story that brought tears to my eyes and I knew that I had found something that was truly honorable.
In a story from the Montreal Gazette, I read the heart wrenching account of Nicole Servel, a 61 year old Frenchwoman who survived Friday’s crash, but lost her husband in the disaster. The trip was a gift given to them by their children to celebrate her 60th Birthday. She tells of the last moments she had with her husband. They stood on the edge of the sinking ship with one life jacket between them. Her husband gave her the life jacket and told her to jump into the 8 degree water. Because she isn’t a swimmer, when she landed in the water, all she could do was float. The last thing that he yelled to her as he tried to stay afloat in the icy water was, “Don’t worry! I’ll be alright.” And then she never saw him again. Eventually she floated to a place where she was spotted by strangers who got her out of the water and took her to a church to get warm.
So, what makes one man abandon his ship and another man give up his life for his wife? Honor for certain. But, how is it that one man can attain such respect and authority and not be truly honorable when the waters rise and another can live a simple life and be willing to make the ultimate sacrifice?
I’m sure the answer is LOVE.
That should encourage those of us who seek the presence of the Lord in our lives. He is LOVE and his desire is for us to love each other. It won’t be smooth sailing, but at least we know we are on the right course.
Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.