Chivalry is dead.
Time and time again, I have heard it said. Probably more times than ever before during these last couple of years. But what are people talking about when they say this? It’s usually referring to a male’s treatment of the opposite sex or the elderly. I don’t disagree with this definition, but in my experience it goes deeper than that. Let’s take a look at what it means to be chivalrous. Men, adjust your bow-tie and tuck in your shirt, because this is something you need to hear. Women, don’t go anywhere, because you have more to do with this topic than you would probably assume.
Defining terms is important, especially if we are to claim their dead nature; but let’s start with the olden ways.
Between 1170 and 1220, chivalry (or the chivalric code) was a code of conduct associated with knighthood in the medieval era. The chivalric code had ten rules that the knights had to strive by:
Now, there’s nothing about making sure you hold the door open for your lady, but plenty to discuss. First of all, it’s important to realize that an American version of chivalry only includes the third commandment (Thou shalt respect all weaknesses, and defend the weak) and possibly the ninth (Thou shalt be generous, and give largesse to everyone). The knights held a very strong emphasis on the church and its protection, as well as being a champion for their home and country. I’m not saying that this doesn’t exist in the United States, but it is certainly not associated with our view of chivalry.
You may also notice a lack of rules specifically pertaining to love, or the opposite sex. This
was a side of chivalry what wasn’t emphasized until the 11th century, but still played a large part in a role of being a knight.
Now, upon reading this list, you may have the same reaction as myself. It’s an impressive and noble list of rules to live by! Why, it shows an honorable stature that respects both the weak and the church. However, you may reject that fact that it still lives on today.
People no longer seek to defend the church, but rather, destroy it. People no longer want to protect the weak, but drive them out of our borders. People love to lie, love to steal, and hate to share the things they have been blessed with. This kind of chivalry is certainly dead.
But hold your horses, because is it really? Let me tell you about the most chivalrous man who ever lived: Jesus Christ.
Look no further, because our savior has fulfilled all of these rules.
Jesus came to further the kingdom, and show the church how they must live.
Jesus came to give the church their salvation!
Jesus came to save the weak, as we were defenseless in our sin.
Jesus loved the country in which he was born: Heaven, the real home for his chosen.
Jesus never gave into the enemy, and was victorious over temptation.
Jesus went to hell and broke down its gates, crushing the serpent without mercy.
Jesus follow his Father’s will perfectly, and fulfilled much of the Word.
Jesus never lied, but rather showed us the truth.
Jesus gave us more than we can ever repay, and was generous beyond comprehension.
Jesus was our champion for what was good and righteous.
Our savior is the perfect embodiment to what chivalry really is. And the best part? Jesus is seated on the right hand of our God and Father.
Jesus is very much alive, so chivalry, in its essence, can never die. *mic drop*
This means that men are not the only ones responsible for upholding chivalry. Women are called to be like Christ as well. Ladies, listen well. If you want chivalry to survive, you have to pull your weight alongside us men. I understand that chivalry is just assumed to be a guy thing to do, but we are all called to follow God’s Word. Do this, and you will become chivalrous, no matter your gender.
Unfortunately, we are not our savior. Despite our call to be more and more like him, we constantly disobey. Chivalry can never die because our savior is risen; but it is crippled at best in our sinful world.
Let’s go back to the modern definition of chivalry to really hit this on the head. Jesus’ ministry reached the lives of countless people, including women. Against the cultural norms, Jesus ministered to them and gave them a place at his side. He is still the perfect example, even if we are to talk about the modern definition. But here’s the thing:
Men don’t want to be like Jesus. They don’t want to be chivalrous. They want to be pimp.
Let me clear this up real fast.
PIMP/noun-a man who controls prostitutes and arranges clients for them, taking part of their earnings in return.
Now don’t ever use that term in a positive way EVER again.
Everyone thinks chivalry is dead due to our lack of conduct, towards the opposite sex, or otherwise. We would rather associate with adulterers and the worst of company, rather than our savior. Control the weak. Abuse them. Violate them. It’s what we want as a nation. I’m not just talking about women, but rather any kind of weakness we can get our hands on.
Proverbs 1:10-19 ESV“My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent. If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood; let us ambush the innocent without reason; like Sheol let us swallow them alive, and whole, like those who go down to the pit; we shall find all precious goods, we shall fill our houses with plunder; throw in your lot among us; we will all have one purse”— my son, do not walk in the way with them; hold back your foot from their paths, for their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed blood. For in vain is a net spread in the sight of any bird, but these men lie in wait for their own blood; they set an ambush for their own lives. Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain; it takes away the life of its possessors.”
Friends, guard yourselves from the evil one, for it is chivalry who is dead only within him and his followers, but chivalry lives on in the very life we are called to live as Christians. Do not claim that chivalry is dead without fighting for it yourself. Men, hold that door open for your lady, but know that it doesn’t stop there. Women, don’t complain about a man’s conduct, but rather show him how it’s done.
Live like Christ, friends, and be chivalrous to the end.
Philippians 2:6-11 ESVWho, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.