Honor. It’s a word that many of us associate with the military or the Knights of the Round Table. If you’re like me, it’s a not really a word you use in everyday vocabulary. I think that’s because we regard it as a kind of lofty word, reserving it for wedding vows, veterans ceremonies, lifetime achievements, and Jane Austen films. We seem to save it for special events or rare occasions as if honor is something we only do for specific people or as a part of time-honored traditions. Given our modern technology-driven culture that minimizes offline relationships and appears to promote only the most disrespectful and abrasive treatment of others, it would be so easy to believe that honor is passé… an old-time value from a largely bygone era. But as a follower of Jesus, we are called to serve and honor others the way He did — no matter what the era or circumstance.
Honor is defined as treating something or someone as precious, respected, and valuable. It’s not just about revering someone’s sacrifice, as in the military sense, or having mutual respect so strong that it can withstand outside influences like the Knights of the Round Table. Honor in its daily implementation means to treat others — no matter what their position, lifestyle, wealth, preferences, or behaviors — as if they are precious and valuable. The bottom line is that we are to treat them how Jesus did — that they are fellow royalty no matter where they are on their spiritual journey. From prostitutes to thieves, Jesus treated everyone he encountered based on whom they could become in His kingdom, not what they were struggling with at the time.
In his sermon The Weight of Glory, C.S. Lewis said that there is no one you will ever meet who is a mere mortal. No one is just an ordinary person. Every interaction you have bears the weight of helping someone on his or her spiritual journey. Here is how Lewis put it: “The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbor’s glory should be laid daily on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken. It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations.”
When I am confronted with the lack of honor in my heart toward someone I disagree with — even if the thoughts never exit my mouth — my first instinct is to make excuses. But then the Holy Spirit reminds me of the inescapable truth of 1 John 4:10-11 which says, “This is real love — not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.” We can’t love God enough to make ourselves worthy of the royalty He gives us as His adopted heirs to the Kingdom. Nor can we muster up enough honor or love from within ourselves to bring everyone we encounter into the abundant life God offers them. No amount of work on our part can make that happen. We have to let God’s unbiased love, made possible through Jesus, flow through us to others. Our responsibility is to do our best to not get in its way and ask God to prune us more and more every day to be humble, servants to everyone we meet or talk to through any means, channel, or interaction. It’s a tall order, but it comes from a loving Father who will stop at nothing to help us carry His love to everyone we meet.
Scripture Meditations for this week:
Want to grow more? Check out the additional resources below:
- The Good and Beautiful Community, by James Bryan Smith
- Crazy Love, Francis Chan
- Culture of Honor, Danny Silk and Bill Johnson