1 Peter 2:17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.
Honor is so important. It is important to God. We must make it important to us. We also need to properly understand it.
Honor is defined in various ways: to value highly, to revere, esteem to the highest degree, give more weight to. In honor we elevate the status of another. We give power to another. In confrontation, especially, we seek the full understanding of the other’s opinion and desire. And we honor ourselves to the same degree. We do not allow fear to control the outcome. We do not surrender in fear. Nor do we allow fear to move us to control the other person so we get what we want. Relationships of honor grow and become strong even when there is disagreement. We agree to disagree and walk together in peace.
When we honor a person we may give them a degree of access, influence and power in our lives. You do not have to give these things to a person to honor them. However, in personal relationships valuing another person often means these privileges are given or increased. Whereas these things are given because we honor, they may be removed without dishonoring the person. Their value remains even though access is denied.
God honors us. He has put high value upon us. And He gives us access to Himself through the blood of Christ. Everyone can come. Yet only through Christ. He honors us and provides access to Himself. But He does not dishonor Himself. He requires that we honor Him and His Son through Whom He paved the way to Himself. Though we have sinned, through Christ we are reconciled to our Father in Heaven. He has placed high value on us. He honors us.
Those you honor, you may give access to. The higher honor is revealed by the degree of access you give them to you. You can give honor to a king or a president by esteeming them with a high level of respect due to their position. But that does not mean you give them access to your intimate thoughts or the emotions you share with your loved ones.
The highest honor goes to those you give the most access to your heart.
John 15:15, 16
15 “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.
Jesus has chosen us and He does not call us servants. He calls us friends. Friends are normally people who have influence with you. The more influence we give a person, as we make decisions for our lives, reflects the honor we give them. Give God the highest honor by giving Him the highest and first place of influence as you make life choices.
One teacher said influence is synonymous with glory. You give God glory by giving Him the first seat of influence. He sits on the throne of your heart, not you or anyone else. Yet, it is proper and honorable to give your spouse the second seat of influence. Or, if you are not married, that place goes to a parent, a friend or an offspring.
When you honor people you elevate their status in your life by giving them greater access and/or influence. It does not mean you give a person both. A child may have great access but not much influence. A trusted friend may have great influence in certain areas, yet have little access to you in other areas for appropriate reasons. The access they once had will need to diminish once a spouse enters the picture. Still the influence is considerable.
Great wisdom should always have influence in your life. God gives wisdom to those who ask. But often He uses human vessels to give it. Keep relationships of honor with people you know you can trust to impart wisdom.
Influence means power. However, it should never mean power over another. Never allow your insecurities or personal low self-esteem to move you to seek higher esteem for yourself by how much power you can exert to control another person.
Honor means you refuse to control another. Instead, you help others be firmly in control of their own lives and choices.
You dishonor a person when you take control of their choices and thereby you lower their status and power over their own life. God does not do this to us and He does not want us to do it to others.
Relationships of honor are those where both parties are equal in power and self-control. You share power. You make sure those you relate to have power and control over themselves so they are never victims of your power moves. Powerful self-controlled people scare predators away. Predators go after the weak and vulnerable. Let’s help people become less vulnerable.
God tells us to honor all men. Honorable people give honor. We refuse to take advantage of others when they are weak. Instead we help them be in control of themselves. Helping people be in control of themselves is – Honor!
The only time you take control of someone else, is when they need someone to do that for them, because they are injured or incapacitated or helpless in some way.
It is dishonor to take control of someone’s life when they still are able to rise up.
In honoring another you elevate that one’s status and you eliminate superiority. In honorable confrontation you give the other person power and refuse to exert control over that person. Neither do you give up control of yourself nor surrender out of fear. You honor yourself and you honor the other so both win.
You partner with the other person to share power and ensure a good outcome in which the relationship is strengthened.
In honor you remove the fear of confrontation. In fact, honor is best demonstrated in an eye-to-eye relationship in which fear is not allowed to rule. Peace rules instead, as we make peace.
Honorable people display maturity, wisdom and respect for all men. In this way we honor God Who created each one.
HONOR RELEASES BLESSING
God commands us to honor authorities, parents, spouses and even all men. It’s important because there are many good things and benefits that do not come to us because we do not honor. Every individual you honor from your heart opens to you the blessings that flow through that person’s life. Family heritage may be denied you because you hold bitterness in your heart toward those who had gone before you. It may not be that they wished to deny it to you, but the dishonor in you heart works against you. It triggers the law of sowing and reaping. This law can work to bless you, as God intended. Or it can release the curse upon you. This is why He commands us to honor our parents. In a similar way, having a heart to honor all men puts us in a position to be blessed in all our relationships, even in those where we are despised.
7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Incidentally, when honor releases blessings to us that does not mean it comes through the persons we honor. But it does mean we will reap a good harvest because we have sown good seeds. Blessings will come from unexpected sources.
Bitterness can be a block to honor. For this reason the pathway to honor starts with sincere forgiveness of all those who have offended you. Forgiveness may not be correlated with honor, but the path to a heart that honors all men often begins with a willingness to trust the God Who made you. He tells us to forgive all those who have offended us, just as Christ has forgiven us.
The story of Joseph, which covers chapters 37-48 in the book of Genesis, is a clear example. If you don’t recall the story the details are instructive and important. Plus the story is compelling reading.
Joseph was chosen by God to prepare the way for the Hebrews to be protected and provided for during a terrible time of famine which could have eliminated the entire family. God gave him dreams when he was still a teenager. These dreams were symbolic pictures of what would actually happen as the plan of God would be revealed years later.
Offense entered the hearts of Joseph’s ten older brothers when they heard him tell his dream. They already knew that their father, Jacob, loved Joseph more than all of them. So these dreams were easy triggers for more offense. Their reactions toward Joseph revealed their hatred. Yet, there is no indication that Joseph took offense toward them. I can imagine offense entering his heart. But I can also imagine a pure heart wondering what he could do to win them over. I believe Joseph had a heart of honor toward them, as well as for his mother and father. For this reason he was the perfect candidate to fulfill God’s plan.
As you remember this story or read through it, you will see Joseph had many opportunities and reasons to hold offense. He could have become bitter toward his brothers, Potiphar and his wife and the butler who forgot his promise to Joseph for two years while Joseph remained in the Egyptian prison.
I am sure that Joseph had to keep his heart open to God and forgive many times. But his forgiveness kept his heart in a condition of honor. Joseph was honoring the God Who gave him the dreams as he honored each of these people. Joseph was a man of honor. Therefore, he honored God and all men.
If forgiving those who have hurt you the most seems too hard for you, remember, you are the one who suffers the most. Your unforgiveness leaves you in a condition of torment, not the other person (Matthew 18:34). You will not have a heart of faith to honor until you trust God. So trust Him. He will lead you one step at a time, if necessary. As He leads you, He will give you the grace (His power) to forgive. He will change your heart. You will be glad He did.
May all honor, glory and power go to Him Who sits upon the throne.