In Monday's post, I spoke of honor and how walking in it will bring blessings to your life.
I wrote that honor, in this context, has to do with recognizing what a person is worth, celebrating who they are and what they have accomplished, and making room for them according to the God-given honor they deserve. Honor is an offshoot of worship.
I gave two principles for honoring people. Here are five more:
1. Honoring one another—We desperately need to create a culture of honor in our churches and organizations. As we learn to practice honor with those around us, we will truly release the glory of God in our churches and organizations. The following are general principles in honoring one another:
We honor one another when we:
- Respect every human being as an image bearer of God (I love addressing a homeless person as "sir" when I stop my car and ask him for directions. I enjoy seeing a well-dressed man like myself address him with dignity and then seeing his eyes light up and wanting to do anything he can to help me have the proper instructions).
- Put other people before ourselves according to the attitude of Christ shown in Philippians 2:3-12.
- Recognize and celebrate one another's unique gifts, personality and calling.
- Highly regard one another with our words when we are not with them personally.
- Understand the challenges of others and how the Lord is processing them to maturity towards their unique calling (knowing a person's context helps us honor them properly).
- Defer to one another and make room for one another's gifts (jealousy is the opposite spirit of honor because it breeds insecurity and limits your ability to accept a person's calling, ability and place in the kingdom).
- Recognize the true value of each person's contributions and speak it to them and to others.
- Give a person monetary gifts or public praise and recognition equal to the quality, sacrifice and kind of work they have accomplished.
- Do all we can do through our prayers, acts of kindness and teamwork to aid those around us to accomplish their calling in the kingdom.
- Use our gifts to serve, and protect other people.
- See husbands love their wife and overlook their weaknesses and commit themselves to their spouse's success.
- See wives respect their husband in spite of their shortcomings. They release them to love and protect and provide for them and their family.
- Trust a person's word. Through this, we give them honor and respect.
- Keep our word to a person. Through this, we honor them and show them respect.
2. The Blessings of Honoring Other People
- When you honor someone, you release them to trust you.
- When you honor someone, you release them to bless you.
- When you honor someone, you release them to serve you.
- When you honor someone, you release them to honor and celebrate you back.
- When you honor a person, you encourage them to remain true to their calling to serve God and become the best they can be.
3. Characteristics of an Honorable Person
- First and foremost, they honor God with the highest glory.
- They are principled, centered people who act based on their responsibility, not based on how they feel.
- They are a person of humility who recognizes the value and worth of others beside themselves.
- They are people who display excellence in their life.
- They don't take their life or gifts of God for granted, but are always grateful for what they have been blessed with.
- They don't flatter others for advantage.
- They are unimpressed with fleeting treasures, pleasures and power.
4. Biblical Examples of Honorable People
- Joseph, when he didn't divorce Mary when she was pregnant with Jesus (Matt. 1:19-20)
- David, when he spared King Saul's life (1 Samuel 24)
- Joseph, when he refused to lie with Potiphar's wife ((Gen. 39:7-10)
- Job, when he refused to curse God and die (Job 2:9-10)
- The life of the excellent woman in Proverbs 31
- Jesus, who died on the cross for the Joy that was set before Him of obeying His Father's will (Heb. 12:1-3)
5. Biblical Examples of Dishonorable Men
- Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus with a kiss
- Demas, who forsook Paul when he was in his darkest hour (2 Tim. 4: 9)
- Onan, who refused to raise up seed for his brother (Gen. 38:8-10)
- King Ahab, who allowed his wife Jezebel to kill Naboth for his vineyard (1 Kings 21)
- Jacob's sons, who left Joseph their brother to die because of jealousy (Gen. 37)
- Cain, who murdered his brother Abel because of jealousy (Gen. 4)
- King Saul, who attempted to kill David because of Jealousy (1 Sam. 18-30)
- Peter, when he denied three times that he knew Jesus (Matt. 26:69-75)
- Peter, when he denied he knew Gentile believers for fear of the Jewish believers (Gal. 2:11)
The question arises: how do we treat those who act dishonorably in the midst of us? Of course, this teaching doesn't do away with the need to correct others, discipline the saints or even terminate a person's employment or dis-fellowship a person from a church because of inappropriate and behavior damaging to a church, family or organization.
Matthew 18:15-17 gives us guidelines on what to do in these instances. When we don't correct dishonorable behavior, we actually lower the standards of honor for everybody else and hurt our organization. But even in these instances, we need to make sure we don't go too far in uncovering people that we attempt to restore them in a spirit of meekness (Gal. 6:1-4) and that we do not allow ourselves to harbor bitterness or unforgiveness towards them.
Whenever I am greatly challenged by a person acting dishonorably towards me and they are not willing to repent, I need to go into the biblical default position in which I honor the work of the Blood of Christ and forgive others just as God in Christ forgave me (Eph. 4:32 - 5:1.)
Finally, if we want the glory of God to be displayed, we have to incorporate a lifestyle of honor in every aspect of our life and calling.
Joseph Mattera is an internationally known author, futurist, interpreter of culture and activist/theologian whose mission is to influence leaders who influence nations. He leads several organizations, including The United States Coalition of Apostolic Leaders (uscal.us). He also has a blog on Charisma magazine called "The Pulse." To order one of his books or to subscribe to his weekly newsletter, go to josephmattera.org.