Honor Thy Father…

As I publish this, today is Father’s Day.

If your dad is still with you and you have a strong relationship with him, today is probably a big day for you both. For your dad because his children, and maybe even his spouse are taking special occasion to show him what he means to them. For you as the child because you get to express your heart & openly appreciate the man who made such a difference in your life.

If you had a strong relationship with your dad but he’s not with you anymore, you can remember, love, miss, reflect & honor his memory today.

A lot of us, (and I mean A LOT!), may find ourselves today with a problem. We’re not sure what to do about Father’s day. Maybe your dad walked away from your life and you two don’t have any contact. Something happened that put a wall right down the middle of your relationship and now you don’t talk. What do you do with today?

Some people I know have used this as another occasion to honor mom. One person I know posted on social media “Happy Father’s Day because you had to be both. To the best Mom ever. I Love You!!”

While I have strong convictions about it, this week I just want to ask you a question.

Do you think we are “off the hook” when it comes to honoring a father who walked away?

I really want to hear what you think. I think this is worth having a conversation.


What do I owe you?

Is there a distinction between respect and honor? They are both of the heart and they both are shown by action. To say a person is respectable, or to say they are honorable would seem to be saying the same thing, except that there is more weight on the word Honor. Honor is equal to the highest level of respect. Remember the definition of honor? To honor is to value as heavy. When something was heavy, it was considered to be worth more. To honor is to value someone as very important to you, showing deference. Honor is also having a good name or public reputation. A showing of merited respect. High worth, and as a verb, a gesture of deference (bow). The root word in Hebrew literally means: To cause to shine, to glorify or to add luster.

Honor notes

When it comes to honor and respect, most people think about it two ways:

I. They demanding it for themselves. Have you ever been handed something by someone and when you reach and grab for it, they refuse to let it go until you say “Thank you”? They may even accompany their firm grip with the phrase “What do you say?” insisting that they be shown the politeness and respect that they are pretty sure they deserve. When most people think about respect, their thinking is self-centered – “You should respect ME!” It’s vitally important to remember that respect and honor come from the heart and by their nature, cannot be taken. They can only be given. Someone may demand respect but, unless their lives and actions command it, making such a demand, actually diminishes their respectability.

II. Some have the idea that they will only give honor and respect when they believe it’s been earned. “She hasn’t earned my respect”. There is a real problem with this thinking. It breeds hardhearted, stiff necked, rebellion. Some may let anger or bitter feelings dictate whether or not they can honor, or respect someone.  They may say “I have no respect for _____” but when we really look at it, feelings should not be allowed to get in the way of our showing honor to those to whom it’s due.

If respect is owed, it should be paid. If you owe someone honor, pay that honor. When most people think about respect, they don’t think this way. Instead, their thinking is self-centered – “They should respect ME!”  This is against scripture, which teaches that there are those who God Almighty commands us to honor. We owe it to these people and we need to give it to them.

Rom 13:7,8. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor. Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he that Loves another has fulfilled the law.

If you make a debt without being certain how you are going to pay it back, you are setting yourself up to steal. You may think of yourself as an upstanding citizen who always follows the law, and would never intentionally do anything wrong, but if you don’t have a plan to pay what you owe, you will probably over extend your ability, and leave someone who trusted you, wishing they hadn’t.  It doesn’t matter at this point what kind of person you think you are. Your image of yourself does not match the cold, hard reality of who you are. You are self-deceived. You have judged yourself by your intentions, while the rest of the world is judging you by the outcome.

In the same way, you owe a debt of love, respect and honor to certain people. Keeping Romans 13:7 & 8 in context, Paul is talking about rendering respect and honor.  He indicates in this passage that there are those to whom honor is due.  If it’s due (owed), and we refuse to pay it, is it stealing?  While we might think that they don’t deserve our respect, we need to respect or honor those God tells us to, out of honor for Him.

There are those out there who are starving for someone to hold them as valuable, craving the feeling of being held in honor and viewed as important. They may have longed for it all their lives but have felt powerless to change it.  Many thinking it is out of their hands. But…there is something that they CAN do.

Rev. Keith Moore says it this way “Pay the respect you owe, and reap the respect you sow”.  Isn’t that good.  When we obey God in this area, and honor by faith, even when we don’t feel like it, we’re planting seed that will grow into a harvest in our own lives.  Think on that for a minute.

Pay the respect you owe, and reap the respect you sow.  – Keith Moore

Jesus said in Mark 4:26 – 28,  “So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; and should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knows not how. For the earth brings out fruit of itself, first the blade, then the ear, after that the full grain in the ear.”  Think about it for a minute…The whole kingdom works this way, but we need to understand that it all started with a seed.  If we want to be honored and valued, we need to begin sowing honor and value.  If we can learn to give honor when it’s due, we will begin to see the fruit of honor showing up in our own lives.

Are you ready to take a step?  Find someone you owe honor, or respect to this week and find a way to intentionally show it.  Remember, Father’s day is the 19th.  A perfect time to express honor!

If you have been helped and think this could help others, please consider sharing it with them.

I appreciate you!

What is Honor?

What does it mean to be honored? I did a google search for images of honor and several images were found of the U.S. President placing a medal around the neck of a soldier. We celebrated Memorial Day recently where we honor the memory of our fallen soldiers. A large part of the observance of Memorial Day is to show honor by decorating their tombs and grave sites, and showing reverence for their sacrifice. It would seem then that honor has something to do with medals & decorations.

Monuments cropped


While we do show honor through medals & decorations, in most cases, what we are really honoring is an act. Usually an act of courage, valor, or bravery. Acts come from the inside of people. Consistent acts reveal what is in the heart in abundance. It is in times of long service, or service under high distress and danger that a person’s true character is revealed. It is in moments like these, when some people rise up to a level of true greatness, revealing qualities of exceptional leadership, bravery or self sacrifice. In the act of honoring, we are acknowledging in them a high quality that we revere and value. We are ornamenting a person because they have made a significant impact for good to those around them. They have made a difference.

When we look to scripture, we see in Malachi 1:6 God the Father is asking a question of the priests. He says “A son honors his father, and a servant honors his master. So if I am a father, where is my honor? If I am a master, where is my respect? You priests who despise my name.”

“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to
succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have.”
― Abraham Lincoln

In this scripture we see both sides of honor. God says “If I am and Father and a Master, where’s my honor?” Implying that God expected to be honored and respected. The farther implication is that God expects that parents and masters (employers) are to be honored and respected also. (Ex 20:12. Eph 6:1-3. Col 3:22. 1 Pet 2:18).

Recently I saw a picture on social media of a man with his Bible on his knee and his hand wresting on it. In his hand was a lit cigar. I don’t remember what his caption said, but it was something like “this is church this morning”. This man’s father is a well respected minister with international influence. This man’s wife is also a minister working hard to grow her influence.

One of my first thoughts when I saw the picture was “Did his dad teach at home what he was teaching publicly?” Here’s why I’m bringing this up. This young man has what appears to be a successful business in town. At least in part, the success of the business is because his dad leveraged his own influence to help his son get launched. Many of the people who are following this young man on social media are doing so because of his father. Many of the people who saw that picture follow his father and whether people will admit it or not, this picture struck a blow against his father’s credibility. I will not say that it ruined it because his dad is a fine, upstanding man. I will say though, that it caused questions to be asked that would not have even been thought before the picture was posted. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The beginning of honor is to not cause shame (see The Road To Honor) .

Hypothetically, what if someone were considering asking this man’s wife to minister in their church, but decided against it because of this photo? I am not this man’s conscience. I am not his judge. My points here are based completely on the topic of honor and the apparent thoughtlessness of his actions.

“The most tragic thing in the world is a man of genius who is not a man of honor.”
― George Bernard Shaw

What is honor? Honor is to value as heavy. In the old days when barter and trade would happen, weights and scales were used to determine the value of things. Heavy usually meant better. Even in quality, heavy usually meant better built with more sturdy materials. When something was heavy, it was considered to be worth more. To honor is defined as value as heavy, Showing deference. A good name or public reputation. A showing of merited respect. High worth, and as a verb, a gesture of deference (bow).

The root word in Hebrew literally means: To cause to shine, to glorify or to add luster. This is the definition that I think of when I think of honor. When I think about my relationship with God, my parents & my leaders, I understand that I always need to be reverentially respectful toward them and to always live my life in a way that causes them to shine. I live to add luster to them. This is honor – and as you can see, honor comes from living from what they put into you. This is why poor choices bring dishonor and shame to them.

For me, the clearest example of honor was found in my paternal grandmother. She and my grandpa had been together for many years and raised nine children. When he passed away, she had a large photo of him framed and placed prominently on the wall in her living room. One Sunday afternoon when I stopped by for a visit, she confided in me that sometimes, when she was alone, she would talk to him. She also told me that she kissed that picture at night before she went to bed. This illustrates honor so clearly to me because of the way she honors his memory. She was showing how much she loved him and how heavily she valued him.

Honor is lacking in our world today. People hear the word and don’t understand what it really means. Because of this, they can’t do it and are suffering because of it. In the next few weeks, I want to go deeper into it and talk more about what it is, but also who we are to honor and what the benefits are because we walk in honor.

Understanding that to honor is to value, take some time this week to examine your life? Are you honoring those you should be honoring? Are you walking worthy of it yourself? Join the discussion by leaving a comment.

I appreciate you all!


***Quotes above were found at: