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!

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