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

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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!

Art

***Quotes above were found at:
http://www.goodreads.com

 

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