I’ve been really concerned about the lack of honor in our nation. On vacation recently, my wife saw a veteran walk out on to the beach in the pouring rain with lightning flashing everywhere and wind howling. He walked over to a flagpole where an American flag was flapping in the breeze. He stood in the rain, put his hand over his heart, saluted, and respectfully took the flag down to safety inside. This is HONOR. It means to respect what something (or someone) represents. That flag did not represent a piece of fabric flailing in the rainstorm. It represented millions of American men and women who gave their blood on foreign battlefields to birth, defend, and protect this great nation.
I have learned that honor is a part of God’s character: “Those who honor Me I will honor and those who despise Me will be lightly esteemed” (1 Sam. 2: 30).
Here are a few practical ways honor works in my life:
1. I honor those who hold government offices in America.
I don’t have to agree with them to honor them. I look past their failures, their humanity, and their wrong decisions and honor the office that they occupy.
2. I honor those who lead the church.
- Paul said ministers who lead well should be worthy of “double honor.” “Honorarium” comes from this Greek word. I believe I should honor a spiritual leader’s office even if they don’t preach very great this Sunday. I also believe they should be taken care of financially just like every other person.
3. I honor my wife.
- Peter said to “give honor to the wife as the weaker vessel.” Queen Elizabeth has not had a driver's license or opened a door in public in over 60 years. I walk next to my wife, open doors in front of her, and open her car door as a gesture of my honor “so that my prayers will not be hindered” (1 Pet. 3: 7)
4. I honor my father and mother.
- My Mom went to heaven seven years ago but my 96 1/2 year old Dad (a WW II veteran) lives with me. It is my distinct honor to help feed him, serve him, and encourage him. He and Billy Graham are the same age and I often ask myself the question, “If Billy Graham was in that apartment, how would I be honoring him?”
5. I honor my children.
- All of my six children are “grown and gone” (five are married). They are adults, not my overgrown children. I respect their privacy, their opinions, and their challenges as adults. I even submit to my 34 year old son, Jonathan, as my pastor now!
Try these principles of honor and let it extend to every person in your life: your next-door neighbor, your co-worker at work, a stranger in the road or in the store. Paul said, “Outdo one another in showing honor” (Rom. 12: 10). Look beyond what you see on the outside: they are the image of God on the inside.
What is your greatest challenge to honor and what can you do to change that perspective?