One of the most important qualities of any organization, business, or church is their capacity of honor. Honor. It's a lost quality in today's world. The reason is because it has been abused. Yes, that's right. People have abused honor and turned it into worship. God did not design us to worship people, but He did call us to honor them.
Scripture says, "Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor" (1 Peter 2:17). Everyone deserves to be respected and honored. That's a fact. However, notice that Peter teaches to honor the emperor. The emperor? Ok, honor your leaders. Please understand the context. The king was on the hunt to destroy Christianity.
The Roman Emperors were godless and wicked. Many claimed deity and demanded worship. They were sexually perverted and openly cross-dressed. They murdered family members and political opponents. Some were aggressively killing Christians.[iii] Yet, Peter commands that believers should always “honor” the emperor. This may be hard but it is essential to holiness. But we balk. Whenever we react to a clear command of Scripture with, “Yes, but…” it is a sure indicator of biblical confusion or outright conviction ... -Daniel Henderson
Honor. In most environments it is just language. But honor my be our lifestyle. I have a dear friend, his name is Angelo Garrido. He is an OBGYN, but happens to be retired and has now become my personal physician. I always call him Dr. Garrido. He will always say, "Please call me Angelo." I just can't. I honor his position. Publicly and privately I still call him Dr. Garrido. It's more than just language to me, it's a lifestyle.
I have another friend of mine, David Nuzzolo. He is a pastor and a leader. We have been friends for over 20 years. I still call him Pastor Dave. To me, its an honor thing. Pastor Dave has a position of respect and honor; I desire to push that honor to the highest level. It infuriates when people don't call pastors "Pastor." It's an honor thing.
We would not called the President of the United States, Joe. For some reason we minimize honor to those who are closest to us. When in fact our honor should increase for those we have the privilege to do life with up close.
HONOR IN OUR WORDS.
Words have weight and they should demonstrate true Biblical honor. Just because our society enjoys and laughs at dishonor that does not mean our words should be light. Honor those in places of authority. Remember, Scripture says to show "proper" respect to everyone. Not everyone gets the same level of respect. For example, I won't call someone "Doctor" if they are not a doctor, neither will I call someone "Pastor" who is not a pastor. But the opposite is also true, proper respect is elevating the leader to their position of honor.
HONOR IN OUR WAYS.
Not only do our words need to be layered with honor, but so does our actions. Our text says to "show proper respect." That means it has to be visible. It's the actions that we take. My wife, Mary, and I try to honor our staff as often as we can. We give them paid vacation on their birthdays, take them on getaways, give them raises, end of year bonuses, and even bring them into our home. We don't want honor to just be what we say, but also what we do. Now, we don't always get it right. To be honest, I am the most guilty of missing honor. Mary is a genius at it. Find ways to show honor to the people God has placed in your life.
One of the major reasons why I believe we sow dishonor into our culture is because we are replicating the world's idea of honor. Remember, you will always reap what you sow. Let me say this, those who don't know the honor of Heaven cannot truly honor people. We have the greatest model of honor in our Father. God demonstrated true honor for the world. His honor runs 24/7/365. It's not just words, but honor is seen in His ways.
Romans 12:10 declares, "Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other." Paul is saying that it should bring us great joy to give honor to one another. It should not be difficult for the Christian leader. In fact, it should be natural. God poured out honor on us by sending His Son to die on the cross for our sins. No greater honor could be demonstrated. The writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus endured the cross with joy. Why? He ultimately demonstrated honor to the Father so that humanity could be restored. It is a joy to honor people.
RAISE HONOR. Elevate people. Don't fall into the culture's prison of dishonor. Be free today to show honor to all people. It's more than just your language, it's your lifestyle.