Sunday, 15 June 2014

Honour: It's All About Identity (Part 2)

So in my last blog post I talked a wee bit about honour. How we are first called to honour God and secondly how this leads to us honouring ourselves.

We're also called to honour others. The bible references honour a few times in relation to other people.

Other references to honour:
  1. Parents - Exodus 20:12 "Honour your father and mother."
  2. Church Leaders - 1 Timothy 5:17 "Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honour, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching."
  3. Employers - 1 Timothy 6:1 "Let all who are under a yoke as bondservants regard their own masters as worthy of all honour, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled."
  4. State Leaders - 1 Peter 2:17 "Honour the emperor."
  5. The Elderly - Leviticus 19:32 “You shall stand up before the gray head and honour the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord
  6. Widows - 1 Timothy 5:3 "Honour widows who are truly widows."
  7. Everyone - 1 Peter 2:17 "Honour everyone."    
You see, once we recognise who God is and who we are in him, it changes the way we relate to others. When I see myself as a child of God, who is holy and blameless, then I have to recognise that in other christians too. If I consider myself made in the image of God, I have to consider others made in his image too. Does that mean everyone gets it right all the time? No. But it does mean that even when I disagree with something I have to do it in a way that honours God, myself and other people. "Honour is not based on performance, it is based on identity." (Simon Holley, King's Arms Bedford).

I'm just gonna look at a few in a bit more detail. We'll start with parents... there will always be situations or outcomes where you disagree with your folks, especially as a teenager. There is a great quote by Mark Twain:  
“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”  
The choice you need to make when dealing with these situations is realising that honouring your parents is the best outcome for everyone. You may disagree and you can certainly discuss differences, but ultimately you acquiesce because they are your parents and you are called to honour them. Even the worst parents need to be honoured, because like your relationship with God, it is not about performance - it is about identity. If they are your parents, regardless of situation and circumstance, they deserve honour. That's difficult at times, you may not even know your parents, but God gives us the grace we need.

Secondly, honouring widows. In New Testament times, the widow's were the bottom of societies ladder. So when Paul tells us to honour widows, he basically is calling us to honour the poor. God challenges us with honour. He doesn't call us to honour the easy people. We are called to honour everyone, especially the down and outs and the unlovable. We are called to show love, kindness and respect to the people that society tries to ignore. We are called to honour the poor. (For a long, but great message on remembering the poor, check out

Thirdly, honour everyone. Easy to say, harder to do. That means honouring the annoying driver who pulls out in front of you. It means honouring the old lady on the bus that smells. It means honouring that person at school who talks about you behind your back. Honouring people is not about being walked over and 'nice' to everyone. It is realising that everyone else has a story, like you and deserves to be treated with dignity and respect; realising that everyone else is imperfect, just as you are. We all get it wrong sometimes. Actually, we all get it wrong often.

The world doesn't hold honour in high regard. You only have to listen in on conversations, read the news or watch tv and you quickly see dishonour. That's our challenge as christians. It's to be in a place where the Holy Spirit, guides and prompts us to respond to people as Jesus would rather than how the world does. It's where we realise that we have been given grace upon grace and need to give that to others. It's about understanding that people don't have to earn honour and respect, they deserve it for just being people, made in the image of God. 

Biblical honour reminds me a lot of the maori idea of mana. When we treat people well, we not only increase our mana, but we also build up theres. Honour begets honour. If we want this world to start treating each other better, we need to follow God's example and show honour to all people. Especially those who don't appear to deserve it...

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