Love and Honor
By Erin Lamb
John 13:34-35 The Message (MSG)
34-35“Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”
Love is my favorite topic because God is my favorite topic. God is love. God demonstrated His great love for us when He sent Jesus to pay the price for all of our past, present, and future sins. A spotless lamb was led to the slaughter and in exchange for our lives He died. His love is the epitome of love. I often feel like Jesus gets the short end of the stick because we can take our salvation for granted. What a glorious thing He did! He came down and took on the most vulnerable position; He humbled Himself to live as we live. He came and served. He came, and He loved. He came, and He obeyed those in authority over Him. He came, and He honored those around Him.
Jesus teaches us so many things by the way He lived life. He showed us that love is patient, kind, truthful, concerned with justice, love serves, love sacrifices, love forgives, love is not rude, love is not petty, love is not boastful, love is not arrogant or prideful, love is hopeful, love looks for the best in people, love is compassionate and cares about others. Mostly He demonstrates for us that love is not only what He does, but who He is.
So what does love have to do with honor. We live in a culture that is almost void of it. It seems as though the only people who receive any honor are celebrities, the wealthy, and sometimes those who serve in our military. I believe God wants us to honor every person. To honor someone means to treat with dignity, respect, and to treat them as though they have immeasurable value. How would our world change if every person treated everyone around them with honor? I believe that we would see the world change in a radical way. What if instead of being critical and pointing out everyone’s faults, we celebrated who the person is through God’s eyes. Trust me when I say this is not easy. Our eyes are trained from childhood to pick out what is wrong, what doesn’t belong, and what is different. God sees who a person is and who they will be simultaneously. He also loves the person despite any imperfections because love is who He is. We have a daunting task in front of us to honor people when we cannot see their value or worth. So we are dependent on faith. We are to depend on His Spirit, His patience, His wisdom, His grace, and His love to honor others.
Retrain My Eyes Lord:
What a beautiful thing when we can see people as God sees them. How incredible when we can love people the way He loves them. It is wonderful when we can honor them because God says that the person is valuable, so valuable He would have died for just them. Our eyes must be retrained to see what is right with people instead of focusing on what is wrong with them. The truth is there is some good and bad in all of us.
We struggle with honoring others when we do not understand how much God loves us. We cannot give away what we do not have. We cannot honor someone else if we do not feel we are worthy of being loved or honored. So it starts with knowing how valuable we are to God. When we see that, recognize that, and accept that truth, we can’t help but do the same for others.
Why Honor Others:
Honor is Linked to Humility. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. When we dishonor others with our words or deeds, we are essentially partnering with the enemy. He is proud, arrogant, thinks very highly of himself and longs to disgrace any and everyone. God is not into disgracing or humiliating people. The devil is.
God Values Honor. When we refuse to honor others we are missing out on a great God given opportunity to build His Kingdom. Honoring a person in a godly way often propels that person into their God appointed destiny. Honor promotes community, unity, and peace. When everyone in a community values and respects everyone else in that community you see a promotion of peace. Eventhough God’s presence is everywhere, we often miss that we quench the Holy Spirit when we are operating in pride, strife, and chaos. God is a God of order.
Honor Brings Promotion. I am basing this solely on my observations. God entrusts certain mysteries to people He trusts. He has no favorites, but He does have confidants. There are people that seem to just know what He is thinking and I wonder how and why. I have noticed that those people are not only passionate about their walk with Him, they are trustworthy with the secrets He gives them. They do not use the information given to them to disgrace, dishonor, abuse, or hurt people. The gifts of the Spirit are free so I have seen people who are prophetic abuse that gift and people, but for the most part the promotions by God to new levels of responsibility have rested on people who are lovers of God and people.
How Do We Honor Others:
- We speak well of others in their presence and when they are not around.
- We look for the best in others and encourage the good.
- We speak truth not for the sake of proving we are right, but to help guide the person towards Jesus.
- We respect people and their opinions even if we disagree.
- We leave our un-constructive criticism in our heads for Jesus to deal with.
- We encourage, build up, cherish, and say thank you.
- We listen even if the person is someone we deem unworthy to speak into our lives.
- If the person is in a position of authority over us we value them and pray for them.
- We treat people the way Jesus would treat them (this is challenging, but a good goal).
- We don’t think more highly of ourselves than any other person because we are not more valuable than any other person.
- We partner with God to see the person reach their highest potential in Christ.
I will say that this is an area of my life that God is challenging and growing. I find it difficult to honor people who are rude, hateful, or unkind. It seems ridiculous to honor people who behave in ways that are destructive. But if we only love those who love us what reward have we (Matt. 5:46 and Luke 6:32)? If we claim to love God and not our brother or sister we are lying (1 John 4:20). So love and honor are things that have to settle on the heart and seep in. They are so important that God not only talked about it, Jesus lived it. Jesus modeled honor and love with the Samaritan woman (John 4), the adulterous woman (John 7), and He models it for us daily. Love, my friends is the highest calling. When we love one another we show the world who we belong to. God is love.
Father I pray You would retrain our eyes to see ourselves and others through Your eyes. Empower us by Your Spirit to treat people with respect, honor, and dignity; especially those we deem unworthy. Help us to see that we are not better than any other person You created. We are all deeply loved by You. Help us to be humble, gracious, kind, considerate, compassionate, and mostly change our hearts so they look like Yours. May our reputation be that we are a people who love and honor every person we meet. In Jesus precious name, Amen. Have a stellar week peeps!