Terry R Baughman is Lead Pastor for LifeChurch in Gilbert, AZ. See his complete bio at trbaughman.com
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Honor that is Due
Terry R. Baughman
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:9–10 NIV).
Honor should neither be an antiquated word nor an outdated characteristic. The principle of honor, deep respect or high esteem, has long been engrained in our society for judges, for public officials, for offices of leadership, and for religious leaders. The respectful title, The Honorable, was used as a preface to addressing members of congress and those who filled the bench of the courts. Such titles of honor has been commonly accepted decorum, dictated by unwritten rules of etiquette that controlled social interaction for centuries.
Within the last fifty years there has been an erosion of respect for leadership throughout the culture. From the anti-establishment revolution of the Vietnam-era 70’s protests, to the unleashed verbal exchange on social media and on talk radio. The decline has accelerated as abusive speech and critical attacks have increased in the political arena. No longer is there a careful use of proper titles for formal address, such as: The Honorable Judge Stevens, or the Reverend Pastor Jones, or President Washington. Rather, we are as likely to hear slanderous nicknames and offensive monikers to refer to national leaders.
There has been a general loss of respect for others, and honor has been dismissed along with civility in society. Whether or not we agree with a person’s political position, religious affiliation (or lack), or their origins, there should be respect for all people. Honor is for more than leaders or officials, it should be given to all humanity.
Since we all share the planet and are members of the human race let there be mutual respect among us. The Scripture teaches us to, “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10 NIV). If our love is sincere we must elevate others above ourselves. This is more than appreciation for a peer or the give-and-take of respect, it is learning to promote others ahead of us. Giving honor is not intended to be a begrudging obligation, but rather it should be a joyful opportunity. The New Living Translation says, “Take delight in honoring each other.” In the New King James Version it is stated, “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another” (Romans 12:10 NKJ). Our respect for others is an outgrowth of our kind affection.
The demonstration of our love through kind actions and the honor with which we speak of others is an extension of our discipleship. Jesus repeatedly instructed the disciples, “Love one another” (John 13:34–35; 15:12, 17). He said, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35 NKJ). Love will motivate us to good deeds and positive words of affirmation. As we honor others we will find others returning respect towards us.
The golden rule works. As we extend grace, we receive it. As we show love, we are shown it. As we respect others, we find that we are being respected. Through it all God is glorified and the kingdom of God is magnified.
“Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law” (Romans 13:7-8 NIV)