Over the last 4 years, HONOR has been a key word that keeps popping up. One day a few years ago, I had a conversation with a dear friend where we spent a bit of time talking about the concept of HONOR and what it really means in our lives. HONOR does have a definition and holds a lot of space in the Bible, but in the end, we both agreed that HONOR is something you feel, something that is inside of you; you cannot measure it and it is not fair to try to quantify it. You cannot fake HONOR but you can learn HONOR through life experiences that will define you. It is how you deal with these life experiences that define where HONOR is a part of your character.
HONOR is something that I believe has unfortunately lost its power and relevance in our modern world. The idea of consummating a deal with a handshake or a word has diminished in contemporary society. Among soldiers (men and women) in the military, HONOR holds a special spot that is sacred because it is a bond among warriors and a personal covenant that rises above anything and everything, no matter how difficult. HONOR is not regulated by rules, policies, or laws – it is an experience that simply lives inside and drives you to limits you may not think possible. Do you have a cause or a belief that you are willing to die for? Would you die to save a family member or a dear friend? Would you be willing to die for a cause that you believe was God driven? Perhaps this is not a fair question but if there is anything that you are willing to die for, I would bet that you will find HONOR in there somewhere.
Jesus tells us in John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” I shared earlier where HONOR is sacred to soldiers. Are we not warriors/soldiers for Christ? How much love do you hold for your fellow Christians that you would HONOR them that deeply? Peter writes in 1 Peter 2:17 that we are to “Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God…” In a discussion with another brother this week, I was commenting about how mean Christians can be to each other and it breaks my heart to think of it. It is not right and we all know it, but it still happens. Then I was reminded of two scriptures where Jesus tells us that He Himself was dishonored by people whom you would not think it possible.
Matt 6:4 But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.” John 5:41 “I do not receive honor from men.”
HONOR is something you live, you experience, and you express. HONOR is a commitment to standing behind what you say and do and by simply doing the right thing with no expectation of reward or praise. I was really close to falling into the trap of looking for others to show honor, needing some level of praise or reward, but I was corrected and able to collect myself. Praise God!
- Being handed THE FLAG at a funeral. This will humble you in a split millisecond (Humility before HONOR).
- Spending weeks participating in battles while searching for a kidnap victim, finding this victim that had been traumatized for months, and then escorting this victim back to a loved one. HONOR those around you and LOVE the brotherhood.
- Or, participating as a member of a team notifying a wife and two pre-teen children that their husband/father had been killed. HONOR embodied by laying down one’s life for friends.
There are “guide books” and “Code of Conduct” materials for each of these activities and while HONOR gets a general mention, you really find that HONOR is something you feel, something you embody. When it comes to HONOR, the guide book simply does not matter. It is a part of who you are or it is not. These types of activities will quickly push you to discern how you define what HONOR is to you whether you are looking for this definition or not.
Honor is mentioned in the scriptures 274 times (NLT), 134 times (NASB), 174 times (NIV), 144 times (NKJV), and 146 times (KJV). There are several Hebrew and Greek words in the original text but to paraphrase these terms, they are generally used with reference to the honor granted fellow human beings, though in some cases they are used to describe the honor a person grants God. To honor someone, then, is to give weight or to grant a person a position of respect and even authority in one’s life. A person grants honor most frequently on the basis of position, status, or wealth, but it can and should also be granted on the basis of character.
Of all values you hold (I hope), you will find that it is HONOR that embodies all. It is a matter of carrying out, acting, and living such values as respect, duty, loyalty, selfless service, integrity and personal courage in everything you do.
- HONOR is recognition of the contribution made by others in their organization, their families, or their church.
- HONOR, in the Christian context, is also embodied in how you look to God. Do you HONOR Him above all things?
- When you are viewed as honorable, people trust the information you are providing and the actions you are taking. HONOR helps to define who you are as a person while serving as a guiding light for your growth and your character. Having honor defines you to others. If you have honor, then you are trusted.
- Without honor, you cannot count on someone to do the right thing unless you are watching them all of the time.
In a society such as ours, in which the “civic onus” is placed squarely on the law, it is common for the concept of honor to quickly lose relevance in the shadow of the almighty law. If we have the law on our side, then we have no perceivable need for honor or morals or ethics, for it is the rule of law that tells us what is right and wrong. To determine right and wrong in such a way is laziness, and nothing more. If HONOR is worth anything, then its dictates should remain unchanged across the generations. If it was honorable in the time of Jesus, then it is still honorable today. You cannot measure HONOR, you just know it and you feel it. It is sacred because the Lord has dictated that it be so. He has wired a desire to be honorable into us.
“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of HONOR and good sense.” – Sir Winston Churchill