It was great to be home birthdays, family, Father’s day and the blessings of my church community. I am looking forward to a great week with my RIM brothers and a gathering in Bellingham.
Today I am beginning a series on the subject of honor and a culture of honor. Honor as a noun is a tangible symbol given to another that signifies approval or distinction of who they are. It is recognizing of who another is and acknowledging it through the attitudes and actions of our lives in the direction of another. When we give honor to someone we give something of ourselves to approve and distinguish the value of who they are. The value of each and every human being is that of being a one and only. God gave His only begotten Son as the price of redemption for each and every person in the history of humanity. This is deserving of honor. Our honor for each person is an honor for the only begotten Son of God. It is an honor for the value that God has placed upon each and every person that has ever lived or will ever live upon the earth.
The community of God is a community of honor toward one another and it must therefore be community of God that nurtures and exhibits a culture of honor. A culture of honor is a culture of truth, love, nobility, and a recognition of others for who they are. In a culture of truth we recognize who someone really is, but we don’t pretend they are something they are not. It is not honorable to recognize someone for who they are not. True honor is not something given to what someone thinks they are, it is something given to who they really are. This includes an honor for us. When we don’t know who we are we don’t treat ourselves honorably. When we don’t know who another is we don’t treat them honorably. It is dishonorable to put an identity upon someone that God did not give them. For this reason, true honor begins with knowing who God is. If we don’t know who God is, we will not know who He says we are. We will end up giving ourselves false identities and then expect others to honor us in our lives. This is not the testimony of honor. Honor only works in truth.
Honor is also found in love. For this reason a culture of honor always chooses life. A culture of honor deals with things that are wrong, but the focus is never on what is right or wrong. The focus of honor is always life! We must look at situations and always choose what will bring life. A culture of honor must find its foundation in the Tree of Life, not the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The family tree of the community of God is the Tree of Life. For this reason, our honor towards one another must be based upon a revelation of love. A culture of honor must be rooted in a revelation – a revelation of who another is and a revelation of love.
Familiarity is an enemy of honor because honor involves faith towards another. Sometimes natural experiences blind us to the truth of who someone is. When this happens it is a test of love for them. The opposite of faith is natural sight. When we base our honor towards another upon how they treat us, or how we perceive them to treat us, we fall short in having an attitude towards them that is one of love. Faith only works through love and faith is demonstrated in our actions towards them. How we act toward others in a culture of honor is based upon a revelation of love and a testimony of faith. Without a revelation of love our actions will often be motivated by fear and fear is not an atmosphere the can be inhabited by honor.
Many believe that honor is absent of judgment, but this is not true. A justice system of good and evil requires a judgment, but true honor is found in the justice system of love. In honor there is judgment, but the ultimate judgment of honor is one of mercy towards another. Mercy ends the judgment of condemnation towards another and invites them to live in a relationship of grace. Mercy is the beginning of every new day in a culture of honor, but grace is the furtherance of new days. Mercy ends the past and opens the door to the future, but grace requires an ongoing willing relationship. We cannot give someone grace unless they invite us into their lives. There is a different honor for those in relationship than for those who choose to not be in relationship. When someone treats us dishonorably we still choose to embrace a culture of honor towards him or her. That honor however, can only be one of mercy by not condemning them for their actions. This is not releasing them from the consequences of their own actions. It is simply preventing us from entering into negative consequences for our own actions. Each person is responsible for his or her attitude and actions towards another. When someone’s actions are less than honorable the consequences are less than life giving. If someone chooses to disconnect in their relationship with us it is honorable to respect their decision and honor them by showing them mercy for any miss giving or misunderstandings they may have projected in our direction. To expect them to remain is relationship with us is less than honorable to their decision. Love says we must show them mercy, but love also says we must allow them to experience any consequences they may have placed upon themselves for their own decision in the matter.
Ted J. Hanson