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Honor Others | Honor

#storychanging

Honor Others | Honor

MondayLove each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Romans 12:10

“I can’t wait for Lucy’s reception tonight!” Brock said. “She’s worked so hard to get where she is. I’m already planning my toast to honor her.” Kel lifted a brow. “But weren’t you up for that job too?” he asked. Brock shrugged. “Yeah, I really wanted it, but I guess it wasn’t God’s plan for me. So I’m glad Lucy got it. She deserves it. I’ll apply for the next one. I want to support her now as my boss and help her keep moving up the ladder. I know the extra money will help her family. I’m so happy for her!”

Is that how you’d respond if Lucy had just taken the job you wanted? Ugh. Probably not. Our first response is automatic. We can’t help the surge of disappointment, the questions, or the flicker of envy. But what we do next is completely within our control. Notice that the terms “love” and “take delight” are commands. A command is necessary when an action won’t be our natural choice. We won’t necessarily love people with genuine affection or take delight in honoring them unless we know God has commanded it. Now that we know it, we can begin to check our attitudes, identify our motivations, and surrender our selfishness. We know we’re on the right road when we truly delight in honoring someone who has gotten what we wanted.

Final Thought: Attitude check: When was the last time you delighted in honoring someone who got what you wanted?

Prayer: Father, this one hurts. You know the disappointments of the past. Some, I still don’t understand. But jealousy and ill-will don’t take me in the direction you’re going. So I surrender my selfishness. Bless those who were honored over me. Amen.  

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Tuesday  Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king. 1 Peter 2:17

Before we roll our eyes at that “honor the king” part, picturing the Oval Office, we need to put this verse in its context. It was written by Simon Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples. The “king” he was commanding his readers to honor wasn’t a dementia patient with socialist tendencies. He wasn’t an egomaniac with womanizing tendencies. He was a bona fide dictator with sadistic tendencies. The king Peter mentions was most likely Domitian or Nero, two of the cruelest, most wicked psychopaths to ever rule the Roman Empire. Christians weren’t just worried that gas prices would go up; they were afraid they’d go up in flames.

How is it possible to honor a king like that? Hate him, yes. Hide from him, whisper about him, and fear him, yes. But honor? It’s important to look at the phrase just before that. Peter wrote, “…fear God, honor the king.” He was reminding his readers of Jesus’ words: “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt. 20:28). That kind of fear and reverence should be reserved for God. We don’t have to fear evil rulers when we recognize that their power is limited. They can only do what God allows them to do. So we fear Almighty God and honor rulers because of the offices they hold. We pay taxes, obey the law, live peaceably, and recognize the value of their position. As hard as it is to fathom sometimes, God put them there (Daniel 2:22). To honor our rulers is to honor the God who established them.

Final Thought: We must honor the rulers God has appointed for His purposes. In doing so, we honor Him.

Prayer: Father, this is hard because many of our authorities are terrible people. But we can look at Peter who says he honored the emperor who murdered him. Honor isn’t only for the good ones, so help me follow his example. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Wednesday Don’t…try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Philippians 2:3

Which sounds better:

“Listen to what Shara did!” Maria exclaimed. “She worked tirelessly behind the scenes to get all this ready in time.”

OR: “Listen to what I did!” Shara exclaimed. “I worked tirelessly behind the scenes so I could get all this ready in time.”

When Shara brags, we want to say, “Get over yourself.” But when Maria does it, we applaud. There is something off-putting about people who brag on themselves, but we respect people who brag on others. Which do you enjoy more: honoring others or honoring yourself? Honoring ourselves comes naturally; honoring others may take some practice.

Learning to genuinely honor other people starts with humility. Humble people are grateful people. They live in continual awareness that they are not responsible for their own success. They may have worked hard and done their best, but no one is a success on his or her own. God gave them life, health, resources, and opportunities. And other people were part of that: supportive family, caring friends, selfless strangers. Instead of discounting their contributions, we stay humble by intentionally honoring them. It takes humility to think of others as better than ourselves. Humility delights in seeing someone else honored—instead of us. Humility is not low self-worth. It’s not thinking less of ourselves, but thinking of ourselves LESS.

Final Thought:  Are you more likely to try to impress with your own amazingness or to honor the achievements of others?

Prayer: Father, where am I on the Brag Scale? Am I more concerned with impressing people than honoring them? I want to see myself the way you see me—no better, no worse. Help me be intentional about humbling myself. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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ThursdayElders who lead well are worthy of double honor, especially those…preaching and teaching.  1 Timothy 5:17

“I heard the pastor went into debt for his new car,” whispered Lola. Mila nodded. “Well, I told the whole staff what I thought of their retreat. They shouldn’t spend the church’s money for things like that.” Both women shook their heads in disgust. Larry overheard and jumped into the conversation. “I had to call a whole week in advance just to get in to see the pastor,” he said. “I mean, c’mon! What else does he have to do except preach on Sundays and visit a few sick people? He’s overpaid as it is!”

If you grimaced at that gossip session, good for you! Fault-finders are three for a dollar at every church. Some people believe their spiritual gift is to point out every tiny thing their pastors and leaders do that they don’t like. Some treat criticism like a refined skill that only they possess. (“I try to catch Pastor Rick after every service to point out what he SHOULD have said.”) Sometimes we hear a factoid of information about an elder or teacher, and instead of going to that person to verify its accuracy, we start making decisions based on it. (My friend’s uncle’s cousin heard from another non-member that Pastor Jones only works 20 hours a week! I’m never going to THAT church.) Honoring pastors and leaders who teach us God’s word can also include constructive suggestions when appropriate. But what they need most from us is prayer. Encouragement. Loyalty when we hear a rumor. Face-to-face confrontations instead of behind-their-back gossip. They deserve double honor.

Final Thought: How honoring are you toward church leaders who have given of their time to help you grow?

Prayer: Father, examine my attitudes and behavior toward my church leadership. Have I been honoring? Do I speak WITH them instead of ABOUT them? Do I squelch rumors when I hear them? Honoring them honors you, so help me change. Amen.

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Friday Honor your father and mother. This is the first commandment with a promise.  Ephesians 6:2

Many people roll their eyes and skip this verse: “You don’t know my parents!” They’re sure they have permission to say, “Not me.” But are there exceptions to God’s commands? Does this verse mean we should honor our parents only if they were honorable? Nope. “But my dad molested me. My mom was drunk. My parents were too busy partying to care about their kids. And I’m supposed to honor them?” If those words could be yours, read on. It’s not as bad as you think.

Honor means to esteem, to show proper regard for someone’s value. When God created families, He designated a man and a woman as joint-authorities over the children. Their office was one of great honor. It was so esteemed in Jewish law that parents had instructions to stone a rebellious son! If a kid wouldn’t honor his parents, they had the legal authority to execute him! Wow. Might make a few truant, pot-smoking teenagers think twice before smarting off. But that law reflected the honor God bestowed on parenthood. That did not mean all parents were June and Ward Cleaver. The honor was not for the personality, but for the position itself. Sometimes that means healthy boundaries. Honor purifies our hearts; dishonor corrupts them. So we are to honor those who gave us life—whether functional or dysfunctional—even if we must do so from afar.

Final Thought: We are to honor those who gave us life and require that same honor from our own children.

Prayer: Lord, I honor you as my heavenly Father. But you say to honor my earthly father and mother as well, even if their choices hurt me. Honor doesn’t mean relationship, if that is unsafe. It means my heart is right with you. In Jesus’ name, amen.