Honor can be a tricky topic–especially in context of those we don’t like. It is easy to honor those we like and love, and much more difficult to honor people we would prefer to never be around. Honor deals with treating people with integrity and respect, and while some measure of honor is earned, there is a level of innate honor due another, and a measure to which we honor people because of who WE are, not because of who THEY are.
What I mean by innate honor is that we all are God’s creations–his children whom He loves. Regardless of one’s belief system, if He created us and we therefore have innate value, then we ought to honor that worth that God gives each of us. In regards to honoring others because of who we are, it is that we are to be people who live honoring lives in the things we do and say. Regardless of whether people have earned a measure of honor or not, we should automatically extend it to them out of love. This doesn’t necessarily mean that we must bend over backwards and jump through hoops that someone else sets before us in the name of honor, but that we afford them the same level of respect that we might to someone we value highly, and treat them the way we would want to be treated.
In my own life I have had conflicts with other people that I kept silent about and didn’t publicize to our mutual friends out of a desire to honor, even if I was angry with the individual for their poor conduct toward me. I do not believe that how others treat us is a clear barometer for how much honor we extend toward them, but rather that how we choose to conduct ourselves as a general whole will dictate that we honor everyone to a certain extent, and cultivate behaviors in our lives that afford us doing this automatically.
When honoring those we are in conflict with, it doesn’t mean that we will agree, or even that the conflict will necessarily be resolved. One issue I have had has remained a thorn in my side in spite of my repeated attempts to resolve it through love, honor, and kindness over the course of a few years. Even now I have the choice to divulge more information while writing this article in the name of “transparency,” and while many would find it extremely relevant and could relate, this is the type of situation where I believe we are to put transparency on hold. We gain nothing in conflict by spreading gossip and slandering other people, no matter how much we feel they deserve it. Honor means that we say nothing, or that when we do speak that our words are seasoned liberally with grace.
In a recent Youtube, one charismatic minister spoke about another, and he didn’t really have good things to say about this other minister. However, I was extremely impressed with the way this man conducted himself and the way he spoke. Instead of slandering and accusing, he gave succinct reasoning for his concerns, stated quite gracefully that their paths “are not compatible”, and expressed his sorrow over the situation. While it is often preferable to say nothing, in this situation the minister had previously vocally and publicly supported their collegial relationship, and felt a need to communicate a shift in their relationship. What struck me was the love and kindness he extended toward the other party in such a difficult circumstance.
I do not often think about honor, but I believe if we live as people of love and prefer one another over ourselves that we honestly won’t have to–it will be the natural outflow of our lives. I personally hope to emulate the love and respect that I have seen, and demonstrate it in my interactions with others. Whether I agree or disagree, or regardless of how conflict turns, when I operate in honor it leaves a door for divine grace to flood the situation, and sometimes that grace is all that is needed to turn things around. When it doesn’t, I can know that I have done my best to live at peace with everyone.