Have you ever thought about what the word honor really means?
The dictionary cites several different definitions of the word. For my purposes here, I will focus on just a few. The word can be used both as a noun and a verb.
Noun: 1) high respect; great esteem. 2) adherence to what is right or to a conventional standard of conduct.
Verb: regard with great respect.
Now I will take a look at what the Scriptures have to say about honor:
“He who pursues righteousness and loyalty Finds life, righteousness and honor.” Proverbs 21:21 (NASB)
“Honor your father and mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you.” Exodus 20:12 (NASB)
In the first Scripture verse, the word honor is used as a noun. In the second, it is used as a verb. One means to have honor. And the other means to give honor.
First, I would like to dig deeper into the concept of having honor based upon a Biblical perspective.
Having honor may mean different things to different people. To some, it may simply mean “doing the right thing”. In those cases, how does one know whether they are doing the right thing? There must be some standard against which to judge one’s actions.
That standard, dear readers, is given to us through God’s Word in the Scriptures. The Proverb I listed above is a prime example of that standard. Simply put, it means to pursue righteousness
Before we go any further, it may help if I give you a definition of the word righteousness. The dictionary defines it as: the quality of being morally right or justifiable.
How does one know what is morally right? The answer to that question my friends can also be found in the Scriptures. God gave us a set of moral standards to live by. The ones that most people are familiar with are the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20).
But there are two commandments that are even greater than these. The greatest is to love the Lord with all your heart, your soul, and your might (Deuteronomy 6:5). And the second is to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:39).
Now all of these things sound like they would be difficult to do all the time, do they not? That is because they are difficult. Pursuing righteousness is difficult. We are a fallen and sinful people. Our default behavior does not fit with pursuing righteousness. But there is hope for each of us. That hope lies in Jesus Christ.
Before we can properly pursue righteousness, we must first pursue Jesus Christ. He has the power, strength and righteousness that we do not have. It is through faith in Him that we can gain the strength and the ability to pursue righteousness. As the Apostle Paul said in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me”.
By this point, you are probably thinking that I had forgotten to address the word honor as a verb. I spent so much time on the word as a noun because I think it is of greater importance.
Do you remember that honor as a verb means “to regard with great respect”? God commanded us to treat our father and mother with great respect (Exodus 20:12).
We should also treat others and talk to others with great respect. This is very similar to the “Golden Rule” that we all know. Matthew 7:12 says “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
I think I can sum this all up in five simple words. Be honorable, and give honor. God bless! And thank you for reading!
The Steadfast Watchman