Most of us have probably been taught at a young age to show respect to our parents. The late Aretha Franklin is well-remembered for a popular tuneasking for some R-E-S-P-E-C-T. I would suggest that more than giving respect, what we need more of in our culture today is HONOUR.
Some of you may recognize that one of the Ten Commandments given by God to Moses instructs us not just to respect but to actually honour our parents:
“Honour your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12 [NKJV]
Here is an important aspect that differentiates respect and honour – respect is earned, whereas honour is given. That means we have to honour our parents without them having to earn it.
Furthermore, the Word of God instructs us to honour more than just our parents:
“Treat everyone you meet with dignity (honour). Love your spiritual family. Revere God. Respect the government.” 1 Peter 2:19 (MSG)
That’s right! God wants us to demonstrate honour to everyone– especially to those in authority in our family, in our church, in our work place, and in our government. This does not mean that we always have to obey or agree with those in authority, but we do have to strive to not act in ways that are dishonouring towards them.
One of the cultural observations I have been seeing, especially on social media, is the rampant demonstration of dishonour towards other people. Not only is dishonouring behaviour tolerated, it is often celebrated. The conduct of Christ-followers should always be honouring towards others.
Here are three practical elements of what honouring others looks like:
1. Prioritize them.
My parents did not come to church initially, but I kept them a priority in my life. Make time for the people you honor and show them that they matter.
2. Praise them.
We should purpose to speak well of those we honour at all times, not only in front of them but also when they’re not around or aware of our actions.
3. Protect them.
God calls us to pray for those we honour spiritually and to esteem the name of Jesus over them as much as we can.
We learned from Pastor Rick Ciaramitaro’s message on the weekend that honouring our parents is the first Commandment with a promise – when we honour our parents, we experience God’s blessings over our lives!
I experienced some of that blessing recently when my first child (Caitlyn) decided to get water baptized, and when my parents learned about it, they felt like it was time for them to do the same. While it took over 20 years of personal prayers for my family, I believe it was personal honour that led my parents to eventually publicize their faith in Jesus.
May God help each of us to lead more people towards Jesus as we purpose to increase our capacity to show honour towards others.