Our household defines honoring someone as “going beyond what is expected, treating folks like they’re special, and doing so with a good attitude.”
It’s a biblical mandate that we honor one another. We teach it to our kids.
“Honor one another above yourself,” the apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the church at Rome.
Like all biblical mandates, some say it’s archaic and holds no sway in today’s world. Others muster justifications for choosing folks they feel “deserve” honor – or don’t.
And like all biblical mandates, it’s founded in the understanding and wisdom of God – who created humans in His image for the purpose of relationship.
Imagine what would happen — in our society, our communities, our churches, our homes – if we applied this in all our interactions.
It’s a safe bet the divorce rate would plummet if husbands and wives both consistently went beyond what is expected, treated each other like they’re special, and did so with a good attitude.
How about our communities? Instead of living warily among strangers, we’d weave a new societal fabric of friendship, respect and unity.
We wouldn’t all suddenly think alike or hold the same opinions.
We’d just intentionally treat each other well.
Our differences – ideology, background, education, ethnicity – would become secondary to our common effort to honor one another.
Sound unrealistic? Of course, it does.
Honoring one another is simple, but it’s not easy.
It takes humility and intentionality.
To have it take hold would mean we’d have to honor those we don’t want to honor. Those who’ve hurt us, those who drain us, those for whom we’ve gone the extra mile only to have them show no inclination to honor us back.
This is where the breakdown occurs. We’re not told to honor those who deserve it. We’re told to honor one another.
All of us fall short, and thus none of us merit honor.
Yet God – the Author of Life – prescribes it. Honor invested is akin to making a garden.
We put in the work, quite labor-intensive on the front end. Then, with perseverance and commitment, it requires watering and maintenance.
Some weeds will grow, some pests will attack along the way, and those obstacles will need to be addressed… but in the end the labor – faithfully tendered – bears fruit.
The blessing of the fruit for our society would be stunning.
Rev. James Hogan is a native of Stowe Township and serves as pastor of Faithbridge Community Church in McKees Rocks.