Saturday, August 13, 2016

Honor the Dishonorable

          As Christians we all know we must love others as Christ has loved us. We must love them even though they are or might be unlovable. I am going to be completely honest and open with you, there are some people that I just don’t like and I honestly and can sincerely say, I do not love. There are a few people that I pray to God He would just remove out of my life. To me, they are beyond lovable. They are beyond hope of redemption. They are not honorable. Yet, here they are before me day after day, and I am faced with the harsh truth that these people are in my life and there is nothing I can do about it.
            I am fully aware that these feelings and attitudes I have towards these people in my life is wrong, and I pray daily for forgiveness and for God to divinely work in my heart to change me. I know however, that without divine intervention, love is never going to happen! Yet over and over again I find myself wrestling with God to get them out of my life, instead of changing my life. If He would just remove them, in the end, it would be so much easier, and I would be a better Christian out of it! If only!
           
           About a week or so ago I was talking to a fellow Christian about my struggles with a particular person in my life. During our conversation she asked me if I honored this person. My first response to her was “Honor? Seriously?” Did she not just hear all that I was saying about this person? They treat me so harshly, and with little to no respect why in the world would I ever choose to honor them? If she had been listening to me she would have never asked me such a question. But, as I left that conversation, the word “honor” followed me everywhere. It was in my heart, banging into my bad attitude and bringing me to a place where I could finally hear what the Lord was trying to speak to me all this time.
            First of all, to honor someone means to give preference to them. You show them respect, not only in word but in your attitude towards them. A Christian who practices honor will not be rude or unkind towards others- whether in front of them, or behind their backs. They will be genuine in their love towards others, it will be seen and heard in all that they do.
            “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” Romans 12:10 ESV
            Honor is an attitude we have towards God, life and the people He places in our lives. Honor understands its humble position in Christ and does not seek to be seen, heard, or known. Honor does not have to be first.
            “But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who set at table with you.” Luke 14:10
            Honor is also a character trait of Christ that we as Christians are called to put on and wear. Honor is a state of mind, it is the same mind that Christ had toward us when He left heaven to come to earth and die for our sins.
            “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who through He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a think to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross.” Philippians 2:3-8
            Honor does not think more highly of itself than it should. Paul tells us that we should do nothing from rivalry or conceit. This speaks to our motives. Our motives should be honorable. An honorable Christians remains honorable in-spite of how dishonorable everyone else is. Remember the story Jesus told of the sinner and the Pharisee in Luke 18:11-14? Who was considered more honorable? The sinner. Why? Because he compared himself to Christ, while the Pharisee compared himself to everyone else around him.
            Honor reminds us how desperately we need Jesus. Honor looks at how wretched we are and instead of getting our “who is more spiritual” scales out, honor humbles itself and exalts the other. Honor not only recognizes our need for Jesus, but it recognizes theirs as well. If Jesus would have compared His spirituality with ours before coming to earth, He would have never left His throne. He did not look at us and see how undeserving we were of His love and kindness. He did not determine our unworthiness, but instead saw our desperate a state of sinfulness and became our Servant!
            He showed us honor even though we were dishonorable. He showed us love even though we were unlovable. He showed us kindness even though we were mean, spiteful, and hateful towards Him. His attitude, His love, and His honor toward us never changed, no matter how unloving we behaved. These people in my life who treat me with disrespect and unkindness may not deserve my honor, but then again, I didn’t deserve His either.      
      
            Honor is not just how we behave towards one another. It is seen in the way we speak about others as well. I caught myself just this morning saying something about this person in my life to someone else. It was mean and it was unkind. No matter what their behavior is towards me, mine should always be one of honor towards them. Not just in their presence, but apart from it as well. My words of unkindness, my desire to point out their flaws to others is a testimony to my dishonorable heart. In all my relationships and in all my interactions with this world, my words, my deeds, and the state of my heart should be one of honor. God calls us to live in honor and with honor. Paul encourages us to “outdo one another” in showing honor. There is no such thing as someone with too much honor.

            We are going to face the unlovable, the hard to get along with, the mean and the  undeserving of this world on a daily basis. Some of us may actually have to live with some of these people, or work with these people on a daily basis. But we, as Christians, are called to a higher standard. We are called to not only show love, but to be love. We are called to have the same mind that was in Christ Jesus our Lord, who saw our state of desperation and chose to honor us above Himself, who took on sinful flesh and became a servant, a servant to the point of death. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Jesus Christ, a mind of honor, even when we are less than honorable. Amen.