“I don’t enjoy going to lunch with my work associates as much as I used to,”” my young friend confided over coffee one day. “The conversation always seems to turn into husband-bashing.” She admitted that while her own marriage wasn’t perfect, she tried to respect her husband’s reputation in the eyes of others. “I’m a very transparent person,” she smiled. “So I try to be real. But I don’t want to dishonor my husband. And I want my friends to know I love being married to him.”
As we talked further, she came to the conclusion that it was okay for her be honest with her friends about some of her marriage struggles. She decided she could share a few of the ways she and her husband are working through their issues. But she resolved to do this in a manner that would honor both Christ and her husband. I loved her heart. And knowing my friend, she’ll be a winsome witness to her friends about what it means to have a Christian marriage.
That conversation was just one of many I’ve had with women of all ages and stages over the last few months while working on my soon-to-be-released new book: Eight Great Ways to Honor Your Husband. My husband David has written the companion volume for you guys: Eight Great Ways to Honor Your Wife. I think you’ll discover that honor is something that’s vital for all of us–married or single, young or old.
Honor not a subject you hear much about these days. If anything, we’ve become much more accustomed to disrespect and dishonor. The urban slang for disrespect, or “dis,” has made its way into everyday language. Most any child can tell you what it means to “dis” someone. Or worse, to be “dissed.”
Honor. Simply put, the word means to treat someone with respect or admiration. It has to do with qualities like honesty, integrity and dignity. The biblical version of honor is much weightier. Even lofty. It conveys the precious nature and worth of the person being honored and is related to words like glory, worship or prize.
I’ve come to believe that deep down inside, most people yearn to be treated with respect. We benefit from both receiving honor and from giving it to others.
God set the bar so low that even a child can show honor. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—“so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth” (Ephesians 6:2,3). Some refer to this commandment as “the training wheels of honor” ((Exodus 20:12).
A beautiful thing can happen when children learn to show honor to their earthly parents–they begin to understand the importance of honoring their heavenly Father.
We’re a culture that’s desperately thirsty for honor. Perhaps it’s time to recapture this age-old virtue. We can take the first step by honoring God. But let’s do so with a sense of reverence and expectancy. For God Himself makes this bold promise: “Those who honor me, I will honor…” (1 Samuel 2:30).