If you have not read the book Culture of Honor by Danny Silk, I’d like to recommend it.
I’ve been contemplating the revolutionary community that is born in a culture where biblical honor is elevated. But, more than that it has driven me to deeply consider how I define honor and, for that matter, respect. How do I practice the kind of honor that Jesus modeled and how do I define the terms in my own relationships?
First of all, the thing it stirred up in me was how I treat others — how is it that I have shown honor or even lacked honor toward others in my life. I was raised in an old fashioned standard of home where parental and institutional leadership positionally commanded authority. My father often said that we could either willingly submit to the authority before us in genuine humility and respect. If we chose not to do so, we were taught the value of enforced humility and respect. Honor had little to do with the issues of humility and respect for this rebellious, prodigal child.
As I have been chewing on the rich truths I’ve been discovering I’ve found myself asking this question: How did Jesus, Himself, express the kind of honor that is a standard of Bethel Church in Redding, CA and the topic of Danny Silk’s book.
1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV)
The first thing I found was that Jesus, for the joy set before Him, endured the cross and scorned its shame – especially enduring the opposition of sinful men. How often do I endure suffering and the inconvenience of the scorn of “sinners” without growing weary and losing heart? If I am honest, I don’t. I take offense. I object and unlike Christ I do not count all the “suffering” I endure JOY.
STOP RIGHT THERE. Lord, I repent for failing to recognize that the first place honor happens is not in a position of authority and whether or not I respect them. Thank you, that Jesus paid the price by honoring us to the point of death, shame, scorn and suffering. He compensated for our weaknesses by giving His own life sacrificially so we would not have to endure the consequences of sin. INDEED, so I would not have to endure the consequences.
Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs. (Proverbs 10:12 NIV)
He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends. (Proverbs 17:9 NIV)
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8 NIV)
Honor begins in the heart because that is where we most deeply connect with God. Not our flesh, beating organ heart. But, instead our spiritual heart — the place where we sort out our circumstances and hear the Lord. It really is the deepest place of our being. When that place is filled fully with the Holy Spirit of God, with the depth and breadth of His love for us and the fruit of His Spirit… Our field, our heart, becomes a place where not only love, but also honor prospers and grows. How do we then cultivate honor?
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3 NIV)
There is that word again — the word my father used — HUMILITY. Humility lacks selfish ambition and vain conceit. Humility considers others better than ourselves. As Jesus said to the disciples, those who have humility follow Christ sacrificing everything in order to so — considering others better than themselves. He who is last shall be first. The weaker parts get greater consideration and honor than the stronger parts.
Consider the balance that honor creates. Honor says — just as Jesus did — Whatever you lack, I will provide because I love you. I value you. Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16, my memory)
Think of it. Love and Honor are expressed as my sacrifice and provide for the needs of others out of the wealth of my own resources and the depth of my own relationship with God.
When Jesus came to Jacob’s Well at Sychar we see an example of how He, Himself, modeled the very honor that He requires of us.
4Now he had to go through Samaria. 5So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.
7When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8(His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
9The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)
10Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
11“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?”
13Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
15The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
16He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
17“I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
19“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
21Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
25The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
26Then Jesus declared, “I who speak to you am he.”
Jesus came and challenged the standards of the day. He dined with Sinners and Tax Collectors and scorned the Pharisees. He sat and drank from Jacob’s well with a divorced and promiscuous woman. He healed on the Sabbath. Jesus came because of God’s great concern for people and He expressed it openly without bias and without prejudice.
When He spoke to the woman at the well, He brought light to her sin without the condemnation and shame that would publicly accompany such an acknowledgment. He gently brought her to the point that she saw what needed to be changed, and His rebuke was simple, gentle and most importantly an invitation to something better. But, the most important part was that Jesus allowed her to choose what was better.
There is a saying in church circles: The church is the only place that shoots its wounded.
Oh, Lord Jesus. Please redeem us from the piety of judgmental attitudes and condemning responses. Teach us to honor others as weaker vessels and consider the value of the person from Your perspective.
For most of my life, I have divided respect on the lines of positional authority and whether or not I agree with them. I displayed honor to those who benefited and valued me, not those whom the Lord would like to benefit and value through me.
In his book, Culture of Honor, Danny Silk writes:
“The Principle of Honor states that: accurately acknowledging who people are will position us to give them what they deserve and to receive the gift of who they are in our lives.” (p. 25)
“In a culture of honor, leaders lead with honor by courageously treating people according to the names God gives them and not according the aliases given to them by people. They treat them as free sons and daughters, not as slaves; as righteous, not sinners; as wealthy, not poor. … And in the safety and freedom that grows as His presence grows, leaders lead by developing ways to help people get along with one another in a free culture.” (p. 26-27)
In Exodus 20:12, we find the first promise of honor – Life. In the introduction to Culture of Honor this point is driven home. “Life flows through honor.”
If Jesus came that I may have life and have it to the full, and life flows through honor … Then the only choice I have is to embrace honor and love others from His perspective.
Can I give dignity, honor and respect to others without compromising my standards? And, if it is not positional – is it possible to offer these to those whom I have no relational investment?
What do you think?