We live in a culture largely void of honor. In short, honor is dead, both in our culture and in our churches. We use our freedom of speech to dishonor public officials, people in positions of authority, and anyone else we choose without giving it a second thought.
While this should not surprise us culturally, the commonplace nature of dishonor amongst Christians is, frankly, shocking.
A Gospel Issue
After one of the richest explanations of what the gospel is in the first eleven chapters of Romans, Paul goes on to describe what the gospel does. In Romans 12:10 Paul writes, "Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor."
If honor is one of the products produced by faith in the person and work of Jesus, why is dishonor still so common amongst us? Why do spouses dishonor spouses? Why do children dishonor parents? Why do parishioners dishonor pastors? Why do pastors dishonor one another?
No New Issue
The absence of honor is no new issue. The sin of dishonor goes all the way back to the garden. Our first parents, Adam and Eve, chose to dishonor God by disobeying the simple protective directive He'd given them. When confronted about his sin, it took Adam no time at all to dishonor his wife and blame her for his own sin. All you have to do is pick a page in the Old Testament and you will find some example of God's people dishonoring Him, or one another.
Fast forward to the New Testament and we read of the ultimate dishonoring in Christ’s crucifixion on our behalf. Jesus willingly endured dishonor, so that we might have the honor of being called His sons and daughters. Jesus was dishonored, so that we might grow in our demonstration of honor to those around us.
Time To Get Serious
It is time as Christians we take this topic seriously. Dishonor does not just impact our relationships with one another, but with God. If you have put your faith in Christ’s work on your behalf, honor should be one type of spiritual fruit growing in your life. The more the Spirit of God applies the power of the gospel to our hearts, Christ's grace will grant us the ability to “outdo one another in showing honor.”
So, where are you guilty of dishonor? Where do you need to repent both before God and to those you have dishonored? Where do you need to walk in step with the gospel you profess and show honor to someone today?