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Love and Honor

on August 5, 2014

I am being led to speak here in regard to healthy relationships. I am thinking especially of marriage relationships. I have seen and continue to see such a breakdown in relationships between people that I know and love. It seems to me that it all boils down really to honoring one another.

The first relationship we are commanded to honor is our father and mother. The Lord tells us in the fifth commandment that honoring our parents comes with the promise of long life upon the earth. It stands to reason that if we want to be successful in that and in every other relationship we have it must be that we honor one another. This is especially true in marriage. Honor and love go hand in hand and, by the way, neither involves emotion. They involve a choice. In 1 Corinthians 13, the chapter we typically call the love chapter, it states that love is not jealous, is not boastful or rude, does not demand its own way. In my understanding, honor and love always considers others first. If we say that we truly love, then we must also choose to honor.

When did we get to be such a society of demanding our own way? It seems to me that everyone is singing their favorite hit song, “It’s all about me.” Are we making some sort of doctrine out of ‘me first?’ Even in everyday language, I hear people putting ‘me’ first, i.e. “Me and my friend went to a movie.” Or, “Me and her are hanging out.” You may say that it’s just a grammatical error, and it is, but the subtlety of self-importance and entitlement is reinforced every time it is spoken.

I see that same attitude on the road as drivers push their way through traffic, cutting in and out between cars, even putting themselves and others in danger. I see it in stores as customers rudely assert themselves in the lines to the cash registers and in restaurants where diners engage in crude behavior toward the staff. I even see the employees in these establishments play this same role as they fail to provide good customer service as a part of their job. Whereas, I don’t appreciate the lack of common courtesy and the attitudes of entitlement in public, I really hate to see this taking place in the home, in families, among the people we have made a commitment to and who we profess to love. Beloved, in the family of faith this is no way to treat our Christian brothers and sisters, especially the ones that live under our own roof.

For me, the first step I took toward learning that it is imperative to honor one another as a testimony of my love was when I realized my life is not my own. My whole life is to be a sacrifice to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, because of what He has done for me in giving His life for mine at the cross. In giving my life back to Him, I know that I must love like He loves, serve like He serves and honor like He honors. Once the choice is made to totally yield to Him, it isn’t really that difficult to follow through. As I am faithful to fulfill those simple things, I find that He gives me everything I need in return. I receive love, I receive honor and no longer have to strive for them, demanding that others fill that need in my life. Truthfully, the Lord is the only One who can fill that need, that ache for fulfillment in my heart, anyway.

It is a cruel and selfish act to demand that others serve us and fulfill our every need. We make our love and our honor conditional. We think, “Perhaps I’ll give my love and my honor if you give yours first.” I determine I will withhold from you until my desires are satisfied and then I may decide to throw out a few crumbs back to you in return. That doesn’t sound like true honor, true love and there certainly isn’t any gratitude in those demands. Does it sound like that is the example of Christ to us?

Love and honor require vulnerability on our part. It means that we may be hurt along the way. When we remember that God commands us to love one another, even as He has loved us it calls for us to trust which is ultimately trusting in the Lord. When we withhold from those we say we love then we are really withholding from God. You can’t have it both ways; love and honor God but withhold that love and honor from others. If we refuse to trust God and be faithful to love others then we do not truly love Him. Without love it is impossible to please God. This is the very thing that would possibly position us to have to hear His Words, “I never knew you.”

What do we really lose when we choose to love and honor? What do we risk when we choose to trust God in releasing our love and honor to others? The true answer is nothing. We, in fact, gain everything. I pray that God will lead you and richly bless you as you make that choice.

 

 

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