What Is Honor Really?

Hi friend. Can we talk for a second? To be honest, reading Ecclesiastes 10 was extremely hard for me because it seems so out of place. It seems out of sync. It seems kind of pieced together.

It's not. It just takes some chewing. And I was inspired by this chapter to talk about Honor. 

Honor (v) - 1. regard with great respect.

I know there are many misconceptions about this honoring word floating around.  It’s very easy to be critical of the things we don’t fully understand. People we don't understand. Decisions that are made. Things that are said. 

Misconceptions always appear to be delusional; we’re always inclined to view them through our own filter rather than coming to the table to talk them out. Instead we may go to each other and gossip and complain. This is a form of dishonor. However, I believe, when we learn to value honor, our lives can begin to align with a structure God has set in place through His word. 

It’s obvious that there are leaders and gurus -- books and blogs out there that teach a “one-way” approach to honor.  The motive behind this is seemingly selfish and self–serving.  They want to be honored by "their" people instead of serving their people first and allowing God to bring the people to honor them. 

I recently read a popular blog from a very prominent life consultant. He wanted to “expose” how the culture of honor was hurting churches and corporations.  And although I understood his point on the abuse of leaders desiring to be served instead of first serving their people, I think his argument was incomplete.  He said, “Honor is supposed to go both ways.” Although this seems to make sense, it’s not fully accurate.  Honor is not a two-way street, it’s a five-way avenue. Yep I said that. You can tweet it (just be sure to tag me, I need the likes hahahaha).

The culture of honor doesn’t only apply to pastors or leaders serving people and people honoring pastors; it’s way more complex than that.  I’ve narrowed honor to flow in five ways:

Honor God (This is prerequisite)
Honor His Word
Honor His Church
Honor His Leaders
Honor Each Other

If any one of the five is missing, then there’s great disorder and misunderstanding. These five avenues of honor aren’t interdependent of each other, in fact, they actually work mutually and are contingent on one another. It’s the misunderstanding of what honor is that will cause people to think pessimistically about building a culture of honor in churches, in business, in families, in our communities. And it’s this very deception that causes us to build a culture of DISHONOR. It’s all five working collectively and simultaneously or none at all.

This little nugget that Solomon places at the end of the chapter 10 is a subtle but grave warning: 

20 Never make light of the king, even in your thoughts. And don’t make fun of the powerful, even in your own bedroom. For a little bird might deliver your message and tell them what you said.
— Ecclesiastes 10:20

We've spoken in previous blogs about the power of the tongue and in this verse not only are we reminded of it but there is a powerful command hidden deep in the above verse; honor your leaders, honor each other. Have integrity. For sin has a way of permeating everything around it. Dishonor brings disunity. And disunity is the fracture in community. I love how the Message puts it:

20 Don’t bad-mouth your leaders, not even under your breath, And don’t abuse your betters, even in the privacy of your home. Loose talk has a way of getting picked up and spread around. Little birds drop the crumbs of your gossip far and wide.
— Ecclesiastes 10:20 (The MSG)

Jesus, may you quicken our hearts toward honor. May we recognize that fighting to honor is fighting for unity. And fighting for unity is a demonstration of your grace and your love. In jesus name. Amen!

Meiko Seymour