“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” – Romans 12:10
The word “honor” may seem a little out of place in today’s current culture. Perhaps it is better suited in a Jane Austen book, or some other period drama. But when we think about phrases and words today, to honor someone is not an unfamiliar concept.
According to Merriam-Webster, to honor someone is “to regard or treat (someone) with admiration and respect…to give special recognition to.” Honoring someone is the original empowerment. It lifts others up.
We honor others when we esteem them publicly, not in a braggadocios manner – for others to look at us – but with a humble heart that recognizes the gifts of others. Just a few verses earlier, Paul discusses the beauty of a church body comprised of differing gifts and exhorts believers to use them. We honor others in the one-on-one conversations of direct encouragement. Your friend may feel she is failing today, and your honoring words may remind her that God chose her and redeemed her, and that He is producing fruit that you are recognizing.
When we honor others, we are simply saying, “I see you. I see the good work God is doing in your life and how He is using you. I believe in you as you seek His Kingdom. I respect you and I am here for you.” To honor others is to encourage and empower them.
We also honor others when we choose to lay aside offenses and forgive. Honor says, “I will not speak ill of you. I will not cut you down – publicly or privately. No matter what you’ve done to me, I honor you because you are an image-bearer of God.”
In this unusual time, the much-needed practice of honoring others is easy to forget. There are less opportunities to verbally praise or uplift our brothers and sisters in Christ. But there are still many ways in which we can both honor other believers, or tear them down. Our words hold much weight. Even on social media. Even in work emails. Even over text messages to a friend.
We all need people in our lives to honor. “Outdoing one another by showing honor” doesn’t mean you’re trying to one-up somebody. It is a symbiotic relationship in which you both find joy in spurring one another on in this difficult Christian walk. Jesus told us that following Him would not be easy. But He gave us His church to walk alongside us, encourage us, and rally around us.
You can do it, friend! Keep going. Keep pursuing Christ. And look for creative ways to honor others this week.