Virtue 11: Honor

  1. The fear of the LOVE teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honour.—Proverbs 15:33
  2. Humility and the fear of the LOVE bring wealth and honour and life.—Proverbs 22:4
  3. Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud, but humility comes before honour.—Proverbs 18:12
Reading the three Scripture passages above leads to one clear insight: humility and honour are interrelated. Honour in the world’s perspective typically deals with a person’s lifestyle or accomplishments as they relate to the world’s virtues. However, honour in God’s eyes is very different. From God’s perspective, true honour is preceded by deep humility.
What is an honour? Better yet, what does it mean to be honourable in God’s sight? Honour is difficult to define in a paragraph or even a lengthy story or parable. Consider these short sayings about the honour that help define this complex topic:
• An honourable leader gives away all the credit but takes all the blame.
• Honour is living your life in a way that you believe God is actually watching you.
• Honour is giving up your bed and sleeping on the floor but said nothing about it.
• Honour is taking the worst seat.
• Honour is being self-sacrificing and not boasting about it or complaining.
• Honour is overlooking a wrong or taking the losing position in an (ultimately unimportant) argument for the sake of peace within relationships.
• Honour is living for an audience of One.
• Honour is still finishing the details of a project even after you have been fired.
• Honour is taking the high road.
• Honour is giving a two-week notice at work and working to the best of your ability until the day you leave.
• Honour is doing your best on a school assignment even when your teacher does not deserve respect.
• Honour is looking the other way when wronged: “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offence” (Proverbs 19:11).
The godly honour comes to a person when they serve and live only for God. Sometimes others acknowledge this honour publically, but this is never a true knight’s goal. His first goal is to live for God and be loyal to the code of knighthood. He lives for an audience of One and thus maintains and holds honour within himself. ” Then whatever public honour comes, comes. ” Thus, a by-product of a true knight’s life is likely a good reputation (at least among those where a good reputation is valued), but that’s never his goal either. Nonetheless, having a good name is “more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold” (Proverbs 22:1).
The movie Chariots of Fire (1981) tells the true story of the British athlete, Eric Liddell, who refused to run the one-hundred-meter event in the 1924 Olympics because they were scheduled on a Sunday, which was against his spiritual convictions of working or competing on the Lord’s Day, or the Sabbath. Because he refused to run in his preferred one-hundred-meter event on Sunday, they scheduled him instead to compete in the four-hundred-meter event—a much longer sprinting distance for which he had not trained. Right before the race, an American coach handed him a slip of paper with a quotation from 1 Samuel 2:30, “Those who honour me I will honour.” Liddell ran the race holding the slip of paper in his hand and not only won the race but broke the existing world record with a time of 47.6 seconds. This is an honour.
How do we live honourably? One way is by realizing that God is really watching us:
For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him (2 Chronicles 16:9).
The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good (Proverbs 15:3).
And to those who seek to honour God privately and personally, God will often reward openly:
Take heed that you do not your alms [acts of giving] before men, to be seen of them: otherwise, you have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
Therefore when you do your alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have
the glory of men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do alms, let not your left hand know what your right-hand does: That your
alms may be in secret: and your Father which sees in secret himself shall reward you openly. And when you pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, enter into your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father which is in secret; and your Father which sees in secret shall reward you openly. (Matthew 6:1-6).
Honour that occurs in public is usually first earned in private by living quietly for an audience of One. Public honour often comes when you are not looking to be honored. I heard a story about a missionary returning to America after spending years in a distant country on a mission trip. While walking off the ship, he saw the family members of other passengers rushing forward to greet their missed loved ones. Having no surviving children, he felt disappointed, as no family members came to greet him. He questioned God, “Lord, why is there no one to meet me here? I have spent my whole life serving you?” “Then he heard God reply, “My child, it’s because you haven’t come home yet.” Ultimately, our reward and honour for serving the Lord and others should come from Him and in His time.
He who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity, and honour. —Proverbs 21:21
A man’s pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honour. —Proverbs 29:23
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. —Romans 12:10-12
It is to a man’s honour to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel. —Proverbs 20:3
God has honoured the Knight, and all the people honour him, as is recounted in this Book. And knighthood is an honourable office above all offices, orders, and estates of the world—except for the order of priesthood, which pertains to the holy sacrifice of the altar.
Here are some questions for you to consider.
1. Is honour something we are or something we receive?
2. How should we respond when others honour us?
3. Why does the Bible connect humility and honour?
4. Why is it that whenever we seek honour we typically never receive true honour?
5. Why does humility precede true honour?

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