Virtue 11: Honor
- The fear of the LOVE teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honour.—Proverbs 15:33
- Humility and the fear of the LOVE bring wealth and honour and life.—Proverbs 22:4
- Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud, but humility comes before honour.—Proverbs 18:12
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).
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:
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.
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?