Honor isn’t an idea I created. It is a key concept in Scripture. When asked what the Bible says about honor, most people think of the fifth commandment: “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you” (Exod. 20:12). Yet Scripture actually tells us to “honor everyone” (1 Pet. 2:17, ESV). Yes, everyone. Not just our parents or those in positions of authority or the people who can help us get ahead in life—we are called to honor everyone.
Why? Because God created each one of us, and everything He made is “very good” (Gen. 1:31). When we honor those around us, we are acknowledging that “every person has a soul and that a soul is a priceless gift of God.” Let me put it this way. When you show honor to anyone—your mother, a delivery person, the homeless guy you usually walk past in the morning—you are actively recognizing and respecting God’s creation. Your actions are saying to Him, “God, You are amazing! I love You and everything You have created. Thank You for putting this person in my life!” By honoring the person, you are showing God you recognize the value of the individual He made. That is what honor does. It recognizes a person’s worth.
The original Greek word for honor—timé—actually means worth or value. In the cultural context of the Old and New Testaments, honor was an evaluation of an individual’s actions, which determined the person’s value to the community. Honor (the person’s worth) was decided by the community and projected onto the person. If you had no honor, such as the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4, then you were discarded by society.
Today honor is often seen as something that starts in the individual and is then seen by others. Jesus challenged that practice in His Sermon on the Mount, saying: “Be sure that you not do your charitable deeds before men to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 6:1, MEV). The religious leaders of that day were known for putting their righteous deeds on display so they would be regarded well by others. But Jesus confronted that idea. I believe in this verse He was not only saying that our righteousness is not determined by what others see but also that our worth—and whether we are worthy of honor—is not based on how others perceive us.
God sees the value in every person He made, and He wants us to do the same. This is why we must ask the Holy Spirit to show us the worth of those around us and give us the humility to honor and serve them as Jesus did.
Rich Wilkerson appears this Thursday on LIFE TODAY. This is an excerpt from I Choose Honor by Rich Wilkerson, Sr. Copyright ©2019 by Rich Wilkerson, Sr. Published by Charisma House. Used by permission.