What Happened To Honour?
By Dave Burwell
What is Honour?
As we transition into the new millennium, one of the observations is the apparent lack of honour or even the understanding of the word in this nation. This is especially true in Christian circles.
I have noticed two things that may be a clue to the problem. In typing on MS Word, the automatic spell check is indicating that honour is spelled incorrectly. It should be honor instead of honour? Looking up the word in the American Heritage Dictionary (circa 1982) the word honour was located as a variant of honor. Then looking up the word in the Webster’s New World College Dictionary (circa 1999) the word honour showed no definition?
I took the New King James version of the Bible and compared it to the King James version used in the 1950’s and early 1960’s as I was growing up and learning about the basics of character as defined in the Word of God. The new version used honor and the old version used honour.
Readers may think this is a stretch, but the meaning once taught about honour seems much different than the definition of honor used today. The Greek word used for honour is time (pr. tee-may’) which in it’s simplest form means to esteem, to respect, have great regard for, and value highly. In both dictionaries used (see above); there are two primary definitions:
High regard or great respect given!
High regard or great respect received!
When reflecting on these two meanings, I can only wonder if the “u” that has been removed from honour to get to honor signifies a proverb of the problem. If a person or group stops focusing on others (U instead of I) then they fall into the trap that Jesus refused in John 5:41 I receive not honour from men.
When Did Honour Leave?
The Lord has been speaking for many years now regarding the apparent lack of honour rampant on the earth today. You can see it in politics, the marketplace, the home, the family, and especially in the body of Christ. We must go back to the basics and realize that lack of the right kind of honour is a character issue.
This writer believes that the decline in character, being a priority for everyone’s lifestyle, began for the generations alive on the earth today around the end of World War 2. Where most young people, prior to that time, tended to stay near their roots, family, region, and to continue the lifestyle legacy their parents and grand parents had established, WW 2 changed all that.
Young people were drafted into opportunities all over the nation and world. They saw other parts of the nation, like southern California, and the world, like France and Australia. They met other young people from all over the world, and worked and fought side by side with them. Young women assumed many of the employment opportunities that the men once had. They raised their babies without the presence of their husbands. My father was in the submarine service, when I was born. I was nearly 2 years old when my father was able to come home on a permanent basis. As a result, my early years were formed by my Mother and Grand Mothers.
The men came home mentally, emotionally, spiritually,and physically wounded. Even in a “righteous” war, the horror of the events that the men and women on both sides had to endure was no less than in any other war in history. Because of the income earned during the war, the GI bill of rights, etc., these men and women were able to purchase homes in new, exciting areas. Many more were now able to go to college thus becoming the first generation to make higher education a requirement of lifestyle. They no longer lived near their elder generations. They no longer continued on the heritage begun by their elder generations. They no longer spoke the same language, spent time together, went to the same church, worshipped the same God, or maintained the same principles of life. Is it any wonder that their children rebelled in the 1960’s?
Where Did Honour Go?
My wife, Diane and I were born in 1944, two years prior to what is now called the “Baby Boomers”. For that we’re very thankful. If our parents had waited, we would have been part of that rebellious group that in 1965 (one year after our marriage) started the “anti-establishment” movement.
This movement has affected all generations alive in the world today. I blame that movement for most of the disfunctionality we see in the world, nation, family, and body of Christ. As with any revolution, there was much good achieved that was vital for the nation and the body of Christ. Unfortunately this revolution turned into rebellion that is still suffering from this today.
This rebellion not only evidenced a lack of honour and respect toward all aspects of previous generations, but it took on militant, “anti-“ attitude and action toward the best of previous generations. The result was no consistent benchmark to identify right from wrong. “Do your own thing!” “If it feels good do it!” “Make love, not war!” became the anthems.
Honour In The Church?
Within the body of Christ, this rebellion took the form of rejecting anything that represented the established church. The revelation was a new freedom and awareness that God is a NOW God that the tradition based established church needed. This included dress, service style, music, praise and worship, manifest giftings and a new evangelistic fire. The militant rebellion exhibited, however, made it nearly impossible for the established church to accept the necessary part of the revolution. Lest we all forget, the Charismatic movement started in the Catholic and Traditional Protestant denominations before the Jesus People called it their own. I believe that God’s best was for the Jesus People to honour the established church, and to work within to bring a unified revolution, not a divisive rebellion. What the new movement lost was the basic fundamental truths that were revealed over the centuries regarding essentials such as structure, bible teaching to all ages, mentoring, relationship building, loyalty, and many other fundamentals. At one time, a person could get guidance, both theory and practice, within the church on how to raise children, how to honor your elders, common courtesy, manners, and other lifestyle needs. Now the emphasis is on charismatic individuals and experiential manifestations. Many of the high-ranking ministries within the Charismatic world were birthed out of this rebellion and have never reconciled with their church heritage. Where’s the honour?
What Does God Say About Honour?
Lest you believe that this is a personal opinion soapbox, all the places in the Bible where we are called to honour were researched. All scriptures that call for us to honour God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have not been included. Also, all the scriptures that talk about receiving God’s honour have been omitted as they tempt us to use the second definition of honour noted above (receive rather than give). The following are those scriptures that exhort us to give honour. (RED are words Jesus spoke)
1. Honour your Father and Mother: there are 10 references to this commandment in the Bible. There are also no exceptions granted in God’s Word to this directive.
Exodus 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. Deut. 5:16 Honour thy father and thy mother that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. Matthew 15:4 For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. Matthew 19:19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Mark 7:10 For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: Mark 10:19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. Luke 18:20 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. Ephes. 6:2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)
2. The following references require us to honour our elders (literally the elderly, senior,
older persons). Even to double honour those elders (the elderly, senior, older) that are in positions of speaking the truth of God’s word.
Leviticus 19:32 Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the Lord. 1 Tim. 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.
3. There is a disproportionate amount of emphasis regarding the wife submitting to her husband. As believer wives are joint heirs of Christ, honouring them should not be as difficult as most men make it today. (We will expand this in our next publication.)
1 Peter 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
We are to honour women as shown in these verses. The Greek translation of widow in
1 Timothy refers to those who are without a husband either literally or figuratively.
Proverbs 11:16 A gracious woman retaineth honour: and strong men retain riches. 1 Tim. 5:3 Honour widows that are widows indeed.
4. These verses tell us that we can’t receive honour unless it is preceded by true humility.
Proverbs 15:33 The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility. Proverbs 22:4 By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honour, and life. Proverbs 29:23 A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.
5. The difference between the worldview of honor and God’s view of honour is dramatically identified by the following verses.
Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; 1 Cor. 12:23-24 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. 24For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: 1 Peter 2:17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.
6. Above all we must honour our savior and Lord Jesus Christ. If we profess to honour God, we must honour the Son or we are hypocrites.
John 5:23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.