Honor, The Secret to Relationship
by Dave Burwell
More than a year ago, I wrote an article called “What Ever Happened to Honour?” Since that time, Diane and I have taken an extensive class on the Ministry of Prayer Counseling by John & Paula Sanford of the Elijah House and have done marriage and pre-marital counseling for Springs Harvest Fellowship and Mountain Springs Church. What has become clear is that HONOR is the hidden secret behind all relationships. Whether it’s our relationship with ourselves, our spouses, our parents, our children, other people or God, the success of that relationship is directly related to our understanding and implementation of HONOR.
For years Diane & I have been telling couples and families that they need to start treating each other with common courtesy. In saying that, we realize that courtesy is not so common anymore. Courtesy is really a type of behavior, which can be the result of training and not necessarily a reflection of an attitude of the heart.
Courtesy is something we “do” in the presence of strangers, casual acquaintances or business associates. (I wish I could have added fellow church members to the list, but courtesy is many times missing within the body of Christ) I would like to believe that courtesy exists because we are thinking about the other person, but I believe it primarily exists so that we will not “look bad” in front of the other person. In other words, the motivation is selfish, not selfless. I believe courtesy is important to survive in a social environment, but it is not a reflection of how successful we will be in our more important relationships of life.
The Dictionary definition of “courtesy” is: “Polite behavior; gracious manner or manners; a polite gesture or remark.” The definition of “polite” is: “Consideration for others, correct manners or tact.” Diane and I will still encourage those we counsel to be courteous and polite to those they are in close relationship with. What is more important, and much more difficult to impart and discern is the fruit of “honor”.
The dictionary says that “honor” is: “Special esteem or respect: reverence.” This indicates an attribute coming from the heart and not the mind. If the source of behavior is the mind, whether good or bad, becoming a “stronghold” can not be far behind. If the source of the behavior is the heart, then it becomes spirit controlled. Which spirit, God, self or satan, becomes the only question. The answer can be found in Matthew 7:20 “you will fully know them by their fruits”. Notice, this doesn’t say we will know by their behavior but by their fruits. Behavior can be faked for a time; fruit is what we reap when we sow. As it says in Galatians 6:7-8 “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”
In searching out information on courtesy, respect, manners and honor, I looked at the Internet, my library and the Christian bookstores. I found a lot of information regarding behavior, but hardly anything that related to heart attitudes. The Lord brought my attention to one book, however, that I will reference frequently in this article. The name was provocative, but the contents are anointed. The name is “Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes in You and Your Kids!” by Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller. This is not written from a charismatic perspective, but rather from a practical, user friendly and scripture based perspective.
What follows are excerpts taken from this book that I believe are fundamentally critical to life and relationships, especially within families.
• Over the years in our own families, as well as in our counseling and teaching of others, we’ve found honor to be an amazing principle with many ramifications for family life. Honor doesn’t just address behavior. It involves the heart.
• Honor thinks of what would please someone else and gives more than is expected. It’s putting someone else’s needs above your own. Honor values others in tangible ways.
• Children can learn honor and so can parents. Sure, confrontation is still necessary, and discipline still takes work. But we’ve found that when we focus on developing honor, we see amazing results…a sense of family honor. Each member of the family learns to value the others and enjoy them. That strengthens the family as a whole, and it helps each individual to be successful in life.
• Honor changes the way people think, the way we act, and the way we treat others.
• Honor is like the oil in a machine, making it possible for the job to get done with less friction and less conflict.
• Honor is treating people as special, doing more than what’s expected, and having a good attitude.
• The opposite of honor is self-centeredness:
• When self-centeredness increases, it’s no wonder that certain behaviors like yelling, arguing, and teasing, defiance, bad-attitudes, bickering and anger become a lifestyle. Unchecked selfishness creates multiple problems, resulting in tension and distance in relationships.
God knew that selfishness would hinder relationships, so he provided honor as the solution. Romans 12:10 says, “Honor one another above yourselves.” Honor counteracts selfishness in a family, and it does it in a positive way. Instead of continual criticism and “Don’t do that!” statements, honor gives families a vision for unselfishness. Individuals learn healthier skill for relating and find more wholesome ways of expressing themselves.
Now that I have given you some hope for your relationships, the question becomes how to implement “honor” within your life. The prioritized sequence is:
1. Do you honor God?
2. Do you honor your parents?
3. Do you honor yourself?
4. Do you honor your spouse?
5. Do you honor your children?
6. Do you honor others? (one another)
Each one of these questions would take one or more sessions to truly understand and reconcile. You may wonder about this sequence, but skipping over any of these would create imbalance and dysfunction in the relationships in your life.