The importance of honour by Rev Stephen Brooks

This 100th issue of Keep the Faith is truly a praiseworthy milestone, and congratulations are extended to Shirley McGreal, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief and the rest of the team.   At a time when members of the public are being urged to nominate deserving individuals for national honours – announced at the beginning of each year and on the Queen’s official birthday – it is fitting that we celebrate and honour our own success, too.

The Bible says that there are several different groups we should honour, and is incredibly clear that we should honour our parents. This is one of the top ten most important commandments in Exodus 20:12, ‘Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.’

God doesn’t give an upper age limit on honouring parents. We don’t do it just while we’re children; we continue doing it into our forties, fifties, sixties and beyond. If you have children, a good way to demonstrate honour to your parents is to speak well of them in front of their children or grandchildren. It’s important to find ways you can honour them, not just because they deserve it, but because it’s the right thing to do.

In November 2016, my father, Bishop J E Brooks, was nominated and received an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity Degree. The Honorary Doctorate Degree is conferred upon distinguished pastors, evangelists, ministers and other Christian leaders or public servants, who have made significant contributions in their respective fields or for the extension of God’s Kingdom.

Another group to which the Bible says we ought to show honour are those who are in authority over us. Romans 13:1-7 explains that God, in His sovereignty, has placed people in positions of leadership. In this context, verse 7 says that you should give to everyone what you owe them: if you owe taxes, pay taxes; if respect, then respect; if honour, then honour.

In January 2017, President Trump was inaugurated. Many Americans didn’t vote for him and have never liked him or agreed with his policies but, in that moment, citizens of the United States freely offered honour, if not to the man, then at least to the office. It is important to note that respect and honour are not synonymous.

We’re supposed to show honour not only to powerful people in government, but to all of those who are in authority over us. If you play sports, show honour to your coach. If you’re a student, honour your teachers. If you have a mentor, show them honour. Honour your boss. It has been said that before you can learn to be over, you have to learn to be under. Practise being under, by showing honour to those people whom God has placed over you.

The third group God calls us to honour is pastors and church leaders. The Bible tells us that we are to show honour to those who are spiritually instructing us: ‘The elders, who direct the affairs of the church well, are worthy of double honour, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching’ (1 Timothy 5:17).

The Bible shares, in Romans 12:10, how we grow in honour: love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honour (ESV).

So it’s really that simple. Take that verse to heart, and show honour not only to other people, but try to outdo one another in showing honour. What does that mean? That means that you go out of your way to demonstrate honour to them.

Considering all that Jesus has done for us, you would think it’s only reasonable to do something with our lives that honour Him. Sadly, the Bible describes a truth that is much more common, namely ‘The Lord says: “These people come near to Me with their mouth and honour Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me”’ (Isaiah 29:13).

Because of what He did, we are who we are. We should value others and show them honour, and we should help them see that they were valuable enough for Jesus to give His life for.

Living with honour reminds us of who we really are; who God is, and how much He loves those around us. Someone who does not know God may seek the honour of his fellow man rather than the honour that comes from God. On the other hand, we honour God when we make it our chief ambition in life to please Him, to love Him and to serve Him at all times. This is the way that Jesus lived. John 8:29 says: “I do always those things that please Him.”

Stephen Brooks

 

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