We are taught from an early age to honor those in authority over us. We are instructed to respect police officers, teachers, and other adult figures in our lives. We also learn that if we don't respect those over us, there are consequences.
However, honor is not just a one-way street facing up.
Earlier this week, we were in the van on the way to church. The enemy likes to stir up trouble on the way to church, which is why we developed a "no talking" policy for the kids while driving to church. They just listen to praise music. It works fairly well. This particular morning, the policy was not working well. Sarah wanted Joe's book (he had two), but Joe didn't want to share his book (apparently he can read two books at once). I enforced the logical solution and made Joe share. He, in turn, took Sarah's beloved Mickey Mouse. Oh, the love that morning! Glares were shared and seedlings of resentment were planted in these siblings.
Resentment would need to be physically dug up or remain. If allowed to remain, the weeds of resentment threaten to destroy even the strongest relationships.
Monday came and resentment grew. Joe was still angry at Sarah. God says, "Do not let the sun go down on your anger" for good reason. Resentment and anger left to brew cultivates an atmosphere of death.
"Be angry and do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger nor give place to the devil."
Most of the time when I hear this verse, I think of marriage. However, it is much broader and applies to any relationship.
That night, we had a dinner conversation about HONOR.
It went something like this...
"Kids, the world will tell you you should fight with your brothers and sisters. The world will even tell you it is normal and expected. You may see your friends being mean to their brother or sister. You are not of the world. You are a child of God. Do you want to have a home that is full of strife, fighting, and meanness? Or do you want to have a home filled with love, joy, and peace? You know you are to honor your father and your mother. You need to honor your brother and sister. You need to show them respect, kindness, and love.
We show honor to those above us (in authority over us), like parents, teachers, police officers, and other adults. We also honor those beside us, such as our friends, neighbors, people we meet, and siblings. We also honor those under us (those we have authority over). For example, we are your parents and we need to honor and respect you. In short, we need to honor everyone."
As I replay this conversation in my mind, I am picturing "Honor" like the cross. Honor reaches up, out and down.
"But [He] made himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also highly exalted Him and given Him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow of things in heaven, in things on earth, and things under the earth." Phil 2:7-10
Oh, dear Heavenly Father, that Jesus took our sin upon Him. That He humbled himself and took the form of a servant to honor us and pay the price we were so deserving of. That He went in place of us. Oh Father, oh Jesus, how we honor You now. You are so worthy to be praised. You are worthy of glory and honor. We were nothing, yet You loved us still. All honor and praise is Yours in heaven, earth and under the earth. We exalt Your name, oh Lord. We exalt Your name. We bow our knees and speak Your name, Jesus, You are Lord.
The kids understood the message of honor that day and our home is peaceful once again. They will mostly likely need many reminders, as we all do. If we do not honor, it leads to death. The cross is a symbol of honor and it defeated death. Honor defeats death.
May we meditate on the cross as we come into the week of Good Friday and Easter. May we always remember Jesus, who first honored us. In response to the cross, may we honor others up, out and down.