You may wonder, Why would I want to honor someone I don’t respect? If I don’t respect them, do they really deserve my honor?
Chances are, you don’t want to honor that difficult person in your life. And no, they probably don’t deserve your honor. There. Glad we’ve settled that, So now what?
As a Christian, I can’t leave it there. Because God challenges me to honor people I may not respect. It may be a boss, a fellow church member, or even a family member. Check out these verses:
Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you. Deuteronomy 5:16
The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. 1 Timothy 5:17
Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king. 2 Peter 2:17
Not one verse says to honor people if they deserve it. It really has nothing to do with the difficult person’s behavior. It has everything to do with the person being asked to do the honoring. It makes them better people. It makes a better life for them. In Deuteronomy the Israelites were told if they honored their parents, they would live long and things would go well. Who doesn’t want that?
Isn’t that still true today? When you dishonor people it stirs up strife in your relationships. It becomes hard to be civil. Stress builds, blood pressure rises. Life doesn’t feel so good.
But what if you tried to see that person through God’s eyes? What are their fears, problems, struggles? What do they love? What are their interests? What makes them unique?
Try focusing on compassion instead of frustration when you see that person who’s a thorn in your side. Kindness trumps impatience. Smiling wins over rolling your eyes. A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger (Proverbs 15:1 NIV).
And here’s the good news. God will help you honor others. He’ll even help you change your attitude toward that impossible person if you only ask Him and believe He’ll do it.
So give it a try. Keep honoring and see your own quality of life improve.
Have you tried to honor someone you don’t respect? How did you do it? What was the outcome?