This weekend’s all about honoring mothers. Our church has a culture of honor. It is certainly biblical. Have you ever noticed the first proverb and last proverb are about honor? Of the 31 chapters of the book of Proverbs, the first nine of them are making a case for wisdom. Making a case why it’s so important and showing different scenarios where it’s needed. Then in chapter ten the proverbs really begin.
“A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son brings grief to his mother.” Proverbs 10:1
If you read the verses on relationships in the proverbs it says the fool does this one thing…the fool despises. The fool has relationships they despise. Despise means to be in contempt of, to scorn, to disdain, to consider worthless and unworthy of honor. If you want one relational principle that can change your life; it’s the principle of honor.
Proverbs 31 honors the wife of noble character. Honor her. We want to honor every mom and woman of character who invests in others.
“Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” Proverbs 31:31
In other words, brag on her in public. We really are a culture of honor in our church and in the mid-west we have a culture of honor, but it’s a quality that’s leaving our country and people’s lives. In the name of Jesus we need to keep this quality of honor. What does honor mean?
Honor means to have value, worth, and weight. You add weight to that thing. You put value on that thing. It would make sense then when dishonor means to take lightly. It’s the opposite of weight. You didn’t put the value on it that it deserved. We need to learn, out of God’s word, this principle of honor. This is difficult because you have people in your life who you feel like they don’t deserve honor because of how they’ve treated you. But that’s not where honor begins.
Honoring begins with God’s claim on them. Not with how you see them, but how God sees them. God can see every person in their complete depravity, and in their perfect dignity at the same time. He can see everything you’ve done and at the same time see who you are in Christ. He sees all the mistakes and all the potential. Thank God, He sees us that way. Friend, if you knew how much God really loves you, it would transform everything about your life. He has made us in His image and has a claim on our lives. Honoring begins with seeing other people the way God sees them. Why does this matter? Because God created everyone, He loves everyone, Christ died for everyone.
“From one man (Adam) he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries.” Acts 17:26 NLT
So God has made all the nations and determined who they are and where they live. One area we can lose sight of honor in our culture is in how we see diversity. Diversity matters to God. God loves diversity. Where there is despising of diversity, where there is racial prejudice, it’s wrong because it dishonors God. Racial prejudice questions God’s creation. It was His idea to create the differences. When we have racial prejudice, we are saying, “God, you made a mistake. You should have made everyone to look and be just like us.” You can hear the arrogance in that viewpoint.
We all came from the same source, anyway Adam and Eve. You did not choose when you were born, the color of your skin, who your parents are, your background, the culture, the nationality. It’s difficult to understand why people get prideful about where they’re from, what nationality, the color of their skin, or really anything else about them. You didn’t have any choice in it. It doesn’t say anything about your character. You just happened to be born to a certain family at a certain time. What a foolish thing to be prideful about. What a foolish thing to look down at someone else about.
Any time we think less of God’s creation, we’re forgetting who made us.
“What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if everything you have is from God, why boast as though it were not a gift?” 1 Corinthians 4:7 NLT
You may secretly think you’re better than others. You’re not. It’s all a gift from God and we honor people because of who God made them to be. Here’s another principle about honor that you’ll learn in scripture…
Honoring benefits me too. Honor isn’t just for the person on the receiving end, but also for the people on the giving end. It has more of an affect on us than it does on them. The way you treat your mom, dad, boss, government leaders, spouse and family to the degree that you honor them determines how much you can receive from them.
It was said of Jesus in Mark 6 that when He went back to His hometown that He couldn’t do many miracles there because people saw Him as average and normal. Not as the Son of God all powerful. The way they saw Jesus determined how much they could receive from Him. How you honor God determines what you receive from Him. How you honor people determines what you can receive from them.
“Honor your father and mother”–which is the first commandment with a promise—“that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Ephesians 6:2-3
If you honor them it will go well with you. Wow. God takes this seriously. There’s no contingency of their parenting. You don’t have to say what they did was good. When you’re in a courtroom with a judge, you say, “Your honor” to them, regardless of how well you know them or who they are. You honor the seat they sit in. Here’s a third thing about honor….
Honor is decided not deserved. Meaning, we are not going to wait for you to deserve it.
Honor is given.
We’ll give it anyway. If you buy into this, coming your way is coming the honor test. If you buy into this, you’re going to have a chance to honor someone who you don’t feel deserves it. Try something…give it to them anyway. They don’t have to have received it. You can make the choice without them receiving it.
“Submit yourselves [because they deserved it? No.] for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.
For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. [How?] Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.” 1 Peter 2:13-17
During this time, the religious and government leaders were not good people. They didn’t have a good king at that point. They didn’t have to like the king, they didn’t even have to obey him. In fact, God says not to obey an authority when it goes against the gospel. But they could do that in a respectful way.
You’re going to have to do that in all your relationships by the way. You’re not going to agree with someone all the time about everything. We don’t agree with ourselves all of the time, let alone everyone else. While you’re going one way to follow God there’s going to be times your friends, your family, your sister, your brother, or your parents are going to go a different way. There’s a place where Jesus says that His presence will divide family.
You’ll have someone in your life choose a lifestyle that you and your faith don’t agree with. If it doesn’t agree with your God, don’t align with them. Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise your convictions to be compassionate. You don’t have to agree with someone to honor them. This is a biblical principle for you.
On Mother’s day, what a great day to renew this principle of honor.
“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10
Honor everyone. Put the weight and worth above yourself. How do you do that? You honor someone anytime you…
1. Prioritize them
When you put God first, you honor Him. When you put others before yourself, you honor them. When you put your family above your own interests, you honor them. When you make time for someone, you honor them. When you’re in line at the grocery store and there’s only so much of the product you’re looking for, but you don’t cut in line, you let those before you go first. When you don’t fight and argue, but you let others ahead. That’s honor. Proverbs 3 tells us how to honor God.
“Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops.” Proverbs 3:9
This is not a only a money principle, but this is a first principle. You are doing this right now. You said, before I do anything else this week, I’m going to put God first, put church first, and worship. The message translation puts it this way.
“Honor GOD with everything you own; give him the first and the best.” Proverbs 3:9 MSG
Whenever you put God first in something, you honor him. Today, you put your mom before others, it honors her. That’s what these special days are about. Mothers Day, Memorial Day, Fathers Day, it’s a day we set aside that we all put that person before others. Yes, we are to honor them often in our lives, but it’s special when everyone takes a day to prioritize them. Another way to honor someone has to do with how we speak to them and about them.
2. Praise them
Honor has a language. You lift people up. Not only when they’re around you, but even when they walk away.
“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness.” James 3:9-10
God puts value on them and you devalue them, He takes it personally just like we would if someone talked about someone close to us.
“Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.”
This should not be…Does that sound like your mom? This should not be. Honor has language. How you speak of others matters.
We need to honor people with our mouths.
We need to stop the gossip. As a husband and a son today, I want to challenge you to have the things you say about your wife and your mother be encouraging, even when they’re not there. Don’t fall for some trap to put them down at work, put them down in small group, don’t speak death over your relationships and then be surprised when they die. Speak life and know that it will make a difference.
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.” Ephesians 4:29-30
We can’t afford for the Holy Spirit to be grieved in our life. We need Him more that we’ve ever needed Him before. Honor has a priority and a language. Prioritize them. Praise them.
3. Protect them
Anything of real value, you protect it. This is an action step. You don’t just speak it, you do it. After the flood receded, the Bible says that Noah planted a vineyard, made some wine, got naked and drunk. One of his three sons walked in and saw him. He, then, went out to his brothers and said, you’ve got to see dad. He was mocking his dad. Noah was a good man who did a bad thing. The other two bothers got a blanket over their shoulders and walked in backwards so they couldn’t see him and covered him up.
They protected his weakness. They didn’t cover up his sin. We don’t need to cover up sin, but we do need to protect weakness. We know what you did and we’re not hiding it, but we’re not going to let you get hurt anymore. We’ll stand with you and see you through this. You’ll overcome and be better. The devil’s not going to finish what he started here, we’ll protect you. That’s how you protect somebody.
Let’s take it one step further. You should also protect the honor of the name of Jesus. In a culture that is laughing and picking on Christianity we will not be disrespectful, but we will stand up for the honor of the one we serve. We will take a stand for Jesus Christ.
“He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.” John 7:18
The motivation for this message today is you. It’s not even the person on the receiving end. Maybe this week you could say something to your parents or your boss, to express your honor. Even if you don’t like the way they’re doing things, that you’d honor them. Test it…see how much better it will make your life.
The more I value something the more I value from it. You get what you give. The more I value my job, the more I value from it. The more I value my church, the more I value from it. The more I value God, the more I value from God. You get what you put into it.
Check back on your discussions from the last week, “TAKE YOUR STAND.”
Honor is important to God because when we show honor to someone, we recognize God’s claim on them—they are made in His image and are eternally important to Him. By showing honor, we add value, worth or weight to someone. We show honor by prioritizing, praising and protecting others. Honoring someone not only agrees with God’s claim on them, but it also blesses us.
When we dishonor someone, we take God’s claim on them lightly. It’s important to remember that, while respect is earned, honor is given. It’s a choice to see someone from God’s perspective and treat them accordingly.
Discussion & Application
- Prior to this message, what was your view of honor? How has this message helped you understand why we honor one another?
- What are some examples of how we can prioritize people as an expression of honor?
- Read aloud James 3:9-10: “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.” James 3:9-10 What are ways that we can embrace the language of honor and praise one another?
- How can we protect the people in our lives just as two of Noah’s sons did when they found him naked and drunk in his tent?
Pray that God would help us to put other people first and honor the people in our life. Ask God to help you see others from His perspective—how to show them honor based on who they are in Him and not what they deserve.
Speak words of life and take hold of Ephesians 4:29-30 which says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.” Ephesians 4:29-30