Every night recently, pictures of violence fill the evening news as the riots in Charlotte filled rage on. After I went to bed, I lay thinking about the images and how the violence and disunity must break the heart of God. I wondered how we – the people of God – might be able to change our culture by simply honoring and valuing others.
Paul wrote, “Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10). I love that word “honor”. It speaks to giving value and esteem to others. Often I think we think of honor as something that’s to be earned. In other words, I’ll give you honor and esteem if you deserve it. God has a different idea. I Peter 2:17instructs us to honor all people. Pastor, Greg Groeschel says it this way, “Honor is a gift that you give freely.” The question then lingers, how do we give the gift of honor? Here are just a few simple ideas to get you started:
- Listen: In a world filled with noisy and strong opinions, I believe that we who are followers of Jesus have a unique opportunity to listen. By offering a listening presence rather than simply screaming our convictions I believe we earn the right to be heard when the time is appropriate. Will we always agree? Nope. Is that okay? Yes. Jesus was an amazing listener even though He didn’t always agree with the convictions of the person speaking.
- Pray: I have found that rarely do people turn down the opportunity to be prayed over. By offering to pray for people, even random strangers, we demonstrate that their hurts are valued. For example, recently a server at a restaurant shared that her family was in crisis. After listening and empathizing my husband, Steve, and I offered to pray with her. The result? She felt cared for and valued.
- Affirm: Look for opportunities to affirm others. Earlier this week I was on a flight from Spain to Chicago. Customers on the flight were cranky because we were very delayed. But there was one flight attendant who was working hard to keep people calm and comfortable. When I affirmed him for his great people skills, he shrugged and said he was just doing his job. But, his smile told me he felt appreciated.
I’d like to challenge you to think about tangible ways to help shift our culture to become more honoring. That’s a big challenge, I know. But, I think God is calling us to step up to the challenge of changing our world for the glory of Christ. So what do ya say, let’s go for it!
Becky Harling is an energetic speaker, author, and coach, inspiring audiences to overcome their greatest life challenges and reach their full God-given potential. Becky’s life experience as a Pastor’s wife, Women’s Ministries Director, survivor of breast cancer and childhood sexual abuse, all bring depth and realism to her message.www.beckyharling.com