On Honor

The term “honor” seems to belong with “valiance” and “chivalry,” in the linguistic land of “thee”s and “thy”s and “thou”s, collecting dust alongside ancient armor and rusting swords. Maybe, however, it’s time to put the armor back on.

The concept of honor carries with it the impression of audacious integrity, dauntless virtue, and courageous character. Honor is not overawed by ostentatious opinion or societal sanction. Honor plants its feet on solid rock, and its anchor will not be moved by the waves. However, while firm in its foundation, it carries with it the connotation of deference to others. A person of honor is one who chooses to think less of herself and more of others.

But how can we get there? The thing is, honor is not an innate trait, but a practiced discipline. Aristotle famously said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.” As with forming any habit, practicing honor requires hard work at first, but with time and repeated effort, gradually becomes a natural part of one’s character. It’s part of the “training in righteousness” Paul talks about in 2 Timothy 3:16. Much as an athlete trains for a sport by repeating her exercises over and over and over again until they are ingrained in her muscle memory as automatic actions, so honor is ingrained in our hearts by continued, deliberate decisions.

Because of this, pursuing honor is something that has to be intentional–and we cannot do it alone. In Proverbs 27:17, Solomon writes, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” God helps us grow through his Word and through the Holy Spirit, but also through the people he places around us. I want to be surrounded by others who are pursuing honor intentionally by building each other up and sharpening our iron against one another day by day–maybe enough to ignite a spark that could fan into a flame.

Paul’s challenge to the Romans was to “outdo one another in showing honor.” As Christians, we are to not only exhibit honor, but to fall over ourselves in trying to each show more honor than the next. What would it look like if our churches took this challenge seriously?

Would it mean we stopped pointing out the specks in each other’s eyes and started working on the logs in our own? Would it mean we stopped worrying about the political divide and being the hypocrites they say we are and started loving without asking questions? Would it mean we actually went out of our way to do something nice for somebody, just every once in a while? Would it mean we saw service as something noble, rather than something “for somebody else”? Would it mean we stooped to Jesus’s level and started washing the feet of our betrayers?

Maybe.

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Breanna Joy

Once upon a time, in a far-away land, there was born one chill wintry day a lass who would come to be called Bre. She grew up whiling away the time upon myriad pursuits that would one day shift from pursuits to passions; creative, curious, and mischievous, she loved to read whatever she could manage to get her hands on (in particular novels, those of plot complex, world intriguing, and characters remarkable) — and read she did! She devoured words with so fierce a joy that she grew skillful in wielding such words as her own — story, journal, article, post and poem alike. For other arts, she also nurtured admiration. She loved in her heart the beauteous sound of music and the power it held over emotion and spirit. And she would work with her own hands to sketch and to paint and to correct and to create. One of her deepest passions was the stage, where she would take on a character as if an article of clothing, and live and breathe in another’s skin. In addition, the stories of times past and cultures distant enraptured her fascination, and she dreamed of one day venturing to explore these unknown lands. But these, these were nothing to the true heart of her soul. She found for herself a motley band of what can only be called friends–though some of whom were, truth be told, far more than that to her. They changed her being and resided in her heart. And so she lived, and loved, and dreamt. She dreamt of adventure and beauty and song and story and love and laughter. But far beyond anything else, did she strive with love toward her God. For this was her own great quest, or, if you will, her part in His own great story: to love those in the world, as He had loved her, when she had not loved Him–indeed, when she had turned from Him, hid from Him, rejected Him and ignored Him–He loved her enough to die for her. And so, because of this great love that now burned like a fire inside of her, a blazing beacon, she strove for a life lived in a beautiful harmony to Him who gave her a second chance. As she grew, she became confused, and doubting, and weak, and afraid, and unclean, and she would forget, and go to the world that was pressing at her to give in, in an attempt to satisfy her emptiness, though it would always leave her wanting. But always she would return, and be whole and filled again, made complete and beautiful in her soul. Storms would come and battles would rise; she would be tried and tested in many ways, and even so the story continues, but know ye this–He held her and led her all her days, and in the end, He would bring her to His own happily ever after.

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