Thursday, March 22, 2007

"Honor all People," He says...

As I think I related in my last post, the words, "Honor all people" really stuck with me from a memory verse we were assigned from our women's Bible study. It's a short little phrase, which you wouldn't think would mean all that much. You would think it would be so easy as to be automatic.
"Honor all people." That doesn't give a lot of exceptions, does it? I have been mulling this over, what it means, how to do it. In the past I have been struck by the fact that Jesus actually voiced His two greatest commandments, first to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength...which has been my chief focus, but to which this week I am officially adding the one that Jesus said was second, to love your neighbor as you love yourself. Honoring all people has to be a critical, central element to pleasing God by loving my neighbor.
Some people it is easy to honor: the famous, handsome, beautiful, rich, prominent,'s easy to honor them. We want their approval in return. Then there are people we are supposed to honor and yet their very proximity or the emotions that have gotten mixed up in our lives can make honoring them a challenge; we get to know them so well that we treat them in an overly familiar way, or we hold grudges that are stumbling blocks to honor. We dishonor them when we never meant to. That, I think, shows that honor is not a simple thing but can be quite complicated.
What about people who are not seeking honor, who don't live honorable lives? What about people I don't talk to at all, like those walking down the sidewalk when I drive, or those on tv who I'm sure never to meet, who maybe have all the strange hair and strange clothes and metal in strange places, who smoke strange things, have strange drugs coursing through their veins, who get married and divorced as often as I sweep the porch? Maybe it's only a matter then of not dishonoring them. If I don't point out their flaws to everyone I'm with, if I don't criticize them, roll my eyes, shake my head, say what I would do differently...then it's just a matter of "don't." Don't do it. Leave them alone. Let others form their own opinion. They don't have to know mine, how I may disdain the people who just don't know how to live, who haven't yet had the privilege of being saved by I have...
It seems that if I'll never meet them, or that if they'll never see me roll my eyes about them, then it shouldn't matter what I say or do or think about them. But then...there's still always one significant Witness who always has the real scoop on it, and He cares. "The eyes of the Lord are in every place keeping watch over the evil and the good." I can't hide it. I have to dump it. I have to be changed by the renewing of my mind.
In fact, maybe the less my negative opinions are expressed in any way, the less the disdain will even happen in my mind; maybe I'll forget it was there. It might be one step toward loving my neighbor; one step toward even loving him better some day when I add to that applying another of God's qualities, such as kindness...goodness...gentleness... those certainly have their appeal, and I want to have them increase. And I'll focus on whatever is good, whatever is noble, whatever is lovely, whatever is pure; whatever is righteous, whatever is admirable...and I'll think about such things. Then I will be free indeed!
It's just a thought that I have been pondering.

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