At a reception honoring musician Sir Robert Mayer on his 100th birthday, an elderly British socialite Lady Diana Cooper fell into conversation with a friendly woman who seemed to know her well.
Lady Diana’s failing eyesight prevented her from recognizing her fellow guest, until she peered more closely at the magnificent diamonds the lady was wearing and realized she was talking to Queen Elizabeth! Overcome with embarrassment, Lady Diana curtsied and stammered, “Ma’am, oh, ma’am, I’m sorry ma’am. I didn’t recognize you without your crown!”
Queen Elizabeth replied, “It was so much Sir Robert’s evening that I decided to leave the crown behind.” Queen Elizabeth wanted Sir Robert to be honored above herself, so she set her crown aside that night for him.
Honor. Anymore, it’s just a word that is thrown around. We look at the world and see people fighting, bullying, and lambasting one other. Honoring one another seems to be far from our lips. We are more concerned about finding honor for ourselves than giving it. And when everyone is looking to gain, nothing is given. Maybe honor is a word meant just for memorials and statues. Maybe honor needs a memorial for itself as we have left it in the past.
Yet when we open Scripture, God seems to put tremendous importance on honoring one another, right alongside of loving one another. Romans 12:10 even goes so far as to command the reader to “Outdo one another in showing honor.” And 1 Peter 2:17 reminds us that honor is not for a select few, but for everyone. God desires that all those created in His image be treated as people with the value and worth that He gave them. No one deserves to be disrespected or attacked. We should honor everyone as the sons and daughters of God that He created us all to be. No matter who they are or what harm they’ve caused you or others, they are still made in God’s image and Christ died for them. We need to start seeing each other as God sees us, which means treating every person with honor.
At the heart of honor is humility (Proverbs 15:33). Humility is the difficult, but priceless factor in honor. To honor others, means that we put others first after placing our own wants and needs aside. Just like Queen Elizabeth did, in order to honor Sir Robert, we get to take the spotlight off of ourselves so it can shine on others. However, this is difficult because it’s not what we are told to do. We are told to do everything we can to keep the spotlight on ourselves. We are more concerned about receiving honor than giving it.
Despite this natural obstacle, we have the full capabilities to overcome it and joyfully honor one another. Philippians 2 describes how Jesus humbled himself by becoming human and sacrificing himself on the cross on our behalf. While we are undeserving of His sacrifice because of the wrong we have done and the hurt we have caused, Jesus still died for us so that we might be honored rather than condemned. If Jesus was willing to put me first by sacrificing His life, then that’s plenty of reason for me to do the same for others. I can take His love and share it over and over again. Christ did not die for a few, but for all. If everyone was worth dying for, then I need to see everyone as Christ does and give honor to all, not just a few.
How will you show others honor in the days and weeks to come? How will you honor God and put Him first in your life? How will you show others honor and put them first?
Whatever you choose to do, change the status quo. Don’t look for how others can honor you, look for how you can honor others!