After you’ve identified a cyclical relationship like the Honor Cycle a natural question to ask is, “Who goes first?” Who should step out and jump-start this cycle? I remember sitting in Dr. Emerson Eggerichs’s marriage seminar, surrounded by couples looking for help improving their relationships, when this question came up in regard to a different cycle between men and women, Love & Respect. He paused for a moment, looked up at the eager crowd and answered, “I always say, let whoever is most mature go first.” [TWEET THIS]
What a perfect response! It shifts our thoughts away from who owes whom and who has neglected whom the most, to who is ready to take a step toward healing or improving the relationship. Who is ready to put themselves aside for a moment and put the other person first?
Of course, with young children, parents have the first opportunity to speak blessing long before the child even understands the concept of honor. But an adult child is perfectly able to kick the cycle off by looking for ways to honor their parent. It really doesn’t matter who starts. The trick is to be selfless, preferring the other, meeting their needs with no expectations in return. If you can accomplish this, you’ll see a huge difference in your relationship that will grow for years to come. Over time the other person will likely begin to respond naturally in ways that meet your own needs.
Who will start the Honor Cycle in your relationships?
A few years ago I had the privilege to speak at a night service in my parent’s church, the church I grew up in. While I was preparing my message, I felt an impression from God to use the opportunity to publicly acknowledge my dad as the great father, mentor and role model he’s always been for me. I shared how his words of wisdom had paid huge returns in my life, and how his example as a servant leader in church had shaped the way my siblings and I are committed to our own church.
For me, the result was a really powerful moment in our relationship. When the service was over my dad showered me with words of blessing, affirming me as a speaker, as a young father, and as his son. Because of our personalities, it’s not easy for people in my family to affirm one another, but that moment was a special one for me. I really saw how honor can open the door for affirmation in a powerful way. [TWEET THIS] As a result, our relationship grows stronger than ever.
Are you frustrated, looking for more affirmation? Do you think practicing honor can help?
When I was in college, many guest speakers visited our church, some of whom had a unique ability to hear what God was saying and communicate it while praying over others. I was raised to be pretty skeptical of such claims, so you can imagine that my posture was not immediately one of honor toward these people. Rather, I took an initially critical approach, watching from a distance, looking for holes in their theology or impure motives.
Yet as soon as the speaker began praying over me, my posture quickly changed. It didn’t take much, just a sentence or two about how God sees me, the significant person that He had created me to be, and my heart was turned. I thought, “This person hears from God! What an amazing gift!” I was prepared to believe and follow most anything else that would come out of their mouth.
The blessing they spoke over me automatically resulted in my honoring them and their gift. Even as a child, the more someone would affirm me, the more weight I would give to what they had to say. This wasn’t only because of my ego, but because I felt like they could identify the greatness I felt God had put inside of me.
You’re looking for your children to value you more. Have you tried speaking to the greatness inside them by releasing your blessing? It may just open their hearts to receive from everything else you have to offer.
Are you frustrated because you’re not honored? Do you think releasing blessing can help?
Learn more about Releasing Blessing:
Not just old people. But, people older than you. It’s easy to dismiss them as irrelevant. They don’t always understand the way you think. They talk weird. They have archaic methods. And, when everyone else thinks you’re a superstar, they don’t seem to think you’re all that. Yet, one very important key to making the most of your life is pulling the jewels of wisdom out of the older people around you.
In fact, the Bible says when we honor fathers and mothers in our life that “it will go well” with us. Positioning ourselves to receive from fathers and others actually sets us up for success!
How can you do it? How can you find the relevancy in old(er) people?
Here are some quick suggestions to get you started:
1.) Assume You Don’t Know it All: I’m wired to believe that I know best about pretty much everything. I have to be intentional to remember that I need input from older people. I try to make sure I do a little “self-talk” before engaging older people in conversation.
2.) Show up with Questions: I used to have an employee who came to every meeting with me armed with a list of questions. Every time it pulled the best out of me that I could offer. I felt like she respected me and wanted me to weigh in.
3.) Seek Advice: Honor values and puts weight on the input of older people. Before you make your decision, sincerely seek out what they have to say.
4.) Ask God to Speak Through Them: Look for areas where you can involve older people in your decision-making. Ask God to give them wisdom and speak through them.
You’ll be amazed at how much success comes to you simply by acknowledging the relevancy of older people in your life. How do you involve old(er) people in your life and decision-making?
I don’t mean an old-fashioned spanking. I mean when you were angry or frustrated. You let your emotions get the best of you and you did something you regretted. Maybe it wasn’t a physical hit. Maybe it was an emotional wound. You yelled. It frightened them. You blew it. They looked at you with confusion. They didn’t know how to process what just happened. You regained your composure and moved on. They likely didn’t.
If you’ve experienced this, we need to talk. And when I saw “we”, I don’t mean you and me…I mean us and our children. The tendency when we screw things up is to try to leave the moment in the past as soon as possible. That may feel best for our own conscience, but I don’t believe it’s the best for our child. In fact, I think children grow up allowing those moments of confusion to shape their world-view. They quietly question whether they are really loved, and if God is always on their side. They wait in fear for unexpected retaliation from others.
Hitting…yelling…emotional outbursts of anger…everyone knows these things are wrong. This post is not to justify these kind of actions. However, just because something is wrong doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be talked about. I’m no expert, but I believe much of the long-term impact of these events on your child can be curved by taking the time to talk it through.
As parents, we have a responsibility to continually release a blessing on our children. That means keeping them constantly aware of the God-given potential inside them. Set the record straight. Let them know they’re loved and special to you and to God. Even if it happened 20 years ago, clear up the confusion and tell them you blew it. Apologize and make sure they know it had nothing to do with them or your love for them.
BTW – If you’re seeing a pattern of physical or emotional abuse in your home, please go get help. Talk to your Pastor or a counselor. Get the help you need to be the best parent you can!