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?
As I mentioned in a previous post, the concept of honor is lost on our generation. When New Testament writers reference the Fifth Commandment, they use the Greek word, timaō, which means “fix value on.” Let’s say you have a penny and you want to honor it. According to the Greek definition, you do so by simply deciding to fix value on that penny. You don’t care that everyone else believes your penny is virtually worthless. It’s worth a lot to you, so you treasure it.
But that’s not how most people approach honor. Most people wait until something clearly shows a lot of value. For example, it would be easy to fix value on a $1,000 bill. Its value is already well established, so anyone would “honor” its status and treasure it. Most often, the object of honor must have apparent worth before we place value on it.
However, the Biblical use of “honor” teaches that honoring your father and mother means simply choosing to fix value on them. You put value on those you honor—whether or not they have earned it or deserve it. (TWEET THIS) Honor isn’t contingent on their actions. When you decide to honor someone, you determine that they have worth. You add weight to them in your own frame of reference. You determine “This person is valuable.”
Does this line up with your understanding of honor?
The concept of honor is lost on our generation. (tweet this)
The word honor has such a wide variety of meanings, it’s hard to know where to start. Here are just a few from dictionary.reference.com
- Integrity in one’s beliefs or actions
- A source of distinction
- A title of respect
- The privilege of teeing off first in a hole of golf
- Having a high trump card in a game of bridge
- Accepting a method of payment
- To salute with a bow
It is no wonder people have difficulty understanding and applying honor in relationships! I believe if you can grasp its true meaning, you will find honor much easier to put to practice and you will start receiving its benefits. Practicing honor is one side of the Honor Cycle.
What does honor mean to you?
Our society has lost touch with the fundamental practices that allow one generation to build on another. Our celebration of independence and individuality has inadvertently disrupted the cycle that allows us to build a legacy across multiple generations. As children, we feel responsible to achieve success on our own. As parents, we’re so caught up pursuing our own dreams; we don’t know how to invest in the next generation. As a result, family relationships are broken and generations are not positioned to work together.
There is a natural cycle, however, that will create a thriving future from generation to generation (tweet this). I call it the Honor Cycle. When properly cultivated, the Honor Cycle empowers families and societies to learn from their successes and failures, solve problems together and build a better future for generations to come.
The Honor Cycle is initiated by two actions:
1) Practicing Honor
2) Releasing Blessing
Do you believe that generations were meant to build one on the other? What do you think about this idea of an Honor Cycle? Is there hope for our future?
Check out this story from the Book of Genesis. Noah’s son, Ham, finds his father naked and drunk in his tent. Ham dishonored his father by telling his brothers, so that they could all make fun of Noah together. Ham’s brothers chose to honor their father and covered his body. They went so far as to make sure that they didn’t even see him, walking backwards with a blanket toward him. Clearly, this was not Noah’s shining moment. And while his actions that day were not worthy of honor, two of his sons purposed in their hearts to honor their father anyway. They even covered up their father’s moment of weakness and their eyes so they wouldn’t see it.
Scripture encourages you to value your parents, setting them up to be influences in your life, whether they deserve it or not! Seems crazy, right? But, God knows what He’s doing. He knows parents and teachers won’t be perfect, but He wants them valued anyway. With children of my own, I’m beginning to see how important this will be for their future. When I mess up, I’ll need them to be able to overlook it and still look to me for wisdom and guidance along the way. If they don’t, they’ll miss out on the good stuff I actually do have to offer them.
Three Misconceptions About Honor: (CLICK TO TWEET)
1.) Honor is For Minors: The commandment to honor does not expire with age. Fortunately, neither do the benefits. In fact, they grow richer as you grow older. You can initiate The Honor Cycle at any age by choosing to put value on other people.
2.) Honor is Earned: You don’t have to wait for a perfect person to earn your honor. Parents can be valued simply for being your parents, with no conditions. Withholding honor, even for legitimate concerns, only isolates you from the blessing that practicing honor brings.
3.) Honor is an Action: This is an important distinction. Honor is not an action. Honor is a decision of the heart. It will produce action, but at its core honor is simply choosing that someone else is valuable.
You and I aren’t perfect. Do we ever need people to overlook our failures and value us anyway?