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?
Western culture celebrates the value of independence and self-reliance. It’s almost perceived a weakness to seek out advice and support from others, especially parents. Our society makes fun of children who live at home past high school and disdains the success of those who build on platforms they’ve inherited.
In my own life, there have been times in which I didn’t value anything that I hadn’t earned on my own. “A real man provides for himself,” I would think. Maybe you can relate. I still struggle to place the same value on what I can learn from my parents, teachers and from my pastor as what I can come up with on my own.
The truth, though, is that each generation shouldn’t be starting from scratch. (TWEET THIS) I appreciate the confidence that comes from nurturing independence in children, but I’m also learning the importance of making sure we value other people, especially those God has commanded us to honor.
What do you think about the values of independence and self-reliance in our society? Are they hurting us or helping us?
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?