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?
My next book, The Honor Cycle, will release later this summer. It’s a project I started years ago after God asked me to do something I thought was a bit strange. In prayer one morning, I sensed Him ask me to honor my father and go to college. It didn’t make any sense to me, because I knew I was called to full-time ministry. Bible School seemed the logical choice. The next fifteen years, however, would reveal that God was using my parents’ counsel to set me up for His best plan for my life.
Over the last decade, every aspect of my life has been profoundly impacted by the practice of honor. I realized that honor had actually propped open the door for me to receive something I desperately needed from my parents and mentors. It’s something I call blessing. The Honor Cycle is the flow of honor and blessing between generations. 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.
Questions The Honor Cycle answers:
How can I have a better relationship with my parents? (tweet)
I’m an adult now. Why should I listen to my parents? (tweet)
My parents don’t have a relationship with God. How can I honor them? (tweet)
My parents are controlling. What should I do? (tweet)
I don’t feel supported by my parents. How can I get them to understand me? (tweet)
How can I have a better relationship with my child? (tweet)
I’m finally an empty-nester! Why do I need to be so involved with my child? (tweet)
I’m hurt because my child is so unappreciative. What should I do? (tweet)
I totally disapprove of my child’s choices. How can I bless him/her? (tweet)
My own parents weren’t affirming. How can I release blessing to my child? (tweet)
I’m tired of trying. My child is beyond hope. Can you help me? (tweet)
Leading up to the release of The Honor Cycle, I want to invite you to explore what this cycle is all about. I’ll post articles here and would really appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s really easy to follow me (enter your email address on the right-hand side) and I promise I’ll only send you posts once or twice a week that will help strengthen your relationships.
If you know anyone who may benefit from answers to these questions, please invite them to join this discussion with us. You can use the share buttons below, or just forward them the webpage. I really appreciate you trusting me with your friends and family.
What do you think about this? Is the Honor Cycle an intriguing concept to you? What questions would you like to see answered?
There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, “The two become one.” Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever – the kind of sex that can never “become one.”
There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for “becoming one” with another. Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.
Now, getting down to the questions you asked in your letter to me. First, Is it a good thing to have sexual relations? Certainly – but only within a certain context. It’s good for a man to have a wife, and for a woman to have a husband. Sexual drives are strong, but marriage is strong enough to contain them and provide for a balanced and fulfilling sexual life in a world of sexual disorder. The marriage bed must be a place of mutuality – the husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her husband. Marriage is not a place to “stand up for your rights.” Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out.
1 Corinthians 6:16 – 7:4
What do you think?
A friend of mine shared an experience with me. She had been invited to a dinner party with a group of professional athletes. At some point during the dinner, she needed to excuse herself from the table. When she stood up, she froze, perplexed by what was happening. Every man at the table had just stood up with her. It took my friend a moment to realize that these men had adopted in their social circle a practice of honor that has long since been abandoned by many, to stand when a lady enters or leaves the room.
My first reaction to this story was to roll my eyes. Where do these guys get off bringing back some ancient custom? Was it just a ploy to be different? It was weird. But then I thought, this custom came from a time period in history when society was so determined to honor people, that they adopted a code of conduct to express it. These gentlemen were simply instituting a simple practice in their circle to uphold the same value. What if our entire society became so committed to honor one another that we adopted a code of behavior that reflected that commitment?
Then again, outward expressions of honor are pointless unless they stem from a genuine heart that places value on other people.
So what does honor look like today?
Honor starts in the heart. We can stand up when a lady leaves the room. We can address elders with titles of respect. We can hold the door open. But none of it means a hill of beans if our heart isn’t postured right. Honor means to value. Dishonor means to treat as common. True honor begins with a decision to value someone more than yourself. Don’t put the cart before the horse. Develop honor in your heart. The code of conduct will follow.
Honor is expressed in actions. A heart that truly values another person will always drive you to action. Once you’ve put someone else first, actions follow. It’s more than just customs and conduct. It’s determining to let the honor you’ve cultivated in your heart express itself. Here are some examples of actions that honor may have you take in different relationships:
- Spouse – Writing a note to show appreciation for how they handled something.
- Boss – Looking for ways to help make their job as a leader easier.
- Pastor – Showing up to Church on-time, ready to soak in every word.
- Friend – Taking time to understand what they’re going through.
- Politician – Saying a prayer that God will help them lead.
- Parent – Asking and weighing their advice in a difficult decision.
Just a thought, what if we rebuilt honor in to our society? What would it look like? Would it benefit us? What do you think?
I heard someone talking about banana pudding the other day. Apparently, if you want to have amazing banana pudding you’ve got to be willing to invest some time and patience in the process. There are quicker options, but the good stuff requires hours of preparation, waiting for the right time to enjoy.
By the time we reach adolescence, we should have picked up on a little truth: the best things in life are the result of a patient process. We work hard at developing a new skill and get to enjoy using it. We spend years and years in an education system and have so much knowledge to show for it. We invest in a plan and get to see it happen. Diligence, patience and self-control pay off with huge rewards. We deny ourselves temporary gratification so we can experience a better future.
When did sex become any different? If you were to examine our cultural view on sex, you would think that human-beings have absolutely no ability to exercise self-control in their sexuality. There is a subtle thread of belief that since sex is so natural and feels so good that it’s not meant to be controlled. But the truth is that sex and banana pudding have some things in common:
1.) Sex is good. So is banana pudding. Anything good is worth waiting on and enjoying the way it was meant to be enjoyed. For practical, physical, psychological, spiritual and emotional reasons there is no better sex than married sex. It’s worth the wait.
2.) The wait makes it better. Instant pudding doesn’t leave the same taste in your mouth as the good stuff. Sex outside of marriage seems enticing but doesn’t sit well at the end.
3.) The end result is better than the ingredients. If you eat the ingredients while you’re cooking, they don’t taste as good as the final product…and if you eat too many of the ingredients while its cooking the final product will be compromised. Trying to enjoy the benefits of sex outside of marriage is often hurtful in the end and brings sexual baggage into your future marriage.
4.) Self-control is required. But we’re much better at self-control than we think. We constantly make choices to deny temporary pleasures for long-term gain. We can do the same with sex…and of course with banana pudding. We just need a change of perspective.
What’s been your experience? Is sex exempt from self-control and patience?