What does it mean to honor someone or something? If you look at the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20 you will notice that honor was a basic part of being obedient to God. While he doesn’t mention the word immediately, the concept comes quickly when God identified Himself as the God who led them from the land of Egypt and commanded “You shall have no other gods before Me.” The third commandment demands that one should not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. One should honor the name of God to the degree they would never use His name in some flippant or vulger manner. The fifth command is “Honor your father and your mother that your days may be long in the land.” Truthfully, the command not to murder is honoring human life, the command not to commit adultery is honoring the marriage relationship, the command not to steal honors the property of anothers, the command not to covet shows honor for others period, and the command not to lie shows honor for ourselves to the degree we wouldn’t spread things that aren’t true.
Think specifically of the command to honor father and mother. During Jesus earthly ministry he chided the religious leaders for setting aside the law of God to do their own thing using the illustration of one working to get out of taking care of parents when they are old and unable to care for themselves. He said they came up with the idea that if one pledged their goods to the temple they could say, it was corban and would not be required to take care of their parents. He said their whole worship was vain or useless when they acted in such fashion. (Matthew 15:1-9)
In Ephesians 6:1-4 Paul said for children to obey their parents in the Lord for this is right. “Honor your father and mother that it may we well with you and you may live long on the earth. You fathers, don’t provoke your children to wrath but bring them up in the training and discipline of the Lord.” Honor meant that children old enough to be Christians should be aware that part of their duty to God is to honor their parents and obey them. Honor that refuses to obey isn’t much honor.
In I Timothy 5:1-8 Paul was telling Timothy how to treat other people with respect when he said that a widow that had relatives should have their care so that the church could take care of those without family to do so. Then in verse 8 he said, “If a man doesn’t provide for his own, especially for those of his own family he has denied the faith and become worse than an unbeliever.” Paul again referred to the command to honor father and mother and used the providing of support as an illustration.
The respect one shows to their parents will have tremendous affect on how they honor police, teachers, officials, or leaders. It will also determine how one respects and treats their partner in marriage. In I Peter 3:1-7 Peter talks about hsubands and wives. He tells the wife to submit to her husband so that even if one isn’t obedient to God they may be reached by the good behavior of the wife. He says wives shouldn’t place the greatest emphasis on their looks but on having a gentle and quiet spirit that is very precious in God’s sight. When he turns to speak to the husbands he said, “Likewise, you husband dwell with your wives according to understanding, giving honor to the wife as to the weaker vessel and as being heirs together of the grace of life that your prayers may not be hindered.”
Husbands tend to be quick to say to their wives that they should submit to them and show them respect. But many times they are very slow to look at God’s command for the husband to honor the wife. She is typically weaker physically. God’s plan is for husbands and wives to be partners and heirs together of the good and wonderful things of life. When a man shows a lack of respect to his wife, his prayers are hindered.
Most likely it will hinder one even praying, but it will also hinder God hearing the prayers that are prayed.
We like being honored. It feels good when our children show us respect in life. But honor is something has to be shown to others if I’m to receive much of it back. Do you wish you could see more respect in the world? How much are you showing to the one who shares your life with you?