Honor creates a supernatural environment. Without living in honor with all people, the Church can never rise into the fullness of her calling and see the miraculous transformation God has planned for the nations.
Honor is a word that means, “to value someone or something.” Value conveys honor. Honor is only possible when we see the value that God has placed on people. He came to die for all people. The value of a person causes us to honor them for who they are in God's redemptive plan. Honor is not something we give based on a person's performance or something we give to those who deserve or earn it. Honor is granted by God from eternity before any of us can perform rightly. Honor is an act of grace.
Who should we honor?
Romans 12:10 tells us to, “Honor one another above yourselves.” Some think this only applies between believers. If that were the case then most of our modern missions enterprise would have shut down. Missionaries are being sent each day on missions of mercy to honor those who feel abandoned and alone. The very act of taking the Gospel to people groups is a journey of honor. People see the heart of God most clearly when someone steps out from the noise of the condemning crowd and says something that honors them as a unique creation of God.
Two times Jesus visited His hometown. Both times the people rejected Him. The Word tells us that because the people were without honor He could not perform many miracles among them..
Mark chapter 6 records one of these visits by Jesus to Nazareth.
“1 Jesus left that part of the country and returned with his disciples to Nazareth, his hometown. 2 The next Sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. They asked, “Where did he get all this wisdom and the power to perform such miracles?” 3 Then they scoffed, “He’s just a carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon. And his sisters live right here among us.” They were deeply offended and refused to believe in him.”
The word for “offended” in verse 3 means, “to be caught in a trap.” The people of Nazareth were caught in their own trap of judgement constructed from of their opinions of Jesus. Some said that He was just a carpenter - they judged Him vocationally. Others said He was just the son of Mary – they judged His family. Still others said His sisters lived right there with them - they judged Jesus based on their familiarity with Him.
Most of the time we only see people on the surface in their occupation, family background, political affiliation or personal brokenness. God sees people differently. God sees people with the finished product in view. The bridge between brokenness and the finished product is constructed with words and actions of honor.
“4 Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family.” 5 And because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6 And he was amazed at their unbelief.”
Mark's account was the second time the townspeople of Nazareth rejected Jesus. The first time was in Luke 4 at the start of Jesus' ministry. On that visit the people actually tried to kill Jesus. Nazareth was a tough place to visit.
The problem in Nazareth was a lack of honor. In Mark 6:4 Jesus said, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family.”
Did you catch the connection between the lack of honor, unbelief and miracles? When honor is not present neither is belief and when unbelief is not present the miraculous of God is limited. God's presence is attracted to honor. Verse 5 contains some chilling words, “and because of their unbelief He couldn't do any miracles among them.” If we are contending for the miraculous of God then we must choose to live with honor.
When we don't deal with our judgements, we step into a trap of our own making and end up dishonoring God and people. In Nazareth the talk in the streets was, “He's just Mary's son. Last week He fixed the door on my house – who does He think He is?” “Hey, I know His brother – He is no Messiah – we went to school together!” God is always doing more in a life than we can see on the surface. Honor sees deeper.
The unbelief and dishonor is Nazareth was persistent. There was a pattern of dishonor in Nazareth. Someone said once that if you do something once it is an accident. If you do it twice it is intentional. Nazareth was given over to dishonor and it shut down the move of God in their midst.
Some questions to ask:
How do we honor someone who is not honorable?
Choose to prophesy to the gifts and destiny within that life. In the parable of the hidden treasure in the field, Jesus said the man wanted the treasure hidden in the field so badly that he bought the whole field, dirt and all, just to have the treasure. God is calling the church to a level of radical love and honor so strong that we wouldn't mind the dirt in someone's life as long as they became God's treasure in the end. When we honor another person we are honoring a life-assignment that came from eternity and was short-circuited in this realm. Giving honor jumps-starts a life and realigns a person with God's original intention for them.
How do you honor someone who has failed you?
Speak the truth in love. Create a pathway of grace with your words so people can return from failure. Never compromise truth and never use truth to beat someone into submission to your way of thinking. Truth spoken in love sets people free. This freedom is part of what it means to honor someone. The one who gives honor is set free themselves from the need to punish the one who has wronged them.
Each of us will have to live with the results of our words and actions. If we choose to honor every person as a unique creation of God then we will bring honor to God. We will also experience the miraculous presence of God in our churches, our cities and our nation. Perhaps the next great revival in the Church will be a breakout of honor that will lead the way for an outpouring of the miracles we read about in scripture that should have taken place in Nazareth.