It seems that our society has lost the art of honor.
I was recently on a trip to Mexico with my sweetie of 29 years. As we boarded our flight, another passenger was asked if she would switch seats so that a family with kids could sit together. Well, you would have thought she had been asked to jump off the plane mid-flight! How dare the airline crew ask such a thing? After all she had pre-selected her seat; just a good old regular seat, not even a special one like at the front or by an exit with more leg room. She was obviously offended by the mere request and spoke very disrespectfully. Several other people had to shuffle just so she would not be inconvenienced.
My question: What has happened to honoring people by being kind and respectful to each other? It wasn’t so much that she refused to move, as the way in which she spoke to the crew and the family who had asked for the change.
I should not be surprised though, as it seems that bestowing honor has taken a back seat in our increasingly rude society. Honoring others is just not as valued in today’s society as it was in the past. Have you ever watched the Parliament sessions? Even our politicians, by the way they speak to and about each other, fail to set the bar very high.
Honor is such an important part of building healthy relationships and yet it seems not to be taught much anymore. The dictionary meanings of the word ‘honor’ give great insight into how we can become persons of honor, practicing it in everyday life.
Honor, the verb, defined:
1. To hold in honor or high respect, to revere: This relates to the people we know well, or people in positional authority in our lives, like the flight crew above who had the important job of keeping us safe. When we honor them, it expresses respect and gratitude for the job they do.
2. To treat with honor: This speaks of our behavior towards all people, how we talk to them and how we treat them. When we treat people with honor it reveals our character.
3. To confer honor or distinction upon: This is recognizing people’s good work, acknowledging the contributions they have made in our lives.
4. To show a courteous regard for: This pertains to people we don’t even know, like the parents who wanted to sit with their kids on that flight. They would have felt honoured, and been grateful to be blessed by this lady if she had just been courteous.
There is a statement in the Bible that tells us how we should treat each other. “Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other”. Wow, what a great concept! It could change the complexion of our community in a hurry, and would certainly have had a positive effect on our flight!
Here are a few thoughts that come to mind through the dictionary’s description of honor. Honor is ‘given and received’ not ‘earned and demanded’. Honor elevates and celebrates others. Honor sees the best in people.
We can create a culture of honor in our families and organizations by the words we speak ‘to’ and ‘about’ each other. When we use words to build others up it creates a culture of honor. By preferring others, it simply elevates others above us. When we are loyal, trust and honor are established in relationships. By forgiving, it opens our hearts to honor.
There are a few things that I call ‘honor killers’ which can negatively affect our relationships: Pride, sarcasm, needing to be right, being unforgiving, and judging others, to name a few. It has been said that ‘harboring unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die’. It is hard to honor people when we are bitter toward them.
In conclusion, there are great benefits to being a person who honors others. This expresses love and can help heal relationships. Honor establishes authority and holds people accountable naturally. When someone feels honored they are more likely to honor others. Our society and certainly our relationships need to rediscover the lost art of HONOR!