On Being Honorable
On Being Honorable
by Lonnie Lane
There’s something prophetic going on, I believe. That means something is revealing the heart and will of God. I’ve noticed that two of the presidential candidates are deliberately not saying anything negative about their fellow candidates. While they might defend themselves to correct what may have been said about them negatively, they have not responded in kind, but have only exhibited respect for the other candidates. That speaks volumes to me about the integrity of these two men, both of whom happen to be Believers though one is more vocal about it.
On the other hand, some other candidates have critical things to say about others and one in particular never misses an opportunity to speak disapprovingly about the present administration. Speaking in a way that demeans someone else, especially those in authority, only reveals their own weakness of character, as far as I’m concerned, rather than making them appear strong. Running a campaign based on dishonoring others does not present a picture of someone worthy of running this country, in my estimation. It may be the world’s way but I want my president to be blessed by God and…
…God does not honor dishonor. He paid a dear price to “cover” our weaknesses and failures in order to make us “honorable” and He desires that we do the same for one another. The Word tells us, “Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, for love ‘covers’ a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). “Above all!” Obviously God means for us to take this fervency for one another very much to heart.
I had an experience once that was a no-kidding life changing re-orienting revelation. I have shared some of this in another article a while back so it may sound familiar to you. But I believe it will make the point. A woman who had been a believer for several years was struggling in her walk with the Lord and said to me that she just needed to trust that she is God’s little girl and He’ll take care of her. The time had come for this woman to be digesting meat and not milk, and “by this time, [she] ought to be [a] teacher” (Heb 5:12), meaning to be able to share the Lord in an effective manner with other younger Believers. I gently encouraged her that in our relationships with God we are not just to be His children but also the bride of Messiah. We are to grow up in the Lord and be co-workers with Him. Assume responsibility as mature followers of the Lord, was my point.
Later, I was thanking the Lord for the privilege of knowing Him as one of the collective bride of Messiah in addition to that of a daughter of God, for that dynamic opened up a whole depth of relationship and responsibilities to share with the Him. Immediately, I felt as if I was sitting on the Father’s lap, and at that same moment, I experienced something quite profound and deep. I felt (emphasis on felt) the honor that the Holy Spirit has for Yeshua. The Holy Spirit has a holy jealousy for Yeshua’s honor that carries with it a great sense of dignity.
The word “glory” in Greek is Doxa which actually means: splendor, glory and dignity. There is great dignity in God unto His glory, is there not? It felt as if the Holy Spirit’s greatest delight and entire intent was to bring honor and glory to the Person and name of Yeshua. I also knew that should there be any dishonor to Yeshua’s name it would be deeply painful for the Spirit of God, as if He Himself had been unmercifully shamed or hurt by someone devoid of compassion. Needless to say, I knew that it also applied to what the Father felt for Yeshua, and what Yeshua felt for the Father, etc. I had been let in on the holy jealousy of God for His own honor and it was awesome.
Suddenly, our ability to “grieve the Holy Spirit” (Eph 4:30) took on a whole new meaning to me. Previously it had meant to me that He would be heavy-hearted if we did something that was displeasing to Him. I saw it as disappointing the Holy Spirit who thought we should know better. I knew I was not likely to worship idols as Israel once did which brought God’s grieving to escalate to wrath. But now not grieving the Spirit became a matter of respecting and honoring the Lord as is His due; of walking tenderly before Him to honor Him. It was now about Him and not me. Through this experience God dropped an acute sensitivity to any dishonor of His name, or casual flippancy towards God in any way into my heart. I guess you could say that I can feel the grieving of the Spirit when His name is violated or He is disrespected in any manner as happens among unbelievers sometimes. I’m sure many of you reading this feel the same way. We are covetous of the respect and honor that is due Him and that His name not be defiled in any way. It’s a meaningful part of what loving “the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” feels like (Matt 22:37).
But then there’s that other part of that commandment that says, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (:39). I was also given to know that it is God’s desire and intention that we honor each other with that very same desire to protect the dignity of one another with the same honor that exists between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God’s desire for us is that we be jealous for the honor and respect of one another. That we protect each other in such a way that we value one another above ourselves in the same way Yeshua laid down His life for us. That we neither speak against each other nor participate in any such talk by other. Even should something be said in jest about a person or ethnic group that is dishonoring is not God’s way.
All the emphasis on the restoration of Hebrew roots to the “One New Man” Body of Messiah isn’t just about keeping Shabbat or enjoying the feasts of the Lord. A good bit of it has to do with things that Torah prescribed regarding relationships – with God and with each other. Torah is about teaching the people of God how to live godly lives, at peace with God (in an Old Covenant kind of way) and with each other. Accordingly, the first four of the Ten Commandments are about our relationship with God. The last six of the Ten Commandments have to do with relationships and the way we treat one another.
And what is the first word in the commandments regarding those relationships? “Honor!” Honor is evidently to be of principal consideration and concerns our primary relationship: “Honor your mother and father…” (Ex. 20:12). This commandment comes with a promise of long life. There’s something about honoring one’s parents that provides for a healthy physical and emotional life which quite naturally leads to longevity. Children learn honor from their parents, so implicit in this commandment is that honor is ongoing from one generation to another, so that parents are worthy of being honored. That’s the ideal. For some of us, it may begin with us.
The following commandments are spoken in the negative as “shall nots.” Give some thought to juxtaposing these to honoring one another as we go through them. If you haven’t been through the Ten Commandments for a while, consider these thoughts. I expect you’ll have some of you own to add.
The rest of the commandments, ….. we can clearly see how breaking these commandments would be to dishonor not only someone else, but yourself.
- “You shall not murder” (:13) We certainly don’t need to discuss that there’s no honor there.
- “You shall not commit adultery” (:14) Adultery here also means any kind of sexual sins which are spelled out later in Torah more specifically. Paul exhorts us to “Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body but the immoral man sins against his own body” (1 Cor 6:18). So in this case the sinning person is not only dishonoring another person by involving them in sin, they are dishonoring their own body.
- “You shall not steal” (:15). God’s intention is for a society in which no one ever had to worry about anything ever being taken from them or abused, or being cheated or lied to, all of which are forms of stealing. Any form of theft makes one a thief and no thief really thinks well of himself, so again, he has dishonored himself as well as the person whom he robbed.
- “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or…anything that belongs to your neighbor” (:17) Coveting is wanting for yourself what belongs to someone else. It’s a form of lust and envy joined together. It puts the coveter in the place of emotional depravation in which there is no dignity or sense of well-being. And even if no one finds out, God knows. And there is no dignity or peace in duplicity either.
- “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (:16). This is about speaking as if we were a witness to something we did not really observe first hand or are not absolutely sure of. An opinion can be just as destructive as gossip. It is possible to never gossip about anyone, ever. I know people for whom this is true and I’m working on it. That’s God’s intention. I hope it’s also yours.
The Bible is the light unto our path to teach us how to walk in paths of truth. The first Psalm (1:1) tells us to “not walk in the counsel of the wicked” (or ungodly). I wonder if many of us do not log in many more hours in a week listening to ungodly “counsel” on TV than we do reading the truth and “listing” to the voice of God. (Selah.) How much we hear in the media about this one or that one which are often conflicting, depending on the bias. How are we to know what is really true? Much of the endless discussions are merely opinions, and in some cases gossip, and there’s surely no honor in that. Have we lost our sense of honoring one another because honor doesn’t make good news? Are we so entertained by “good” advertising, great personality coverage or media presentations that we can’t tell a fact from a factoid. (A factoid is a piece of information that is said so many times that we now consider it as truth even though it isn’t). Or even what’s good from what’s not good anymore? How are we to know what honor is if honor has become tasteless salt? Dignity has been replaced by P.R. hype, and beauty if as deep as a “make-over.” What’s to be trusted as truth anymore?
We are a society filled with “false witnesses” who are misrepresenting reality to us till we take way too lightly speaking opinions about one another based on here-say without first hand knowledge. If you think this isn’t so, be aware this coming week of how much you hear that isn’t based in objective truth but is regarded as reality. Dare I say this? Are we being set up for the Anti-Christ to walk in lookin’ good? Are we being desensitized to truth and integrity?
In talking about nearing the end times, which we believe we may be in or close to, Yeshua said, “At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another” (Matt 24:10) He seems to be saying that falling away from the Lord is related to betraying one another. Betrayal begins with thinking dishonoring thoughts about one another. It carries no sense of wanting to protect and defend, no jealousy for their well-being, no honor. It could be a steep and slippery slide from speaking unkindly about someone whom Yeshua loves and whose sins He covered to falling away from the Lord.
Yeshua also goes on to say that “many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. And because lawlessness is increased most people’s love will grow cold” (:11, 12). Notice He said “most” people’s love will grow cold. If that’s a prophetic reality, then we need to know how to avoid being one of the “most.” What our English translations don’t convey is that the “lawlessness” he’s talking about is actually “Torah-lessness.” That’s the law He’s referring to.
The most prophetic thing God is doing in our day is restoring Torah to His people. The whole of what Torah is about is love. Without Torah, there is no clear definition of how to truly walk out love. Little by little, the Bible has been taken out of our society and especially the Torah as the Ten Commandments are being challenged. Marriage as God instituted it in Genesis, is being redefined in our States, and those things which God calls an abomination in Torah are now being protected by our government. His “instructions,” in Torah and the prophets are not arbitrary laws that He imposes because He wants to be the boss. No, He gives them to us because He knows how He designed the world and society to be and the instructions are for our own well-being. When we violate or disregard them, we suffer the consequences. We are seeing it in our society today. The idea of love has been perverted to a good percentage of the younger generation who can’t tell the difference between lust and love, between coveting and admiring, between what-works-for-me and faithfulness, and between dishonor and truth.
True godly love is the answer. But memorizing 1 Corinthians 13 won’t do it. It must be written on our hearts. It has to come from where He lives within in us and not a superimposed behavior. That’s what the New Covenant is all about: “This is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the lord. “I will put My Torah [law] within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God and they will be My people” (Jer 31:33). To be wholly and entirely His, He says, is to have His Torah become a part of our hearts. Knowing what Torah says brings what He’s put in our hearts alive so we can understand what He is saying to us. The church has suffered because in error she was taught centuries ago that God was finished with the Jews and therefore Torah was obsolete. But that is not true. God and His Word are “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Heb 13:8). “He…does not change” (Ps. 15:4).
Yeshua said He came to fulfill Torah (Matt 5:17) and He demonstrated the ultimate expression of the love in Torah this way: “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Who are His friends? “You are My friends if you do what I command you” (:14). And what has He commanded us to do? “This I command you, that you love one another” (:18).
What kinds of words would false prophets speak? Words that aren’t true, obviously. But maybe they won’t be so obviously false, even to us. It behooves us to begin to pray for acute discernment now. We live in a society today where we’re not only being desensitized to discern what is true and what is not, we’re also being desensitized against being able to judge a person by their character because character issues are so confusing in what is presented to us.
Since we’re talking about choosing a president, one glaring example was President’s Clinton’s moral failure, yet many Americans said they didn’t care what his morality was as long as he could balance the budget! The moral fabric of our country is fraying. A leading Christian magazine recently had an article asking the question whether it would be the media that would pick the next president based on the best P.R. campaign and how good they presented themselves in front of a camera. Would Abraham Lincoln have been elected president if he had to be on TV? Would he be “pretty” enough? Charismatic enough?
May I suggest that you listen in the next week of how often you hear someone, or perhaps even you yourself, speak unkindly about another person when the speaker really has no first hand knowledge of what that person said or experienced. Or even if it is true, is it anyone’s business? If it bring shame and dishonor upon them, that’s what the world loves to hear. Even if we participate by listening to gossip, if we’ve done so without challenging it, we are in essence condoning it and it’s as if we had said it. Perhaps you may pass the test and find that you are walking in love and fulfilling Torah in this regard which should bring much peace to your heart and a smile of joy to your face. The very thought made me smile as I write, thinking of how pleased God must be with one(s) that keep their hearts pure and act in love for one another. May it be so!
To close this with where I began, with the presidential elections, I’m not saying there isn’t truth or integrity in our presidential candidates but my expectation is that the ones who aren’t maligning the others are more likely to lead us in wisdom than those who can speak against the others so easily. If we want God to honor America then we must be a people of integrity who honor one another. And for those of us whom God is making aware now that we don’t have to become one of the many who fall away, may we be intentionally honoring of one another at all times, careful not to “betray” one another even in the slightest way. God will always give us the grace to be more like Yeshua!
Reprint of this article is permitted (for free distribution, not to be sold) if the following is included: Reprinted with permission of Messianic Vision Ministries, www.sidroth.org, 2008.
ï»¿Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible Copyright ©1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundationk, La Habra, Calif. All rights reserved. Used by permission.