1 Peter 2:17 – Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.
Honour. It is just a word, but there are duels between fellows because of it, and wars between nations have been fought over it. It is demanded by some and expected by others. It is easy to give and yet hard to pay. Honour is elusive and highly prized, but what does God have to say about it.
Related to respect, honour (or honor if you like) is the act of paying due esteem according to perceived worth. The Bible tells us many things about honour:
- Bless the Lord , O my soul. O Lord my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. – Psalm 104:1
- Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase -Proverbs 3:9
- Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. – Exodus 20:12
- Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour. – Ecclesiastes 10:1
- The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable. – Isaiah 42:21
- A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house. – Matthew 13:57b
- How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? – John 5:44
- Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; – Romans 12:10
- Honour widows that are widows indeed. – 1 Timothy 5:3
- Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. – Hebrews 13:4
- Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. – Revelation 19:7
So then honour is a vital and essential topic akin to glory in importance. However, like glory, we are not to put our efforts into seeking honour for ourselves but in honouring others, especially God. Any honour we receive should be because of our outpouring of goodness and truth to others, and this means that we should not be surprised that some do not reward our efforts.
Not everyone will perceive the goodness and truth of God as a positive, but we should not bow to pressure simply to make others happy. Pleasure makes us happy for a moment, but some pleasures kill. Honour does lasting good. For example, the commandment to honour mother and father is called the first commandment with promise, because it includes a blessing. While even our parents may not always appreciate our efforts to honor them, if our works are sincere and grounded in the love of God, we will be blessed by Him.
As you look to the concise words of Peter, “Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king,” I hope you can see the importance of honour. How can we love others without also honouring them? We cannot. So then honour all men. Amen.