The Importance of Honor - Pandemic Stress #5
Gary Smalley was a Christian who knew a lot about stress in relationships. Why? Because his own marriage was failing. When he set out to discover why relationships like his suffered, he found it came down – at its root – to one thing: Honor . . . or really the lack thereof. This inspired Dr. Smalley to put his research into books and seminars that would help thousands of people experience less stressful, healthier relationships.
The now late Dr. Smalley said that honor can be defined as attaching high value to someone or something. As an illustration in one seminar, he borrowed a Stradivarius violin (now valued in the millions) and passed it around the room. As people looked at this priceless object, they were allowed to feel a sense of awe in being able to handle something so valuable. Smalley then explained that if we can value each other as we do this inanimate object, it will drastically change the way we interact with them.
Smalley went on to say that honor is a choice that we make. In other words, we have the ability to decide to hold another person in high value whether we feel it emotionally or not. In his research, he further found that six weeks of choosing to honor someone actually leads to a change in our emotional feelings toward them. It even works, they found, with things like a job. Choosing to value our workplace, our home, or the people in our lives – even those who are difficult to get along with – will actually change our attitude toward it or them, how we interact, and our stress level.
Maybe, just maybe, this is why the Bible says to “Outdo one another in showing honor,” (Romans 12:10) and “In humility count others more significant than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3) Obviously, this is not easy. We want our own way. We think our opinion is right. We have a built in “fight or flight” mechanism that has been affected by the fall. But we as Christians also have something that others don’t. The power of the Holy Spirit!
Let’s look at it this way. Who in the world benefits from stress, high blood pressure, aggressive or repressive anger, and the like? What’s the true cost when we “get our way” but the people close to us are hurt or angry? What’s the cost when we turn people off to Jesus with our words and actions? No . . . it’s not easy, but it sure beats the alternative. And let’s not forget that any time we follow Scripture, we act in harmony with Him, increasing our joy, and ultimately reaping God’s blessing. Not to mention that honor begets honor. People naturally value those who value them.
Think of Jesus – God in the flesh – taking the towel to wash His disciple’s feet. How does that stack up against demanding our own way, or getting in the last word? On the contrary, as Christ followers, we are to love, build up, encourage, value, and honor others. As we do, we will not only lower our own stress level, we will be glorifying Christ and drawing others to Him.
As the Corona Virus, protests and other personal stressors come into our lives, let us determine to show honor, and see what God will do in our lives.