Honor others whether they deserve it or not.
I’ll never forget Sport, the conscientious hunting dog who respected himself and everyone else.
Dogs rarely enjoy being picked up, but there is a “correct” way: arms under the legs at the joints, perhaps let the paws rest on your arms. But, Sport wouldn’t have any of it. Only his master, a 16 year old animal prodigy who trained dogs for hunters in the greater area, was allowed to pick up Sport, even then under protest.
If I tried to scoop up Sport, he would get low, growl fiercely, then humbly cower in respect. I’d try again, Sport would diplomatically growl and use all his skill to prevent being picked up, then return to his humble bow. I have never seen such respect. Sport’s honor toward me left a mark on my heart.
Honoring others is not the same as obeying them, except by coincidence.
Generally, children should obey their parents because if their parents are wrong then children can rarely explain why—except in those incredibly humbling moments when God speaks to us through the mouths of babes. No one ever fully grows up. Parents usually find themselves humbled by their children’s wisdom when failing to honor their children.
My father had to file for guardianship of his mother, which the judge granted without hesitation. “It wasn’t what she wanted,” he explained, “but it indeed was honoring to her.”
Honor is the command to all children toward their parents in the Old Testament, Paul applied this with young children as “obedience”. Paul also taught parents to not provoke children, and he taught women to honor men, yet men to love women—a complementary, beautiful difference in honoring the genders.
Honor could be understood, in simple terms, as treating someone as a king or queen—and acting like a worthy king or queen oneself.
Showing honor toward others says a great deal about the person who shows honor and almost nothing about the person being honored. Showing honor is honorable.
Counselor Troy said, “Respect is earned, not bestowed.” Tony Soprano said, “Those who want respect give respect.”
If you want honor, be honorable: Show honor to others.