I remember talking with a friend about marriage one day and she said that if she ever got married that she would never take her husband’s last name. When I told her that I would take my husband’s name if I got married, she asked me why I’d ever do that. It was an interesting question, I hadn’t really had to explain this decision before. “Well,” I said, “I would do it to honour my husband and his family.” Her face looked confused by my answer. “Honour? What does that even mean?” And so, here I am wanting to understand that very question. Honour was a foreign word and concept to my friend, but really, I don’t think that point of view is that uncommon nowadays.
High respect; esteem.
Regard with great respect.
credit - respect - homage - dignity - glory
respect - esteem - venerate - revere - dignify
When I think of the word honour, I think about a badge of honour. Honour is a concept that is based in the perceived quality of a person or thing. An honourable man, for example, can be judged by their adherence to a culture’s moral code. This person of honour will earn the respect and even reverence, in some cases, of the people around him. However, for that respect to mean anything, it has to be followed by an action. That being said, the word, honour as a verb is what I really want to focus on. To honour someone, to me, means doing something nice for them, or living in a way that will bring them honour. The idea of honouring those in authority over us, such as our parents or our leaders in government, is important to remember. I feel like honour may be a forgotten word because people are equating honour with self-denial, which is really not a popular way of thinking in our Western culture. We are people of immediate gratification — we have to have what we want right now.
Today’s individualistic society sees honour as a noun, not a verb. It is something we give, and not something that we do. But if we want to honour our parents, friends, spouses, etc this requires thinking about someone before ourselves. Heaven forbid, we actually would have to deny ourselves in deference to someone else. I’m just as guilty of this individualistic thinking. The idea of ‘looking out for #1’ is a way that we can get ahead or protect ourselves from disappointment, but it also interrupts the act of honouring others.
I want to have honour be a part of my regular vocabulary again. When I sing, “I honour You, Lord” in church, I want my life to reflect that. This Easter weekend reinforces my desire to live in way that honours the sacrifice that Christ made on the cross. Honour is not an old-fashioned concept, as my friend once thought. It is something to strive for. Because if we can’t even take honour seriously, where are we headed?
Don’t let honour be forgotten anymore.
“The Father judges no one, but has given all judgement to the Son, that all may honour the Son, just as they honour the Father. Whoever does not honour the Son does not honour the Father who sent him” (John 5: 22-23)