Honor One Another (revised)
Romans 12:10 (NIV)
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.
The instruction to honor one another appears at the end of this passage. When taken in context it is intended as a suggested result of the first instruction. Paul says to be devoted to one another… in brotherly love. In other words, honoring each other is one of the ingredients that goes into the act of devoted loving.
To understand the depth of what this passage is saying it is necessary to form clear definitions of two of the terms used. The first is the word devoted, which stems from devotion. To be devoted is to be in a state of devotion, so let us define devotion.
Just what is devotion, and what is required to be in a state of devotion?
The dictionary defines devotion as…
Devotion : from the Latin, devotus, meaning - A feeling of strong fervent affection; dedication; or ardent love. (i.e. "Their devotion to each other was beautiful.") A commitment to someone, some thing, or some purpose. (i.e. attachment, loyalty.) The Greek term used is philostorgos.
To be devoted is to carry a strong affection and dedication with an ardent or genuine love. It is to hold a commitment to the other person, a sense of attachment and loyalty that is always at the ready.
This is our instruction for brotherly love as it relates to members in the “Body of Christ.”
Reflection for Thought
1. How many of us look at our brothers and sisters in this way, and if we do manage to do it, do we remain at the ready… doing it all the time?
2. What can we do to better follow the instruction of “Devotion” in our relationships with familiar church members, and the Body of Christ at large?
The second term brings us to the word that is the focus of this study… Honor. We not only hear and read it in scripture, but it’s also tossed around in everyday use. As with the term devoted, I ask that a clear view of the meaning of the word Honor be established.
How do we view the word “Honor”, and how do we use that view in light of our faith relationship? What is it’s definition?
Honor is defined as…
Honor : from the Latin, honos, or honoris, meaning - The evaluation of a person's trustworthiness and social status based on that individual's integrity and character. That quality signifying approval, distinction, and or respect; the equivalent of reputation. The Greek term used is time, (pronounced ta-may) which literary means value.
Here the emphasis is on the value of a person, and the effort to uphold it in high regard. The instruction is to place value on those around us in such a way that their value is above our own.
When dealing with a church member, we put into play things like trustworthiness, integrity, and status (how they are viewed by others) to assess the character of that member. In doing so we sometimes error by passing judgment on, and condemnation to... them; instead of allowing discernment for evaluation of the person, to be our focus. In keeping with the command to love one another, addressing the persons need is the goal. Discernment must be used to make a determination of the members level of approval, distinction, and respect. These are values that must be set in order to supply care at their level of need.
Success and Value
Encouragement For Restoration
There is a path that must be followed if value is to be found. When it comes to our brothers and sisters in Christ - in order for us to find value in them... they need to be on that path, seeking to draw near to its end. Again, value is waiting for those are indeed on the path. However, its not a pile of something waiting at the journey's end. Instead, its the accumulation of things gained along the way. The task is in finding the path... and then, in remaining on it.
Matthew 7:14 (NIV)
But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
As followers of Christ, we are given direction that points to the path... with condition. In order to meet that condition, we must first accept and then, with diligent dedication... follow Him indeed. Jesus came from place at the end of the road, and so far He is the only one who has went back to the place He came from. His sole purpose in coming in the first place was to be the light of the world. The light that shines in the darkness so the path could be found... to show us the way. All this to ensure that we attain restoration to the value God intended for us to have.
Psalm 119:104-105 (NIV)
I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
The value spoken of is the "Godly Character" developed as we follow after Christ. Just as He was devoted to showing us the way... so must we be devoted to our brothers and sisters. Loving them involves encouraging them and assisting in the establishment of their Godly Character. Since they are members of the "Body" and therefore Christian, we make it our effort to restore them when they are found lacking. This is what the process of edification is all about. We must understand that God intends a value far greater than we can now see or comprehend. In trusting Him, we attribute value to those among us, and lend our hand in ensuring their restoration to a place of honor. In doing so, we become honorable in the process. We all follow the path and pick up little pieces of value along the way.
Galatians 6:1-2 (NIV
Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
1. Using these passages from Galatians along with the definitions and discussion of Biblical Principle will help to bring meaning to our “One Anothering” verse.
2. Let us regard those among us in “The Body of Christ” with “Honor” (value), and be “Devoted” (attached and loyal) to them with brotherly love.