Monday, February 23, 2009


Now to the word "honor." You will recall I am addressing the charge laid at the feet of someone that the thing they did was "unreasonable" and "dishonorable." This said because the accuser disagreed with the action taken. Check the last two posts if there is any need for further context.

I do confess that I often wonder about this honor thing when faced with a difficult action I am thinking of performing that may be questioned. This, because it may be that my greatest concern for any thing I do is that I might hear said of it, "That wasn't an honorable thing to do." [Lacking in integrity] So I have some additional and final thoughts on this difficult word...honor.

I say difficult because I'm not sure I often see it in myself. Maybe that's because I sometimes have all these secret or hidden from view thoughts and feelings that I have to fight through when making a difficult choice in an action. Add to that my inability, often times, to honestly examine my own motives [Owning them truthfully since I tend to want to assign good motives to myself too quickly.] and I find myself in a conundrum about my own honor. But I do often think, correctly or incorrectly, I recognize it when I see it in others. [Or don't see it.] Oh how wrong a person can be as we shall see. But wherever this difficult word is really present in reality, I think, as a virtue, it has little to do with being reasonable. [There's THAT word again.]

I do know, however, that it is just as "dishonorable" [lacking in integrity] for a person to allow themselves to be used or abused by others out of a fear of offending the abuser OR standing by while others are used/abused when it is within one's power to stop it, as it is "dishonorable" for a person to personally use/abuse other people.

I also think that we as preachers may have honed the using of other people, which may be our greatest sin, to an art as revealed in our rhetoric which is the stuff of legend in the ministerial fraternity. [Consider the attendance and decision reports at years end as if it validates the success or failure of the ministry of a church...."my church" pastors often revealingly say.]

If one asks "how should we report?" I would simply say, after questioning if reporting is truly needed at all, that... until... we start talking in our reports about the number of marriages saved through counseling or families assisted in needs, food clothes and shelter being provided, or people with addictions [be they food, money, sex, drugs, religion, power, addictions] being helped, as well as the number of people brought to faith in Christ and discipled in their walk... and... when we speak of our serving the congregation who has decided on certain doctrinal issues after study and prayer as a body, we haven't begun to address what I'm refering to here.

We have become, IMHO, a generation of professed christians, especially preachers, who may be more likened to users and abusers seeking control and power, sold under a different name, [doing ministry or serving] but looking nothing like real biblical ministry or service. But I digress.

I realize all this goes to motivation and only affirms the truth Paul delivered in 1 Corinthians 4:5 when he said, "Therefore judge nothing
[who was the greatest pastor/servant-Paul-Peter-Apollos] before the time...[the return of the Lord]...who will bring to light hidden things that are in the dark...and will reveal the motives of the heart...etc..." [The Message]

I guess we are ALL forced to wait until then to know the truth about some things one does that may seem honorable to some and dishonorable to others. Integrity or honor may be a bit more elusive than one would think at first glance.

One thing I know with one can say with any certainty about another that they are a dishonorable person [or honorable for that matter] and have any real veracity attached to their assessment. All we can truthfully evaluate is what they have DONE that we are aware of personally. We may challenge things done as to their being right or wrong according to our moral, ethical, or perceived biblical standard but the person's honor/character/integrity will have to be left with God whose servant they are. The day WILL declare it. Maybe Robert Frost was right after all.

Paul B.


Anonymous said...

I do want to think the best of me....don't I? I guess I need to re-read the sermon on the mount.

Paul Burleson said...


By all means think the best of yourself as long as you understand the best of you is WHO you are by the Grace of God.

Along side that should be the reality of thinking honestly about HOW you behave often times that evidences the need to GROW in the Grace of God at work in you.

I'm assuming until the resurrection there will be in you, as there is in me, the continuing warfare between the flesh and the Spirit.

Thanks for stopping by.

Strider said...

I would add more to honor than you have covered here. Romans 12 demands that we 'outdo one another' in honoring each other. 1 Cor 13 is in similar vein when it says love 'hopes all things, believes all things.' We do not honor each other as we ought. What you have written is certainly true as far as it goes and I am not trying to refute you- I am wanting instead for us to go farther than merely 'not judging' one another for now. I want us to be biblical and Christ-like and esteem each other as God intends for us to do. So often what happens on these blogs is the opposite of this. Men and women get on the comment streams and go out of their way to find fault and twist words. You have been gracious to me and honored me more than once and I have been blessed by that. That is how it should be. The old song said,
'We will work with each other we will work side by side.... and we'll guard each man's dignity and save each man's pride and they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love, yes they'll know we are Christians by our love.'
Thank you for doing this so many times and in such gracious ways.

Paul Burleson said...


"I would add more to honor than you have covered here."

You got that right.

In context I was really addressing the idea that someone could accuse another of being dishonorable in something they do since whether something is honorable is really a matter of the heart and only God knows that. But what you've said is a needed and wise word for all of us. Thanks.

ezekiel said...


We have become, IMHO, a generation of professed christians, especially preachers, who may be more likened to users and abusers seeking control and power, sold under a different name, [doing ministry or serving] but looking nothing like real biblical ministry or service."

I think in the context of your recent posts the problem at the core is honor and how we perceive it, understand it and desire it. All part of the human condition.

Usually, nothing good comes from seeking honor, desiring honor or demanding honor. (From men that is). We see and experience a lot of all of it these days.

At the end of the day, as we are transformed into the image of our Savior we will change the way we look at honor. We will start to see it as HE did.

The honor we seek will be the same honor HE desired.

Joh 5:41 I receive not glory from men [I crave no human honor, I look for no mortal fame],
Joh 5:42 But I know you and recognize and understand that you have not the love of God in you.
Joh 5:43 I have come in My Father's name and with His power, and you do not receive Me [your hearts are not open to Me, you give Me no welcome]; but if another comes in his own name and his own power and with no other authority but himself, you will receive him and give him your approval.
Joh 5:44 How is it possible for you to believe [how can you learn to believe], you who [are content to seek and] receive praise and honor and glory from one another, and yet do not seek the praise and honor and glory which come from Him Who alone is God?

Then we will begin to see honor as something the Father deserves for the work, His work that he does in us and through us.

Mat 5:11 Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous--with life-joy and satisfaction in God's favor and salvation, regardless of your outward conditions) are you when people revile you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil things against you falsely on My account.
Mat 5:12 Be glad and supremely joyful, for your reward in heaven is great (strong and intense), for in this same way people persecuted the prophets who were before you. [II Chron. 36:16.]
Mat 5:13 You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste (its strength, its quality), how can its saltness be restored? It is not good for anything any longer but to be thrown out and trodden underfoot by men.
Mat 5:14 You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.
Mat 5:15 Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a peck measure, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house.
Mat 5:16 Let your light so shine before men that they may see your moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds and recognize and honor and praise and glorify your Father Who is in heaven.

Joh 8:50 However, I am not in search of honor for Myself. [I do not seek and am not aiming for My own glory.] There is One Who [looks after that; He] seeks [My glory], and He is the Judge.

Mat 10:17-22 is there for a reason. The closer we get to the end the uglier it is going to get. I would be very concerned if I was the focal point for man's honor rather than the KING's.

Just my two cents worth.

Lin said...

"We have become, IMHO, a generation of professed christians, especially preachers, who may be more likened to users and abusers seeking control and power, sold under a different name, [doing ministry or serving] but looking nothing like real biblical ministry or service. But I digress."

No, you do not digress. This is exactly the underlying issue with all of it. It becomes protecting the 'ministry' even if it means leaving a trail of discarded folks who dared to question. Sacrificing one to save others? It just does not work that way.

ezekiel said...


I am beginning to think it works that way a whole lot more than we think it does There once was a precedent set....

John 11:50 Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.

It looks more and more like it is working the same way today.

Paul Burleson said...


I've been out of pocket and off line for the biggest part of four days doing a "men's camp" in Cincinnati and preaching at Highland Hills church yesterday and missed your comments. Good conversation. Keep coming by.

Paul Burleson said...


I'm wondering if perhaps there may be several aspects of 'honor' in play in this comment section.

One seems to be what I wanted to address which is declaring or deciding someone is dishonorable because of something they say or do with which I disagree. I think whether they are truly an honorable/dishonorable person can only be known when their heart is truly known.

A second is the attempt on the part of many to attain an honored [exalted] position or reputation in ministry regardless of it's cost in human suffering or wreckage. This, because of a false notion that to seek honor is legitimate. [Which it isn't]

A third is a need to give honor or a sense of worth to people even if we disagree with their ideas/actions.

Strider may be right. A full study of honor may need to be tackled.