I know I already wrote a post today, but I think I'll post another today anyway. The first one was just to get something off my chest. This post promises to be much more coherent and more applicable to people besides myself.
This last weekend Pastor Steven started a series about honor. Honestly, I've never thought much about honor specifically until I got involved at Elevation. In fact, with the exception of people literally reading from the Bible, I don't think I've ever even heard honor spoken of in a church I've attended... until Elevation. In retrospect, after hearing what Pastor Steven had to say about honor, and seeing the way most Christians I've encountered in the past behave, it makes a LOT of sense that nobody was talking about it.
The reason I bring up this particular sermon (I usually don't explicitly share commentary on sermons... I mean you can just go watch them online... and I wholeheartedly recommend that you do that!) is that I got to apply it in a pretty interesting way.
One point that REALLY stuck out to me when Pastor was speaking was that "honor is about what I decide, not what they deserve." What's that mean? Well, sometimes we have to choose to honor someone (treat them as someone of value and worth) when they aren't behaving as such. Pastor provided a powerful example of this idea from his own life, and then made an observation that I've been thinking about since. When we decide to honor someone who doesn't honor us back, God will honor us for our faithfulness to Him and His purposes. God honored us by giving us Jesus when we didn't deserve it... so why can't I honor someone who I don't feel is deserving of my respect or patience? That idea has been in my head constantly. Its really changing the way I think about interacting with others.
I heard this sermon Saturday afternoon. Sunday morning I went to work. From the start that day the kids weren't stable. For no particular reason they were agitated, upset, and just down right non compliant. Before lunch I'd been called every profane word you can think of, I'd gotten a chair thrown at me, and had my hair pulled a good bit. I SO wanted to get annoyed, angry, frustrated, but the word honor kept floating around in my head. So, I put a smile on my face. I used my best therapeutic voice. I prayed that God would give me the words to provide comfort and clarity to the kids on my floor who were struggling that day.
Well, for the most part, the kids that were struggling kept on struggling throughout the day. I didn't think anyone had noticed my approach, but I trusted that, as Pastor Steven had said, God would honor me because I honored these kids... even when they didn't act so honorable. I didn't want to limit God's blessing in my life or anyone else's, so I did the best I could to keep a happy face on, even when the profanity (and sometimes the furniture) was flying.
Well, when I finally took a break I sat down in the hallway on my floor to enjoy a diet coke... One of the most well behaved kids I have the pleasure to work with came out to go to the bathroom. She asked if she could talk to me. Despite being on break, I figured I might as well see what she wanted. She told me that she didn't understand how I stayed so calm all day. She said she wanted me to know that all the things her peer had said about me earlier in the day weren't true, and that she appreciated that I sacrificed my time to come to work and make sure she and her peers were taken care of. Rarely do I get such a comment from one of my patients. Even now, Im getting a little teary eyed thinking about her kind words. God really demonstrated to me that Pastor Steven's point was true. When you honor someone who doesn't honor you, God will find a way to bless you.
Inevitably, we'll come across someone who doesn't really deserve our honor. I can tell you though, that giving it anyway will bring a blessing. I'm working on making this an all the time practice. I hope you will too.