Men of Honor
Many books have been written about the inspiring stories of men who have climbed the highest mountains in spite of insurmountable odds; men who have fought bravely in wars and sacrificed their lives for their country; policemen, fire fighters and rescue teams who have risked and given their lives to help and save others. They are the heroes who have shaped the course of history and inspired others to new heights. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to these men. However, I want to focus on a unique character trait present in all men that also change the lives of those around them and even the course of history. It is something that is not just reserved for a few mighty men of valour, although it also requires courage, perseverance, faithfulness and a willingness to serve, and even lay down their lives, daily, for others.
THE CODE OF HONOR
I am referring to the life-changing commission of God to walk in honor. Living by the Code of Honor as an all consuming value that we need to apply in every relationship.
Honor gives respect, dignity and worth to those we deal with daily. I am referring to men who treat their wives and children with respect and honor and lift them up to all that they can be; men who walk in moral purity and financial integrity and don’t abuse their positions of power.
This is mostly done beyond the public view, quietly and inconspicuously serving and honoring in their attitudes, words, actions, business deals and many other areas of life.
Honor is something available to every man, every day. It may not make newspaper headlines, but it could alter the course of history for individuals, families, communities and nations.
TAKE COURAGE, BE A MAN!
1 Kings 2:1-3 says “As the time of King David’s death approached, he gave this charge to his son Solomon: ‘I am going where everyone on earth must someday go…Take courage and be a man…Observe the requirements of the Lord your God, and follow all His ways. Keep the decrees, commands, regulations, and Laws written in the Law of Moses so that you will be successful in all you do and wherever you go.’”
Why would David speak these final words to his son? David knew that of all inheritances/blessings he could pass on to his son, this was the most important: “Son, be a ‘Man of Honor’ - one who is worthy, a champion, a man of integrity, might and valour.”
When we look around the world today, at all the moral failures, financial betrayals, political corruption and the lack of Godly leadership in all domains of society, we realise that many people are born male, but very few have been raised to be ‘men’!
TAKE AND MAINTAIN THE MORAL HIGH GROUND IN LIFE
It is amazing how the days come and go, full of routine and responsibility. Then suddenly, one day, something happens that impacts and changes you forever; a ‘day of destiny’.
I had received a call from a man asking to see me regarding a marital problem. During our time together I asked him about his background. He told me of his days as a young boy growing up in Scotland and how, at the age of eighteen, he had been enlisted in a Scottish regiment. It was a Scottish tradition for young men to serve in a regiment representing their clan. After he shared the details of his training and the prestige attached to this regiment, he told me a story that changed my life.
During World War II, his Scottish Regiment was fighting alongside the Allied forces in Europe and they were under severe artillery-fire from the enemy on top of a strategic hill. Their commander had received orders to capture the hill and destroy the enemy stronghold. Their captain assembled the regiment and told them that the following morning they would charge up the hill, capture the gun encampment and plant their regiment’s flag on the top. It was an assignment of dangerous proportions yet great honor for their regiment.
He then told them to look at the man to their left and right. “At least one or perhaps two of you may not return from the battle,” he said. For the honor of the regiment and their clan, they should be ready to lay down their lives for the men beside them as they seized the mountain.
The next day the men charged up that hill! The front soldier took the bullets so that the man behind could advance a few metres further. He would then take the bullets so that the man behind him could get closer to the top. That day the men took the hill, defeated the enemy and raised their regiment’s flag. I was stunned by that story. “Why would anyone be so brave and willingly give his life for the soldier behind him?” I asked. His reply was life changing: “For the honor of the regiment and the honor of their clan!”
These were men who willingly sacrificed their lives for the sake of honoring their family, clan and regiment; men who took back the moral high ground to establish peace. What kind of world would we live in if men still held the value of honor so highly?
Our world is reeling from the lack of Godly leadership that men should be displaying. There are very few men today who willingly sacrifice anything, let alone their lives, for the sake of honoring those around them. The level of integrity, responsibility and honor found in men, directly correlates to the state of the world we live in today.
VIOLATION OF TRUST
The office of the president and political leaders used to be highly revered and depended on by the people of a nation. However, today we see politicians who are prepared to allow their people to suffer poverty, starvation and abuse in the wake of their pursuit of political power.
Around the world we see millions of people suffering and dying as the result of the selfish exploits of political leaders. We are also exposed to financial corruption through the personal greed and deceit of business leaders as they violate the trust placed in them.
In many countries, the divorce rate is well-over 50%. Statistics reveal that the average male will have numerous sexual partners during his life. It seems that faithfulness in marriage is no longer valued. Only 34% of all children born in America will live with both biological parents through to age eighteen.
The ‘family’, established by God to be the foundation of society, is disintegrating before our eyes. It is a crisis that is literally threatening the stability and future well-being of our lives and that of generations to follow. “Historically, when the family begins to break down, everything from the effectiveness of government to the general welfare of people, is negatively impacted.” (Dr. James Dobson, ‘Bringing up boys’)
What will become of us if we continue in this apathetic complacency? If men honored their wives and kept the marriage bed undefiled (Heb 13:4) we would certainly see the divorce rate drop significantly. Children would grow up under the protection and blessing of honor and would, in turn, inherit a blessing when they honor their parents. “Honor your father and mother, so you will live well and have a long life.” Eph 6:2,3. Honor in families will produce unity in a nation. This will reduce poverty, corruption, crime, mistrust and stress. Unity in families results in peace and prosperity and affects all areas of life.
For instance, productivity in the work place could potentially more than double! Imagine how that would improve the economy and our standard of living.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
We live in a world in which anything goes. ‘If it feels good, do it!’ People consider it their constitutional right to do whatever they want. Our consciences have been seared. It’s time for men of honor to make a stand against moral compromise, corruption and evil.
Righteousness exalts a nation. It took a lot of courage for that regiment to charge up the hill and establish the moral high ground so that the Allied forces could be delivered from the enemy. I stood with my Scottish friend and prayed a prayer of re-commissioning him into God’s army. He later went home, took his ‘mountain’ and restored his marriage!
CROWNED WITH GLORY
“What is man that You are mindful of him, the son of man that You visit him, for You have made him a little lower than the angels and You have crowned him with glory and honour” Ps 8:4-5. We have been chosen by God, crowned with glory and honor and given dominion over all of God’s creation.
This prominence in the order of Creation implies huge intrinsic worth, not only for mankind but also for each one of us.
LIVING IN HONOR
A person who understands this position of honor will then seek to honor others. In fact, without honor there can be no genuine love. To give honor, we need to speak to people, especially those closest to us, in a gentle affirming way. Honor treats people with consideration, compassion, respect and appreciation; it constantly communicates acceptance and praise and confers dignity and value.
Genuine, sincere encouragement and honoring should be our delight and responsible attitude towards others. Imparting acceptance and value can literally transform the lives of those around you.
Honor is the ‘Atmosphere’ of Heaven
In his vision of Heaven in the Book of Revelation, John sees and hears every living creature worshipping Jesus and singing, “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor.” This singing is continual and never ceasing, creating an atmosphere of honor. Honoring can change the atmosphere in your marriage, home, office, church, sports team and our nation. Do not allow your titles, positions of importance or pride to get in the way of adopting a humble attitude and giving praise and honour to those around you.
HONOR VS SHAME
Shame means to have feelings of rejection or lack of value, a deep sense of unworthiness and brokenness of identity. It entrenches negative feelings about who you are and your purpose in life. Often we are not conscious of deep-rooted shame in our lives, but it can surface through irritability, anger, rejection, anxiety, fear, depression, confusion, constant criticism of others and the putting down of oneself.
We confer shame upon people when we speak to them and treat them in a derogatory way; when we undermine their value through constant criticism, sarcasm or withdrawing of our love and affection. Honor and shame are huge opposing forces and will have a great impact on how we live our lives and how we relate to others. Honor results in unity, harmony, peace, love, joy and blessing for all. Shame in our lives and our relationships will result in contention, frustration, anger, hurt, pain, loneliness and division.
RE-ASSESS YOUR POSITION
When we experience a revelation of our ‘position of honor’ in God, through Jesus Christ, our lives are changed forever. We can then begin to live in such a way as to create an ‘atmosphere’ of honor in our homes, office and daily relationships. Our choice to bless or curse, honor or shame should not be dependent on the way other people deal with us, but on our position of honor and God’s empowering Grace.