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Leading people into a maturing new life in Jesus Christ

The 10-day Honor Challenge

Romans 10:12 says: “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” (ESV)

honorI am part of a small group that has been meeting by phone each month because of the great distances that separate us — from Stanwood to Seattle. At the end of 2016 we decided to begin 2017 by meeting together by phone every night for the first 10 days of the new year and exploring the meaning of the word “honor” as it relates to our interactions with the people we live and work with in our daily lives.

Our challenge was to find someone each day that we could honor, and then report back to the group what had happened. The “honor report” quickly became our favorite part of the evening as the stories began to stack up. We also became very aware of the times we had failed to honor people or worse — had “dishonored” people by engaging in negativity or gossip. We learned that it’s easy to honor people who honor you, but very difficult to hold out honor for someone who is actively dishonoring you — especially if it’s happening in front of others. We also learned that it can be especially difficult to show honor to those closest to us: those we live with, our family members, close friends that have said hurtful things, etc. Showing honor often involves humility; and humility is not an easy thing to live out. Nor is it easy to honor someone you disagree with. Too often we are willing to sacrifice the relationship on the altar of “being right”!

I had sent out a questionnaire about the experiences we had had during the first 10 days of January, and two members of our group have agreed to share them with you:

Q. What are some of the ways that you have tried to honor people over the last 10 days?

Jasmine: I honored people by speaking well of others, treating others with respect, doing acts of kindness, thinking good thoughts of the people around me, and praying for others and with others who need prayer.

Marisol: I tried to tell people how important they are in my life, especially the qualities that I see in them. I also tried to bless their lives by praying for them; for instance, that they be prospered — lots of good wishes!

Q. What were some of the difficulties that you ran into in trying to honor people?

Jasmine: Some days it was hard to do anything because my day ended up being so busy with all that I had to do in my day…I would lose sight of who and what I was honoring.

Marisol: How easily I dishonored people in general by being critical of them or thinking more about their mistakes than their good points! And with those closest to me, expecting them to meet my expectations and not make — what I consider to be — mistakes.

Q. How did honoring others over 10 days impact you?

Jasmine: I felt this overflowing joy of knowing that God was using me to honor others. It was so nice to be aware of how I treat others and to see how a person can impact others in the smallest of ways.

Marisol: It was satisfying. It made me happy. It helped me make a decision to change and be less critical of others.

Q. What experience stands out in your mind that took place during the 10 days?

Jasmine: One of the most impacting days of honoring people happened when I was done with work and realized that I had not honored anyone yet. I decided to start praying to God to make an opportunity for me to honor someone. I was going into Target to look for a gift, when I saw one of my students from the preschool who was shopping with her mother and little sister. I quickly said hello and kept walking down some aisles. As I walked down three aisles I heard my student say to her mother that she needed to find me and give me a hug because I was her favorite teacher and she missed me. I thought it was so sweet because it had just been a few minutes since we left the school.

As my student and her sister started yelling my name in the aisles of Target, I popped my head out of one of the aisles. Her mother asked, “Is it okay if they give you a hug?” I said, “Of course.” I came up to the cart and gave my student a hug and then her little sister who kept saying “Me too, me too!” As I started to get back up, I turned to look at their mother. When I did, I saw that her eyes were tearing up. Then she asked for a hug too. I said, “Of course! You guys are just like family.” She said, “Thank you for being in my children’s life.”

Then I walked away and as I was leaving I said, “Thank you, Lord, for honoring all of us in that moment!” It was a great way to end a work day. What I have learned is: I should try to be aware of how I honor and dishonor people because I am God’s holy temple; I am His example in this crazy, selfish world. As I start treating others the way God would treat others, I start impacting my world in a positive, contagious way.

Marisol: My experience with my dad. I was very specific with him about what a good father he had been for me, about his being a good provider, about my being grateful for the private, Christian education he had given me; about all the trips and vacations he had taken me on….

His response was, “Thank you, honey, for acknowledging what I did. This is so very important for me to hear at this moment in my life!”

So, what about you? Are you ready and willing to take the 10-day Honor Challenge? You could start right now! Keep a daily journal for 10 days and see how God sets up appointments for you and how people react to your words and actions of honor. You have the questionnaire, so tell us how your world is being impacted! Can’t wait to hear your stories! (Send your responses to Lettie Hylarides).


Contributed by Lettie Hylarides

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