#navbar-iframe {display: none !important;}

Friday, February 26, 2016

Honor in Their Eyes

I've been talking with my friend about this very topic the past few weeks, about honor. He's an ADVANCE student, 18 years old, a senior at Fort Mill High School. He's been in our ministry for most of his high school carer. We traveled to Colombia, South America with a team two summers ago and once you travel on a global mission trip together, you have a bond. And really, the thing about being a pastor is how much you cherish, value, and cheer on those in your ministry. Truly. 

My friend has really been moved by the latest series "The Lost Art of Honor." It's been a really important one for him. The past few Sundays, he's excitedly texted and we've had some really cool conversations about what David has said the past few weeks and what honor can look like in the life of a teenager. When I asked if he'd help me with some blog thoughts, he said, "well I feel honored right now."

I loved that comment so much. Because receiving honor fuels giving honor. Those who receive honor give it. What an honorable cycle. 

I'm really proud of this student, of this newfound fire he has to value and treat others with honor. Honor for our teenagers, for our next generation, is incredibly critical. Honor is not a thing of the past, it must be the heartbeat of how we interact with one another. Honor is, at its core understanding that everyone is worthy of value and respect. It is recognizing the image of God in one another. My friend describes honor as "going out of your way," and there is something so gracious about that. Honor is not just doing what is expected, but is giving grace upon grace. It is calling out to others, "I see you, I respect you, I value you, I care about you, and I will sacrifice self to show you."

Honor is grace.

In a middle school cafeteria or a high school classroom, that can be a really tough concept to grasp. People can be unkind and cruel, dramatic and stubborn. If you remember way back (way, way back for some of us), the teenage years are tough years. They are identity altering years, a character defining time, and where God is in the midst of it is a question we have all wrestled with. The lies of a teenage mind are loud and the drum of insecurity can beat really, really loudly. So much is changing. I remind my teenage friends all the time that the core of who they are never changes - loved, belonged, worth dying for, child of God. That is the good news.

So, the question our teenagers are wrestling with and the one we're trying to help them get to is this. How can honor exist in an environment like this?

Honor starts by honoring God. Our relationship with God sets the tone for so much, for the health of our relationships and the health of our own identity. We honor God by spending time with Him, by loving one another, by seeking His help, by prioritizing faith and His way of life. When others are dishonorable, it is God who helps us honor them. My friend says that it is easy to forget where honor starts, but it starts with God. How true and right and good that is.

I think of the fruit of the spirit of kindness, and I think how much it connects with honor. Kindness can change lives, set people free, welcome people in despite who they are or what they've done. Kindness communicates value and communicates worth. The same can be said of honor, what a closely related marriage between the two. It is believing the best about one another, encouraging instead of criticizing. In it purest form, it is simply treating people right.

I had a dear friend named Tee, who embodied this kind of honor and who I look to often as my example. I met Tee when he was a senior at Fort Mill High School a few years ago. At his memorial service this past fall, I heard story after story of how his kindness had changed lives. One by one, people from all walks of life, from all cliques and social groups at Fort Mill High, stood up and shared how an encounter with Tee had made them feel safe and valuable. I remember hearing their words and their stories and thinking over and over again what a life, what a legacy. People felt honored by the way Tee treated them.

Tee understood that people matter, he understood that people are worthy to be welcomed in. His smile, his personality, his character, reflected the belief that every moment and every human being is sacred. There are no exceptions. Actions have influence, and yes, did Tee influence towards love and belonging. He impacted a community. 

Kindness and honor bring heaven to earth.

Our teenagers are reclaiming honor, they truly are. They are grappling with what it looks like to be kind in the battlefield. They are asking good questions, seeking hard after God, pursuing love and goodness in a world that is hard, sinful, and broken. They inspire me daily.

No comments:

Post a Comment