3 Powerful, Practical Principles for Honoring Others

(Unsplash/Andreas Weiland)

In Psalm 8, David writes, ""For you have made him a little lower than the angels, and crowned him with glory and honor" (Ps. 8:5). As I was reading and reflecting on Psalm 8 this week, that word "honor" caught my attention and left me intrigued. With further study, "honor" is from the Hebrew word, hadar (Strong's #1926). It speaks of the intrinsic dignity of every human being because each one has been made in the image of God.

What does this have to do with you? Plenty. Each person in your family, church, community and workplace deserves to be valued because they have been created in the image of God. That can be hard; I get it. Some people are difficult, disturbing and at times downright annoying, and yet Scripture calls us to honor them.

As I was thinking through what this might look like in your life and mine, I turned to Psalm 15, another masterpiece of David. Tucked away in this Psalm, I found three practical principles for honoring others:

Speak the Truth (Ps. 15:2). In other words, don't lie to each other. Instead, speak the truth in love. In Ephesians 4:15, Paul writes the very same thing; we're instructed as believers to speak the truth to others. Sometimes this might be more challenging than you anticipate. It's hard to speak the truth if you just want to keep others happy all the time. It's hard to speak the truth if you know that by bringing up the truth, the other person is going to go "wiggy" on you. Yet the principle is clear. If you want to honor others, you need to commit to speaking the truth.

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Shed a Positive Light on Others; Don't Slander Them (Ps. 15:3). Again, easy to say, harder to not do. Let me ask you: Do you have a reputation of painting others in a positive light? Or do others wonder what you've said behind their backs because you have a reputation of cutting others down? Slander can be cracking jokes about others or simply speaking disparaging of them. As people who claim to follow Jesus, we are called to honor others and lift them up. We're not even to speak anything that could cast a slur on another person (Psalm 15:3b). I want to call you to a higher level in your conversation. Speak in a way that lifts others up, even when they're not in a room. I get that if you're in leadership, you have to discuss when a team member is creating difficulties—but do it in such a way that the person is honored. Don't destroy another person's reputation.

Keep Your Promises, Even When It Hurts (Psalm 15:4b). Another way to say this is simply: Keep your promises. It's easy to make glib promises, but much harder to fulfill them. Yet nothing ruins your credibility faster than breaking your promises. For example, if you promise a child you'll take them for ice cream after school—keep your promise. If you make a promise to an employee that you will complete an assignment—do it. In marriage, you took an oath before God—Keep your vows. Sometimes, it's going to hurt to keep your promises. It's not always going to be convenient. But if you want others to trust you, you have to have a track record of keeping your promises.

Friend, you and I live in a broken world filled with difficult relationships. As people who claim to follow Jesus, let's be known for being people who honor others. Each person has intrinsic value because they were created in the image of God. Be the type of person who is known for being a person who doesn't cut others down. Seek to be known as a bridge-builder, not a bridge-burner, in your relationships.

Questions to Consider: What's one practical step that you can take this week to honor someone in your life? How does your conversation need to change with regard to the difficult people in your life?

Becky Harling, an author, certified speaker, leadership coach and trainer with the John Maxwell Team, is an energetic and motivational international speaker inspiring audiences to overcome their greatest life challenges and reach their full God-given potential. Her most recent book is How to Listen So People Will Talk. Her husband, Steve Harling, is the president of Reach Beyond, a nonprofit organization seeking to be the voice and hands of Jesus around the world. Connect with Becky at beckyharling.com, Facebook or Twitter.

This article originally appeared at beckyharling.com.

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