A while back I wrote a post called Cultivating Honor. What is honor? It is, “to regard with great respect.” Here is the deal however, honor is an internal thing. In a Christian context it comes from having a right relationship with God, from recognizing your own worth and value. From being forgiven, redeemed, and held in such high esteem, you were actually worth dying for. Worship, praise is really just about reflecting the love God has shown us, back to Him.
Honor is an internal thing, meaning it comes from inside of us and cannot be filled with external things. Nobody can really hand you honor. Nobody can really make you “feel” respected. Nobody can make you know your own worth and value. In a Christian context, honor, self-worth, comes from surrendering to Christ and having a right relationship with Him. If you have Christ’s approval, The Blood of the Lamb, God’s favor, you need no other. Seriously, if the Creator of the universe sees your worth and value, then you simply do not require The World’s approval in any way. That is a powerful position to be in.
The entire world could disrespect you like it disrespected Christ Himself, and it would not matter one bit. Your honor and sense of respect comes from Him, not from others. Not from women. Not from men.
So, Sunshine has written a post called “What Would it Look Like for Christians to Honor Fathers and Husbands?” partially in response to Dalrock’s lamentation about how the church disrespects husbands and fathers. I don’t disagree with anything she’s written, I do believe we should pour respect over husbands, fathers, cover them with praise and admiration, honor them with encouragement. I think women, wives, daughters, especially, are called to bless them so. Lavishly! I think there is scriptural precedent for that. Men really do need respect in order to truly feel loved and there is no doubt that the world beats them down daily.
Here is the catch however, women cannot give men a sense of honor, a sense of self-worth, we cannot pour enough respect over them to fill an abyss that may reside in their souls. Trust me, this is the height of co-dependance and many women have actually died trying. In fact, the more praise and respect you try to pour over a broken man, the emptier he will feel. You are trying to fill a hunger in him with empty calories, to plug a hole within his soul that only God can fill. A God sized hole.
Pastors, churches, cannot fill that hole either. There is no human pastor in the entire world that can fill that God sized hole for you, no matter how perfect his words are, no matter how much respect he pours over you. The bottom line is, you must take responsibility for your own relationship with Christ. Pastors are there to try to point you in the right direction, to offer some words of wisdom and encouragement. They cannot make you feel respected. The cannot hand you a sense of honor.
Neither can pop culture or The World. In fact, in a Christian context you shouldn’t be looking to the world for approval and respect at all. Actually, if you find yourself receiving too much of the world’s approval and respect, you just might be straying a bit off course.
I realize this is an especially sneaky deception for many men, because often it is their relationships with women that provide them a sense of self-respect, that help them to cultivate honor, that fill their desire to feel respected. Nor am I suggesting that there is anything wrong with asking for or desiring women’s respect, but flat-out that is only the icing on the cake of life. There is not a woman in this world that can hand someone a sense of honor, that can make men feel respected, without that core foundation, that right relationship within their own souls.
In fact, when women try to pour respect over broken men as if our love can cure and heal them, that is actually a sin, a quirk of female pride. We believe our love should be so powerful, that we should be able to reach men in ways that even God cannot. We are actually trying to fill a God sized hole with our little human hearts, as if our love is somehow bigger and badder than God’s.
The problem with broken men with a God sized hole is that you can lay beauty at their feet and they will still feel disrespected. They will still lack a sense of honor. In fact, they may well feel even more dishonored and disrespected. That hunger inside of them becomes ravenous and the more you try to pour respect into it, the hungrier it gets. You are trying to apply an external solution to an internal problem. Women really have died trying.
All in good humor here, but you know what the Christian women bloggers are mud wrestling with each other over? How best to love men. How to effectively help them feel respected and honored. How to love and encourage our brothers.
A while back Dalrock said, regarding churchian respect for husbands and fathers, What would that even look like?
That’s what it would look like. Like I said however, you can lay beauty at the feet of broken men and they still will not see it. They cannot even recognize it for what it is, because their eyes are elsewhere.