June 2, 2019
A Different Take: Retracing Honour

by Judy Mzungu

Honor. To regard with respect or esteem. The quality of knowing and doing what is morally right. The act of fulfilling an obligation.

God in Heaven deposited in each of us strengths and weaknesses – that make the sum total of each one of us as individuals.

Some of us have great strengths which inevitably cause us to stand out, get much done, and seem to get ahead of the pack. Granted, such people will make great impact in society, they will touch many lives, and will generally tend to be high achievers. Just as such individuals have strengths which will push them to the limelight, they will, in almost equal measure have glaring weaknesses.

Family, friends, associations, and the general society will gladly sign up as beneficiaries of the strengths of these individuals – even cheering them from the sidelines – when Life’s seasons favor them. Their homes will be full of guests, their offices will always have queues of people waiting to see them, their phones never stop ringing, their churches will be packed…. everyone clamors to be associated with them.

Genesis 6:8-9 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.

Noah was a man who caught God’s attention, was given an assignment to build an ark for God, and upon successfully building the ark, and leaving at the appointed time, built an altar to God – ultimately making a sacrifice that was pleasing to God.

Genesis 9:1 Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.”

Noah had earned himself a great place not only before his children – but also before God. He had a major encounter with God. He was a high-flier. You see, it’s one thing to hear God, it’s another thing to see the manifestation of what God has told you. Noah was at the peak of his spirituality.

And then he had a slip-up…

Genesis 9:20-22 Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father’s nakedness and told his two brothers outside.

What do we do when a person we held in high esteem has a slip-up? What do we do when someone close to us unveils their not-so-good side? What do we do when a public figure loses it – in a moment of anger, a moment of weakness, a moment of vulnerability?

That’s the moment when we – as a family, as a church, as a society – are forced to take a Test. A Test of our Values. A Test of Honor. A Test of Respect.

Is every contribution one made in our lives wiped out by a moment of vulnerability? Is every strength we exhibit erased when our weakness shows up? Does our past good count for something?

1 Peter 2:17 Show proper respect to everyone. Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, and honor the king.

Maybe showing respect to everyone and loving the brotherhood of believers is actually covering our brothers and sisters in their moment of shame; maybe it’s refusing to be part of the ‘movement’ that shares those embarrassing videos and articles; maybe it’s still believing in the good God deposited in them; maybe it’s choosing to stand with them no matter what.

Genesis 9:23 But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across the shoulder; then they walked in backward and covered their father’s nakedness.

Many great potentials have been dimmed under the spotlight of our criticism, our self-righteousness, and our judgment. Many God-given assignments have been left unfulfilled by our brethren, wounded and crushed – barely able to rise up again.

If only we could, like Shem and Japheth, cover one another’s weaknesses – there would be hope for restoration of many of our brethren, servants of God, that we have vilified and sentenced on our Facebook Walls and our status updates. If only we could love these brotherhood of believers, maybe we would spur these individuals to greater heights – and society would benefit from the strengths that were uniquely deposited in them.

I hope and pray that we will be sensitized that those individuals are flesh and blood, they have emotions, they have families, they once contributed to the well-being of others; and that as long as we are alive, we all deserve a chance to fulfill our assignment.

Like soldiers in the battlefield, we owe it to one another to carry our wounded brethren, for the sake of the fulfillment of Kingdom Purposes.

We owe it to ourselves – to return to the values that helped us guard one another’s sense of Pride and Dignity; and then uphold one another to a higher value system, having passed the Test.

If nothing else, if honor is too much to ask, maybe we can whisper a prayer.

“When we genuinely believe that inner transformation is God’s work and not ours, we can put to rest our passion to set others straight.” – Richard J. Forster, Celebration of Discipline

Till next time……. Bon Voyage!

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