Theology Thursday: Outdo One Another in Showing Honor

Italian art of Jesus demonstrating to honor one another by washing feet with disciples in background

Humanity seems to have a competitive gene located somewhere within our DNA. We love to compete against one another in various ways. We love the thrill of competition. We love to win.

Last year, sporting events across the globe got cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and many of us went into withdrawals. March Madness was the first to fall on the chopping block closely followed by other college sports, professional sports and finally the summer Olympics in Tokyo. At one point, ESPN was reduced to showing professional cornhole competition on their network. Who knew that trying to throw a small bean bag into a small hole about 45 feet away could be so riveting?

Did you know Scripture also taps into our competitive gene? In Romans 12:9-21, the Apostle Paul lists several behaviors that mark a true Christian. Included within this list is the following: “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor” (Romans 12: 10, ESV).

Did you catch that? We are commanded to outdo one another. And what is this Christian sport we are called to “outdo” each other in? It is the sport of honoring one another above ourselves.

Table of Contents:

The Definition of Honor

Of course, winning at any sport requires understanding the ground rules so let’s go over a few. First, we should define what it means to show honor? Honor means to demonstrate high respect or great esteem for someone. By honoring another you are saying you see great value in them.

The Focus of Honor

Second, who should we show honor to? And what is the definition of honor in the Bible? The Bible clearly says we are to honor everyone (1 Peter 2:17) and not just those we “feel” deserve to be honored. For example, whether we had fantastic parents or not so fantastic ones, we are told to honor them (Exodus 20:12).

We are also told to honor those in authority (Romans 13:1-7). Yes, even if we disagree with their politics. Others we are specifically commanded to honor in Scripture include the elderly (Leviticus 19:32), our church leaders (1 Timothy 5:17) and God (Psalm 22:23).

The Challenge of Honor

Third, we demonstrate honor by placing others above ourselves. The NIV translation of Romans 12:10 says, “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Contrary to most competitions, this game is won by lifting others up, not ourselves. Our goal is to help others be successful.

We should strive to be a blessing to those around us by showing them that we care and that they are important to us. In the honoring game, victory comes when we are genuinely happy when we see others being placed on the winner’s platform.

With our ground rules set let’s all go out and play the honoring game. If we all try and outdo one another then, who knows, perhaps we all end up winners. Let the honoring games begin.

Grand Canyon University has been training Christians in ministry since its inception. If you are interested in pursuing a career in ministry, GCU's College of Theology has many degree programs, including Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministry, Bachelor of Arts in Christian Studies and Master of Arts in Christian Ministry.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.