Joel Osteen — Showing Honor
I want to talk to you today about "Showing honor". Everywhere we go, we should look for opportunities to bring honor in our conversations, in the way we treat people at home, at work, at the grocery store. As believers, we are carriers of honor. We have something to give. If you see someone doing a good job, honor them by telling them what a great job they're doing. Recognize their accomplishments. Give them credit in front of their colleagues. That's bringing honor.
You're not just doing them a favor. You're doing yourself a favor. When you show honor, there is a commanded blessing that is released back into your own life. Someone comes to the grocery honor them by letting them go first. Prefer one another. A simple way to show honor. Honor those in authority by doing what they ask. Honor the police officer by taking the detour and not complaining. Honor the usher by sitting where he asks, and not argue it. "Well, I shouldn't have to sit in this section. I'm going to give him a piece of my mind". No, that's the reason you show honor by respecting his position. You may not agree with the policy, but because you're a person of honor, you respect the authority and do it anyway.
I found the amount of honor that you show will be directly related to the amount of God's favor that you see. If you are stingy with your honor, and you think, "I can't give them credit, they'll look better than me," then you won't see God's favor like you should, but when you're generous with your honor, and you're always giving people credit, treating them with respect, then God will be generous with his favor back to you. If you want to see more of God's goodness, then show honor in a greater way.
One time, Jesus was at a house, about to have dinner. This woman came in that was a notorious sinner, and knelt down, and she poured this expensive bottle of oil on his feet and began to wash them. Oil in the scripture represents honor. You could say she poured her honor on him. The religious leaders got upset. They said, "Why did she waste the oil? We could've sold it and given the money the poor". Jesus said, "Don't bother the woman. She has done the best thing".
Any time you show honor, God is saying, "You are doing the best thing". Jesus looked at her and said, "Woman, your sins are forgiven". Notice she gave honor, and she received favor, and when you pour out that oil of honor, it becomes the blessing that is returned back to you, but with no oil, with no honor, no blessing. You will never receive what you're not willing to give, and if you don't give honor, you won't have honor, and some of you could go to a new level. You could see a breakthrough in what you've been praying about if you would just start honoring the people God put in your life in a greater way.
In the scripture, it talks about how Jesus couldn't do any miracles in his hometown because of their unbelief. They thought, "There's nothing special about Jesus. We grew up with him". "I taught him third grade. He's just like my other students". "I played little league with him. He wasn't any different than the rest of us". It was a lack of honor that kept him from doing any miracles.
In fact, Jesus went on to say, "A prophet has no honor in his own home". The same principle is true today. Where there's no honor, there will be no miracles. No honor, no healing. No honor, no promotion. God's power is directly linked to showing honor. And Paul said in Ephesians 6, "Honor your father and mother so that all will be well with you". That's the commanded blessing. If you show honor, you may go through some difficult seasons, people may do you wrong, but because you're a person of honor, you can stay in that place of peace, knowing that all will be well with you. That's what God's promised.
This says honor should start in our homes. It should start in our own families with those closest to us. I know people that treat complete strangers better than they treat their own spouse. It should be just the opposite. We should treat our own family with more honor than anyone else every.
Several months, we meet with pastors here as a part of our champions-pastors network. Many times, the pastors will come in and see the beautiful facility and God's blessings and favor, and they'll look at me like, "Wow, look what all you've accomplished," but I'll always start those meetings off I realize I would not be standing here today if my parents had not gone before me, and for 40 years, given and served and made sacrifices.
The scripture says, "Give honor to whom honor is due". When you're honorable, you don't suck up all the attention in the room and say, "Look how great I am. Look what I've accomplished". No, you're quick to give other people credit. You realize no person gets to where they are on their own. You honor those that have gone before you, and those that are praying for you and believing in you and encouraging you all along the way, and in those meetings, I always honor Victoria. I honor my brother, my sisters, my in-laws, and invariably they'll turn around and honor me.
One pastor said, "I have never seen such a culture of honor". That's one of the greatest compliments we could ever have. Let's develop a culture of honor in our families. We got enough people trying to pull us down, enough critics and naysayers. Our families should be a place of respect and admiration, where we don't focus on all the petty differences: we don't let pride cause us to compete and compare, try to figure out who's the most important, and "I can't compliment them, or I may look weak". No, showing honor is not a sign of weakness. It's a sign of strength. Celebrating others will not decrease you. It will increase you.
Giving an employee credit, that works under you, is not going to make you look less-than in other people's eyes. It's going to give you more credibility. The more respect you show, the more respect I found where there's honor, there's unity. Where there's honor, people get along. Where there's respect and admiration, there's a team, there's enthusiasm, there's motivation.
Why is that? When you pour out the oil of honor, it will come back to you as God's blessings and favor. You may be around people that are dishonorable, people that are hard to love, sometimes you have to honor people by faith. You have to treat people not the way they are, but the way you want them to become, and when you honor someone that's dishonorable and you give someone respect that doesn't really deserve respect, when you're kind even though they're not kind, you are sowing a seed for them to become the way you're treating them, but our mind will always tell us, "Be disrespectful back to them". "They didn't give you the time of day. Just blow them off". "They talked bad about you. Talk bad about them".
No, you never change a dishonorable situation by piling on more dishonor. That's only going to make matters worse. You have to do just the opposite and bring honor to that situation. Treat the person the way you want them to become. It's like a cork at the bottom of a bucket with no water in it. The honor is the water. As long as there's disrespect, sarcasm, jealousy, pride, the bucket is empty, and the cork will stay at the bottom, but when you start to honor that person and treat them the way you want them to become, and you're kind even though they're not kind, little by little, as you're pouring the honor in, the cork will start to come off the bottom.
In other words, that person will start to come up higher and higher, and if you'll just keep pouring the honor in, before long, they will be living at the level God created them to live at, not because you fought with them, not because you treated them the way they treated you, but because you were a person of honor, and you just kept pouring the honor in. That's what causes people to rise to new level. Now, I know some of you, you have family members that don't deserve honor: a parent that did you wrong, a relative that cheated you, a brother-in-law that's always talking bad about you. The way to win is not through dishonor. Stay on the high road. Don't sink down to that level. Just keep showing more and more honor.
I know this lady. She was mistreated for many years, she went through abuse. She said, "Joel, how am I supposed to honor my father? I hate the man," and I realize you may not be at a point where you can interact with that person just yet, but it's an act of honor just to pray for them to change. You can honor them by not getting angry and bitter and living life hating them, but you never make a dishonorable situation better by adding more dishonor. The way to change it is by adding honor to the situation.
I have a good friend that, when he was in his early 20s, he had a big disagreement with his father, a big argument. He left the house very angry, and for nearly 30 years, he had never spoken to his father, wouldn't have anything to do with him. His whole life was a struggle, couldn't seem to get ahead, never got any good breaks. Year after year, he was living in a small apartment with his family.
One day, he heard through his sister that his father was very ill in a hospital. Something told him he needed he got in the car and drove 4 hours to the hospital, and when he went in and saw his dad, they both wept and wept. He said, "Dad, it was my fault. I'm sorry. I'm going to make it up to you". He started honoring his father. He would take his children up there to see his dad on a regular basis, and this father would come spend the weekends at his house with his family. He changed from a culture of dishonor to a culture of honor.
It wasn't long after that, that he got a promotion that he'd been trying to get for over 10 years. He didn't know how he was going to send his oldest daughter to college, but out of the blue, she got a scholarship to the university she was hoping to get in. After all those years of living in a small apartment, they were finally able to purchase their first home. One thing after another began to fall into place.
Why was that? When there's a culture of dishonor, God's blessing is pulled back from your life. You will not walk in the fullness of what God has in store, but if you will do like this son and find any area of dishonor and start bringing honor, bringing respect, then you can break the curse that comes from dishonor, and you will see God's favor in a greater way, and the scripture says, show honor, and all will be well with you.
We can take just the opposite. If we don't show honor, all will not be well. If we allow disrespect, jealousy, sarcasm, pride, to keep us from showing honor, it's not going to hurt the other person. The lack of honor will hold us back, and I believe one reason that I've seen God's favor in my own life is because I've done my best to honor my parents. There is a special reward, a special blessing that comes from honoring your parents. You may not agree with them, but it doesn't say, "If you agree, honor them". It simply says, "Honor your parents".
Young people, listen to your parents' advice. They've been around longer than you have. They're trying to keep you from making the same mistakes that they made. Mark Twain said, "When I was 14, my father was so dumb, I could hardly stand to be around him, but when I got to be 21, I was amazed at how much the man had learned". If you want all to be well with you, you need to show honor and respect to your parents, not just with your words, but with your actions.
The other day, my mother asked me to not say something during one of my messages. She heard me Saturday night. She texted me and said, "Joel, I wish you wouldn't use this phrase tomorrow when you speak". It wasn't anything bad. It was a medical term, just something kind of funny. To my generation, it's no big deal, but when you're 106 years old, you see things differently! I just dishonored, talking about honor but... But she texted me, and asked me not now, I understand there is a special blessing that comes from honoring your parents, so I chose not to say it, not because I had to, not because she pressured me. I did it because she's my mother.
And I know all will be well with you when you honor your parents. I can say today, "All is well with me". I'm happy, I'm blessed, got a great family. I believe one reason is because I've chosen to show honor. I used to go over to my parents' house every Saturday night and pick out a suit and tie for my father to wear the next day on television at church. I produced the program in those days. It was just a simple way that I could honor my father. I never dreamed one day I would be picking out a suit and tie for me to wear up here, but when you show honor, that's the seed God will use to bring honor back to you.
I have a friend. He grew up overseas in another country, and his father, as well, was a minister, but his dad didn't think it was right to wear short pants. He didn't think you should show your legs, and they lived in a climate that was extremely hot. This son did not agree with all his father. All of his friends wore shorts. And his other relatives, they wore shorts. Everybody did in that area, but he said, "Joel, out of respect to my father, growing up, I never once wore shorts".
Today that young man is blessed with a happy family. He's got a great job. He's got God's favor, plus he wears shorts everywhere he goes. But a lot of times, we think, "I don't have to do that. That's not right. My mother can't tell me what to say or not to say. My name is on the sign out front"! No, there are a lot of things that we may not think we need to do, but in order to show honor, we need to swallow our pride and do it anyway. Where there is honor, there is promotion. It's not enough to just honor with our words. Let's honor people with our actions. I'm convinced, if we would show more honor, we'd not only have better relationships, but we'd enjoy our life a whole lot more.
Wives, it's especially important that you honor your husbands. Honor is one of your husband's greatest needs. You can say the right thing, but if you say it in a dishonorable way, he's not going to hear anything you're saying, because if there's the smallest hint of disrespect, dishonor, sarcasm, his defenses will come up, and nothing that's said will be taken the right way, and in our relationships, we're not always going to agree. So often, if that other person doesn't see it our way, we get upset. We let the voice tones go up and maybe a little bit sarcastic, and before long, we're at odds with each other. If you can just learn to keep the honor, keep the respect, even when you don't agree, then it won't damage the relationship.
Victoria and I have been married now, going on 25 years. People ask us what the secret is. We always tell them the same two things: number one, we laugh a lot. We keep humor in our home, and, number two, we always treat each other with respect. Even when we disagree, we do our best not to lose respect for each other.
When we first got married, something Victoria didn't like was for me to come in the kitchen, after I had worked out, and wash my hands in the kitchen sink. She didn't want my sweat to be around the food or where they would be preparing dinner. She doesn't realize my sweat is holy! But the problem was, when I came in from the outside, the most convenient sink was in the kitchen. If I didn't wash my hands there, I'd have to go all the way to the back, and for a long time, I just went in there, washed my hands real quickly and hoped that she didn't see me, and she never harped on me about it, she had asked me not to do it.
One day, I was in there, about to wash my hands, hoping that she wouldn't see me, and I heard God say something to me. I'm not talking about out loud, just an impression down in here. He said, "Joel, when are you going to start honoring your wife by doing what she's asking you to do? I thought, "That couldn't be God"! "It's the little foxes that spoil the vines". It's the little acts of dishonor, disrespect, that brings strife, division, discord. I made a decision that day that I was going to honor God by honoring my wife.
A lot of times we think, "Well, I shouldn't have to do that, shouldn't have to walk all the way to the back". "Shouldn't have to sit in that section". "I shouldn't have to clean up after that mess". But God is saying, "Will you do it for me? Will you walk to the back for me"? "Will you clean up the mess for me? "Will you not use that phrase in your sermon for me? Do it unto God. If you will honor God, God will always honor you. 1 Peter 3:7 says, "Husbands, honor your wives so that nothing will hinder your prayers". This is saying, our prayers may not be answered. If we don't show honor, the dream may not come to pass.
I know a minister friend. When he was a young man, he and his wife were trying to have a baby, praying, believing, taking fertility treatments, doing everything they could, but year after year went by with no success. They were so disappointed, so frustrated. One day, he was on an airplane, returning from a missionary trip overseas. He began to talk to God under his breath. He said, "God, it's not fair. I'm doing what you want me to do. Why can't we have a baby"? God spoke something to his heart. He said, "Son, you're not going to have a baby until you start treating your wife better".
Now, understand, he wasn't doing anything major wrong. He just wasn't treating her the way he knew he should, and he was big enough, when he heard this, to make changes. He started honoring his wife, started being more loving, more respectful. He would go out of his way to make her feel special. It was within that next year that his wife conceived. Today they have a beautiful child.
Could it be that if we would start showing more honor, a dream would come to pass? A prayer would be answered? We would see the breakthrough that we're hoping for? Let's step up our honor level, not just in our homes. Certainly, we should start there, but make sure that you're showing honor to the person at the grocery store, honor to the coach at little league, and honor to those that are in authority.
Years ago, I went to a ball game at a big stadium. I always park in the same place and go in the same entrance. I knew right where my seats were, a couple of sections to the left, there was an usher at the entrance, forcing everybody to go right. In fact, they had put up these little ropes, making everyone go that way.
Well, my seats were to the left. If I went to the right, I was going to have to walk around the whole stadium. There were hundreds of people going in. Of course, everyone was going to the right, but many of those people, once they got about 20 feet away from the usher, they were holding up the ropes, going under, and then back left toward my section, and I knew the usher could still see us, so I thought, "I'm not going to do it here, but when I get around the corner, I'm going to go under that rope and go back to my section"!
Just when I started to go under that rope, I heard that still small voice say, "Joel, don't do it. You're a person of honor. He's in authority. Respect his position". I just kept walking all the way around the stadium. I did the right thing, not because I felt like it, not because I thought it was fair, but I did it to honor that usher. I know when you honor people, you are ultimately honoring God. You are sowing seeds for promotion, and I wonder how many opportunities we miss out on, to come up higher, to see more of God's favor, because we are not showing honor to those that are in authority?
Well, you say, "Joel, it's not hurting anything". Maybe not, but it's a test of your character. God is watching to see, are you going to pass the test and show honor, and respect that position of authority so you can come up higher, or are you going to take the easy way out and just do what you feel and get stuck where you are? No, let's pass the test. Let's stay on the high road. Let's be honorable. The more honor you show, the more God will honor you.
I think about David. King Saul dishonored him again and again. David did nothing but good for Saul, but Saul was jealous and tried to kill David. He threw spears at him and chased him through the wilderness, but David was so filled with honor. He so respected that position of authority, that several times he had the opportunity to kill Saul, but he would not do it. Showing more honor, and God kept showing David more favor.
When David finally did take the throne several years later, first thing he did was not have a big parade, not say, "Look how great I am"! No, he said to his staff, "Is there anyone from the house of Jonathan, still alive, so I can show honor to them"? Honor was always on David's mind. No wonder God blessed Jonathan was his best friend that had been killed much earlier in a battle. The men said to David, "Yes, one of Jonathan's youngest sons is still alive". The scripture says David set out to honor him.
That's my challenge today: set out to honor someone this week. Set out to honor set out to show more respect to that co-worker. Set out to make that friend feel more special. The staff brought the son in. He had been living in the poorest city. He was crippled. David looked at him and said, "Young man, I loved your father, and because of our friendship, you're not going to live in the slums anymore. You're going to live in the palace with me. You're going to eat at my dinner table each night, plus I'm going to make sure you get all the land that belonged to your father".
That's honor. Let's be like David and develop this culture of honor where honor is always on our minds. In the way we treat people, every opportunity we can find, let's show honor.
Remember, the amount of honor that you show will be directly related to the amount of God's favor that you can see. I'm asking us to step it up a notch. Be kinder. Be more respectful. To show honor. If someone's disrespectful to you, don't treat them the same way. Treat them the way you want them to become, and if you will make it a priority to show honor everywhere you go, God promises all will be well with you. Because you are honorable, you will not only always have honor, but you will live a long, blessed, satisfied, prosperous, victorious life. I believe it, and I declare it over each one of you, in Jesus' name.