Unlike a competitive culture which devalues and even dehumanizes people, Christian leaders are called to value each person and affirm their God-given worth.
Benefits for leaders who are respectful of others:
When we show respect and honor, love flows freely and individuals, relationships and communities thrive. On the contrary, self-focused ambition results in leaders becoming more and more unwise (James 3).
Benefits for the community where leaders are respectful of others:
Respecting and honoring team members energizes the atmosphere. As we celebrate diverse perspectives and ideas, it enriches the team's creativity, problem-solving, and productivity.
Biblical inspiration and support:
First Peter teaches how Christians are to live their lives as they interact with human institutions. Peter writes:
“Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.” (1 Peter 2:17, NIV)
In this passage it seems that the honor and respect given have to do with the offices these people hold. I think we are familiar with showing honor and respect in that way. Paul, also writing on how to live as a Christian in society in Romans 12, writes:
“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” (Romans 12:10, ESV)
His words seem directed more toward the behavior of Christians toward one another. Showing honor in this situation does not have to do with political status, but seems to be associated with loving one another. Here’s the longer passage to provide context:
”9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.”
(Romans 12:9–16, ESV, emphasis mine)
The idea of outdoing one another in showing each other honor has really captured my heart and imagination.
All Christians are called to honor one another. Leaders have a unique position and authority to offer respect and to honor others and therefore have additional responsibility to do so. Furthermore, as leaders model this attitude and lifestyle, they are examples. Leaders are to lead the way in eagerly showing others honor. Leaders should be giving away credit, affirmation and blessing every chance we get!
Christians are to communicate that each person is hand-crafted by a loving God who made them on purpose and desires to be in a living, fruitful relationship with them. He showed the great value each person has to Him in giving up the life of His Son Jesus on the cross so they may be forgiven, restored and have eternal life.
We are to value people as Christ values them.
We are to honor people as those God has designed on purpose.
We are to respect people as God has made all worthy of respect.
The culture of the Kingdom of God is one where every person is treasured, honored and respected. It begins with the leaders outdoing everyone in showing honor.
While at a conference hosted by a large church, I noticed how each speaker went out of their way to give long, honoring introductions to each other. At first it seemed a bit tedious to me, as I was not used to it, but over time I realized that it was strategic. Each person was showing honor to the others and it was contagious. I found myself wanting to call out and draw attention to the noble and noteworthy in the people in my area of influence as well. Honoring each other is energizing, and doesn’t that make sense—because blessing is empowered by God.
Comparing – a superpower misapplied.
Many of us naturally compare ourselves to others. The problem is, in comparison there is a winner and a loser. So, either we feel bad about ourselves, or we put the other person down in our mind. Friends, it is unwise to compare (2 Corinthians 10:12). What if God has given us the ability to notice people’s gifts, abilities, skills, personality traits… not to compare or judge, but to bless and affirm?
Let us respect the people we encounter as those made and loved by God. The next time we notice someone, instead of comparing ourselves or competing, let’s interpret the fact that they caught our attention as the Holy Spirit drawing our attention to them to pray for them and bless them. Let’s honor others by noticing and affirming the good gifts God has put into them. Let’s recognize their good accomplishments and attitudes. And let’s cheer them on. Let’s bless.
A final word:
The Kingdom of God has a culture of honor.
How have you seen leaders honor team members?
Hi! I'm Jeri Howe.
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