Romans 1:21 vividly depicts what happens when honor disappears. This clear verse is a mirror that shows what honor is and what it is not and how honoring God is tied to our essential moral fabric. Yes, morality begins with theology. Though the dishonorable retain some spiritual sense, Paul, in fleshing out the doctrine of total depravity, lists some of the consequences of dishonoring God, including not giving thanks, becoming “futile in their thinking,” and having “their foolish hearts . . . darkened.”
Honor, that lost virtue that only true spirituality can engender, is vital. It affects our treatment of both God and man. Whether one honors God is a litmus test that, amazingly, also predicts how one treats his neighbor.
Few individuals esteem anyone higher than themselves. Fewer institutions today inculcate honor. A courtroom may hear the black-robed judge addressed as “Your Honor,” but no egalitarian truly thinks another human holds a rank of higher honor. Indeed, it is rare—in word, more so in deed—for someone even to honor the One who is infinitely deserving of esteem. Moreover, occasions of honoring others are uncommon—likely because virtue wanes as unbelief waxes—but most refreshing when observed.
It is also rare to meet believers who seem relentlessly compelled to pursue the honor of God. That very wording may sound hopelessly feudal. And if, perchance, such believers are found, rarer still are believers who practice honoring one another (Rom. 12:10), for it seems more fashionable to trash, clap back against, and burn even our friends, often from the comfort of bunkered social media.