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Our Source of Honor

Our Source of Honor

Honor comes not from living on the right side of town but from living on the right side of God. Harold Shank

Receiving and bestowing honor is critical to how we feel about ourselves and how we treat other people. With our teenagers, we refer to the issue as peer pressure. It is that need to be included, to fit in, to be part of the group or the “in-crowd.” All of us feel this need for affirmation from those with whom we spend most of our time. Because of this felt need, we tend to seek out whatever group or individual that will provide us acceptance.
To maintain one's place in the group requires meeting the standards of conformity required by the group. If certain clothes or hair-styles typify the group that accepts us, we will wear the clothes and change the hair in order to fit in. In American society, there are often socio-economic standards to which we attach status and identity. Owning a home, two (or three) vehicles, having 2.1 children, moving to whatever is bigger and better every 5 years--these all provide identity and acceptance and standards of achievement and honor. Even churches function as peer groups, having within them various sub-groups by which we find our sense of community, identity, and honor.
The question of concern is, what determines the standards for identity and acceptance in the church? Certainly we understand that there are doctrinal concerns that determine entrance into the fellowship of believers. But assuming we are all Christians as defined by God's word, what other standards do we use that Jesus did not use? For example, do we allow such things as income and education and clothing and social status in the community--and yes, even the color of one's skin--to determine who we will accept? Do we allow age to determine our “peer group” at church, to the point that we basically only associate with those members who fall into our age group? It is difficult--indeed, impossible--to find Jesus drawing such distinctions. His ministry was spent restoring honor and identity to those whom society had rejected. It was not then, and should not be now, where one lives but how one lives. It is not what the outside of the person looks like, but the inside--the heart--that matters to God. In our own pursuit of acceptance and honor, and in our bestowal of acceptance and honor, we need to remember it is the right side of God, not the right side of town, that counts!
John O. York

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