Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. (Romans 12:10)
This sounds simple enough – pretty cut and dry, wouldn’t you say? I’ve been in ministry for about seven years and full-time paid staff for more than five of those. I recognize that my tenure in ministry isn’t as extensive as some that may be reading this, but I do feel like God packed a powerful punch when revealing to me what true honor means.
Honor is defined as “regarding with great respect” Again, sounds simple. However, there is no instruction in Romans as to how to honor when things are difficult, when good friends leave your church, when your leaders are taking hits, when sickness comes, when your family is hurting, when all hell is breaking loose.
It IS simple, though. You CHOOSE honor, you CHOOSE love, you CHOOSE encouragement; you have to make a choice. You have to choose to honor God and HIS plan, honor the people around you and their choices, even when you may not understand. I believe in times of trouble and trials, the only choice you have is to CHOOSE righteousness.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever ispure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)
I keep this verse in the forefront of my brain at all times. It’s helpful for me to weed out thoughts of the enemy. When I’m feeling critical, judgmental or confused (which is when the enemy will come at me), I go through a mental checklist: Is what I’m thinking or wanting to say true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy?
If not, I change my train of thoughts and keep my mouth shut – simple as that.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others upaccording to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29)
If I don’t change my heart and head, then I can’t change my words and actions. It’s all a choice.
I’ve come to the realization that God is big enough and smart enough to correct any unjust situation without my help. He doesn’t need my thoughts, input or advice. If someone is being dishonest, God can reveal the truth. If someone is mistreating me, God will convict and deal with them. If someone is gossiping, God is the only one that can change their heart, so I’m not entering in. Instead I’m choosing love, I’m choosing honor, I’m choosing encouragement.
For those supporting pastors in a ministry position, you’ve been called to support, encourage, and honor them. They are imperfect, and they are doing most of what they are doing for the very first time. God called them and anointed them, and they need a support system. In Matthew it tells us that Jesus could not perform miracles because of the people’s unbelief.
Do whatever it takes to be of one heart in your staff. Make it a goal to CHOOSE love and CHOOSE honor. No one needs another critic, but everyone needs someone who wholeheartedly believes in them. Celebrate with them during the good and support and encourage them through the bad, but commit yourself to stand and not be moved. Set your mind now that whatever comes, you’ll CHOOSE honor.