In our circles we talk a lot about a ‘Culture of Honor.’ Have you ever wondered what this really looks like?

I believe the heart of honor is to take the strength of my life and pour it into yours.

To be more specific, we honor our children by giving them powerful choices. We honor our friends and spouses by helping them maximize their potential. We honor our leaders by supporting and strengthening them.

Honor focuses on empowering the people around us, no matter who they are, or what their gender, age, status or role. Honor is led by love. And when we honor, we are protecting and nurturing our connections with each other. Our goal is to establish and maintain authentic relationship, rather than dominate another person. Honor communicates, ‘My relationship with you is more important than you doing what I want you to do.’

The result of a culture of honor is progress and momentum. It looks like powerful people running together – bound by covenant relationships – untethered by fear and control. Sound good? It is! In fact, it’s heavenly! But like everything in God’s Kingdom, there is a divine tension.

Having a culture of honor can be similar to the inside of a stall of Clydesdales! There are big butts and wide shoulders wherever you turn… There are messes everywhere… And it hurts when you get stood on!

When you give the people around you permission to be powerful and control themselves, there is the definite possibility they will use that freedom to excuse selfish behavior. Therefore, the skills of confrontation are indispensable.

For most people, the confrontation of sin can feel very threatening, and for some, may have ended disastrously in the past! The good news is honest communication doesn’t have to unravel into disconnection. When confrontation is ‘strategically applied pressure,’ it respectfully exposes areas needing strength and grace. In contrast, if you were to confront someone by accusing or intimidating them (eg. “Stop doing that, or else!”), then this would probably increase their anxiety, bring up their walls, and perhaps even provoke them to withdraw.

However, when we confront someone with honor, we are letting the person know how our experience of their behavior is affecting us. For example, “When you do this, it scares me.”

Do you see the difference? It’s important to understand your motive behind your communication. When we confront in an honoring way, the goal is to define the problem (if there is indeed one), not to bully or manipulate a confession.

Many years ago, I worked in an auto shop. When a tire came in with a leak, I would hold it under water until I saw bubbles rising. This would pinpoint where the weakness was located. Alternatively, yelling at the tire, threatening to throw it into the fire, or dashing it into pieces was NOT going to help me find the problem.

The important question is, what is the problem? Until we isolate the real issue, the healing can’t start. So instead of using judgment or punishment to gain control out of chaos, we honor each other by “restoring gently” (Galatians 6:1).

It is dishonoring to say or imply, “I have all the power… You have none.” Jesus doesn’t use His power to control us, nor does He desire to. If you want to be a control freak, then begin with YOU!

The key is to check your heart: When you confront others, it should be motivated by love and a desire for the success of the other person, not a need for control in the situation.

Remember, a culture of honor will be messy at times, but ultimately exquisite in God’s sight, because we are valuing the purpose He designed for each of His sons and daughters.

I want to finish by asking you this question: Are you focused on seeing the success of the person next to you, no matter who they are – or where they are at?