Have you ever had someone in authority that you thought, what kind of pictures do they have on someone to get this position? You ever seen something like that? You thought, who did they know to get here, right? You see someone in a position, you think, man, I do not know how they landed that job. How did they pull that off? And you think, man, this guy doesn’t deserve this position. Have you ever been frustrated — let’s be honest — with someone who is in authority? Someone who’s in charge? You ever had to honor someone in authority? Maybe it’s an officer, or maybe it’s someone in your work. Maybe it’s a teacher or a coach or, you know, hopefully not, maybe it’s your parents. I don’t know. Maybe you’ve had to honor someone that there’s been times when you didn’t really feel like honoring them. The truth is sometimes we have to honor someone that’s not very honorable.
That’s a tough thing to do, isn’t it? What does the Bible have to say about this? Let’s look at some scripture. Let’s look at 1 Peter chapter 2 verse 18. This is the New American Standard translation. It says, “Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable.” Now, when I looked at this scripture earlier this week, I thought, clearly, I read that wrong. I mean, surely they’re not telling me to honor someone who’s a jerk. Surely the scripture’s not saying to honor that leader that I know is a punk. I mean, you’ve got to be kidding me. There’s no way this is telling me that. So I thought, you know, it may be one of those translation things. Let me check some other translations. Maybe they’re saying it in a different way in some other translations. So I went ahead and checked. All the translations I had access to, which is about 33 translations of the Bible, I thought what other words they used, I’m sure they’re better words that would make more sense to me. Oh, no. It got worse. Here’s the other words. It says this. “Be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable, ill tempered, crooked, unjust, harsh, cruel, dishonest, perverse, overbearing.” This is not going in the right direction. This is even more difficult. I’m supposed to honor someone who’s a jerk, who’s overbearing, who is harsh, who is even cruel, who is even just dishonest? I’m supposed to somehow conjure up honor for this person? I mean, is God saying that I should just stay in this job with this boss who’s a jerk? Is God saying I should just stay in this marriage with a spouse who treats me terribly? Is God saying that I should just put up with my parents being mean to me?
Is God saying I’m just supposed to deal with this professor who’s giving me the business all the time, picking on me in class? I’m supposed to just be okay with that? Yeah. That’s actually what the Bible says. It’s a little shocking. I mean, you read it, and you think, does this mean God’s some kind of cosmic child abuser? Somehow he’s okay with me being abused? Now, first of all, let me tell you what this doesn’t say. The Bible never supports an authority figure in your life asking you to do something that is illegal or sinful. It’s not saying that. Listen. You’re being beat up, sexually abused, there is no Biblical support for you staying in that situation. And so it’s very clear to get out of that. We’re not talking about that. But let’s face it. Ninety nine percent of the cases, when we feel abused by someone, we may be taking it on the chin from someone who’s being emotionally difficult with us, maybe pointing us out, frustrating us, being unfair to us, being cruel even at times. But that’s exactly what God’s saying. He’s saying stay in there, hang in there. Don’t leave that situation. He’s saying honor them. Now, I don’t know about you, but that is not easy to do. Last week we talked about honor, honoring those in authority, honoring those who deserve honor. Everyone gets honoring those who deserve it. But what do you do when you’ve got to honor someone who is not deserving of it?
Last week after the sermon, after part one of honor, I had a man come up to me, and tears streaming down his face. He said, What do I do when the person over me is not handling me and others well? As he began to have tears, I thought, this guy has a lot of pain. I don’t know what’s going on, but I felt his pain. I said, sir, I know this is going to shock you. Be here next week. I said, but you may be really shocked to find out that I believe God wants you to stay right where you are because God wants to use you, and that person’s dishonoring you, he wants to use you in their life. He has a purpose behind that. What could God possibly gain out of us having to honor someone who is so dishonoring of us? Actually, a lot. First thing I want you to know today, number one, is honor is commanded even to those undeserving. Even those who don’t deserve it, we’re supposed to live lives of honor towards them as well. Now, listen. You don’t honor them for them. And this is also — you know, the Bible talks about how God places those in authority over us. That’s true. But that does not mean if someone that is over you is being cruel or evil toward you that God is evil. See, God places them in authority over us, but then they chose to do evil. Don’t confuse that. That was not God’s doing. That was their choice. And before you say now, hold on, but wouldn’t that be wrong for God to allow someone who makes evil choices to be over me? Well, that’s the question people ask that are under you at times, because all of us are human. And so we all have the ability to make wrong choices or right choices.
You know, I’m a parent, and I guarantee you there’s times, I don’t mean to, but I’m sure there’s times my kids are so frustrated thinking why, Lord, why, Lord, me, do I have to sit underneath this father? You know what I mean? I pray that’s not often. But the reality is that is going to happen. Even to those who profess Christ, who want to live for the Lord, it’s still going to often times seem unfair. As a pastor, I’m also in charge of a pretty large staff. We have 50 people on our staff. And I can promise you there are times — they may not say it, but there are times when they’re probably thinking man, that just doesn’t seem very fair. I mean, that did not seem like the right call. And from their vantage point, it probably didn’t appear that way. But from my vantage point, it may have appeared fair, or it may have not been fair and I just didn’t catch it. Because I’m human. It happens. I mean, we have to admit that if people are under us at times, I’m sure that they are not always perfectly treated fairly even though we really want to. The reality is that all of us are human. But what do you do when you’ve got someone who just seems to be blatantly openly being very unfair and dishonoring towards you? What do you do? You honor them. In fact, I believe God will allow you to be in the position of dishonor to prove whether you really are a person of honor. Because if you can honor someone in the face of their dishonor, there’s only one reason you do that. Because it’s for the Lord.
Could it be said of us that we honor people because they’re our boss? Because that’s my father and mother, because they’re older than me, they’re an elder to me. That’s worthy of honor. We have lost respect for the elderly in our country. We need to honor them. We need to elevate those who need to be elevated. (Applause) We need to honor those. You see, honor — listen, honor is not whether someone is deserving of it in your mind. It’s about the position they hold is worthy of honor in and of itself. Listen, I don’t care whether you agree or disagree with the president. You still honor the position of president. We need to pray for our president more than we criticize him. (Applause) They need prayer. Big time. They need prayer because they’re having to lead people like us. And we’re a rowdy bunch here in America. That’s not easy to rule and to lead and to bring the rule of law over people who don’t want to have laws. Very difficult people to deal with. And so the reality is that — the truth is that honor is not about whether someone in your mind deserves it. It’s about the position. Jesus put it best when he said, listen, do unto others as you would have them what? Do unto you. It doesn’t say do to them before they do it to you. It doesn’t say that. It says do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It’s the honor code that’s saying I’m going to honor you the way I would want to be honored.
But listen, if you say I don’t get any respect, then you’re not giving out any respect. If you want to get respect, you give it out.
If you give out value to people and encourage people and care for people and lift them up, listen, the best way for you to raise up your life is to raise everyone else up around you. And it’s just a matter of time until they raise you up, too. I just want to encourage you to live by the honor code. Honor is commanded whether or not someone seems to deserve it or not. We still honor them. 1 Peter 2:18, it says this. This is a different translation. See, I gave you like all these translations in the way it uses the words at how someone was dishonoring, but my favorite was 1 Peter 2:18 in the Young’s Literal translation. Listen to what it says. It says, The domestics, that’s referring to servants or house servants, be subjecting yourselves in all fear to the masters, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the cross. That’s an interesting word to use there. To those who cross you. To those who you get crossways with. Well, that’s funny, because the word cross means a whole lot to us, doesn’t it? So the next time someone crosses you, that’s an opportunity for you to take up your cross.
Next time someone offends you or is disloyal or dishonoring towards you, that’s actually an opportunity for you to carry that cross and say God, thank you. This is an opportunity for me to bring honor even though they did not honor me. They brought me a cross. I’ll carry it gladly for you. Look at what Jesus says in Mark chapter 8 verse 34, “Then calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, Jesus said, if any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang onto your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the good news, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but yet lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” He says this. If you want to really be my disciple, take up your cross. Those who are really my disciple, when it comes to honor, Jesus is saying here, will honor those who cross them. Will honor those who hurt them. This is a whole other level of honor, isn’t it? I mean, you think, you’ve got to be kidding me. You’re telling me to honor this person? This person’s been the biggest jerk to me in the world, and you’re telling me to be nice to him? Yep. That’s what God says. Look, anyone can be nice to somebody who’s nice to them. But you show that you’re really a Christ follower when you’re nice to someone who’s not nice to you.
Repeatedly you say, but I try to honor them, they still dishonor me. Honor them again. Because you’re not honoring them to try to change their response. You’re honoring them because God says to do it. That is enough reason in and of itself. You say but pastor, I’ve been trying to honor this person over and over again. Nothing seems to be changing in my life. Listen, God’s delays are not God’s denials. Hang in there. God knows what he’s doing even when we don’t. I want to challenge you with this.
Number two, when your honor for another is not working within this kingdom, it is gaining you ground in the kingdom. When you say I’m trying to honor my boss, and it’s not working at the office, that’s okay. It’s working in the kingdom. I’m trying to honor my spouse, and I’m not getting the response I want from my spouse. That’s okay. It’s working in the kingdom. I’m trying to honor this person in my community, and they are not honoring me. It’s okay. It’s working in the whole other higher community you don’t even see. It’s working well there. It always works in God’s economy, in God’s kingdom, in God’s office, in God’s headquarters. It always registers with God. Even when it’s not registering with the person you’re trying to honor, it’s okay. It registers with the Lord. And so you want to hang in there anyways. It will be worth it. So why would this happen? Listen. I believe a lack of honor not working, if you’re honoring someone and it’s not working in your life, I believe it’s a sign that God is doing something new. I see this over and over again in scripture, that when someone gets dishonored, it is always right before God promotes them. God will allow you to go through a season of dishonor from someone before he does something great in your life. He is preparing you. And the best way to prepare you for honor is for you to have to sit in dishonor for a while. Because nothing will keep your head clearer as to who really brought the honor than going through dishonor.
How did God make David such an amazing king? He put him under the dishonorable Saul, who was a complete psycho jerk to him, tried to kill him multiple times. David had to serve under him and still honor him. Had multiple times to kill him. Chose not to do it. Had opportunities, had him in his scopes, had him in his sights, could have taken him out. He didn’t do it. He was like no, you’re the king. I’m going to honor you. And because of that, we’re still talking about David’s reign. We’re still talking about what God did in David’s life. And so the reality is that God wants to honor us and he will honor us far beyond our lives if we’ll just honor the dishonorable. This doesn’t mean you approve of what they’re doing. Doesn’t mean that at all. Doesn’t mean you have to agree with what they’re doing. But you still honor the position. You may be in a season right now when you think I could not disagree more with the situation in my office. I could not be more frustrated with my spouse. I could not be more frustrated with my parents. Students, maybe you’re thinking I don’t understand my mom and dad at all. I understand. I’m a father now, and it’s okay. My kids don’t understand me, either. I get it now. I understand that. Now I’m the one they don’t get. Now I’m saying what my dad used to say. Because I’m your dad. I didn’t like that when I was a kid. I was like, that doesn’t really help me. (Laughter) And now I’m saying it. Now I’m the one going, well, I’m your dad. And now as an adult I look back, and I go, you know what? He was really smart. He actually did know something. My mom and dad actually got that one.
They actually knew what they were talking about. Now, oh, man, wow, it’s like the clouds have been lifted. I get it. I can see it clear now. Oh, yeah. Okay. Didn’t get it at the time. But even in cases — maybe you have a parent — I had parents, I’ve got amazing parents that love the Lord. Maybe your parents aren’t even believers. I’ve got news for you. That is no excuse not to obey and honor them. God knows he put your parents over you. He knew that. That’s not news to him. You say well, I wish they would just become Christians. You know what? God would love that, too. And how is he to have them become Christians, but that when they dishonor you, you honor them, that shows them the difference in your life compared to other children, and that will lead them to the Lord. See, the way we treat our boss when we go crossways with him as opposed to other employees, that shows that we’re people of faith. It should. That should be a difference maker, the way we live our lives, the way we’re dishonored and the way we honor back. I was at a restaurant one time with my wife and kids, and we were eating, and this poor waitress, I felt terrible for her. She was serving food for us. She was doing a great job. And you know, that job still amazes me. I don’t understand how they take like eight orders and then they remember it all and just go back. I would be like hold on, say that again. I’d be writing everything down. I’d be like okay, everyone’s just going to have peanut butter, okay? I’m sorry. (Laughter) You know what I mean? I mean, there’s no way I could get all that down. It would be like you’re all going to have peanut butter and jelly, and I’ll bring some soup or something, all right? Just leave me alone. You know? I mean, I could never do that, you know, how they get everyone’s order just right. It’s amazing, you know? And then when you have orders with my kids, they’re like, I want a taco with no shell and I want a hamburger with plain and dry, oh, wait, pickles, oh, yeah, and mustard. No, not mustard, mayonnaise, no, I want — and you’re like oh, my goodness. I mean, I’m confused and I’m their father, and I don’t know how they write it all down, and they get it right. It’s amazing. This girl, she got all the orders right and then started going next door to this other couple beside us, and this couple berated her. I remember just turning going, you’re kidding me. I mean, it was so obvious that it was hard — Jessica was looking at me going, you are a pastor in this town. Quit looking at them. I was like okay, I’m sorry, I’m sorry. (Laughter) I mean, I was mad. I was angry. I was wanting to go, you want to go outside? Let’s go outside. I mean, I was mad. (Laughter) I’m not saying I was right. I’m just telling you the truth. Luckily, he was a small guy. Anyways, I was very upset. (Laughter) His wife could have taken me. Anyways, they treated this waitress so bad. I felt terrible. At the end of the night, they left before we did. We called the waitress. Excuse me, can you come over here? She came over, and we said, I want to tell you how proud I am of you. I said, I don’t know you. That was unbelievable. You handled yourself with such class, with such grace in the way that couple treated you.
And I’m convinced that the reason why God allows us to see those things when other people don’t is because God wants to use us as dispensers of honor, to say I will make sure you get honored. And so I was like, listen, I know they didn’t tell you this, but I’m going to tell you this. You were amazing. You did a great job today. And I thought she was about to cry when Jessica and I were talking with her. But she deserved that. I mean, I could not everyone believe the dishonor this poor girl took. It’s unbelievable.
Have you ever been with a Christian that’s done this? It makes me want to go outside with them on the spot. I’m like, I will take you out back, dude. You do not — it defames the name of Christ when someone does that. They leave a tract and then no tip. Oh, my — what do you — that’s how they live. You know, write way over that tip. Why? Because that represents Christ. It also represents how they survive, how they live. The realities that we have to learn, honor is a valuing of people. And so okay, you know what? So maybe someone didn’t serve you the best they possibly could. You don’t know what was going on in their life that day. The times when your behavior wasn’t the best, I bet there was something going on in your life, too, wasn’t there? Yeah. There’s stuff going on people don’t even know. We have no idea. Listen, you may go to the office, they have no idea what you just went through at home. They don’t know. So for them to still honor you, wow. We are called to honor people. Even when we’re dishonorable, even when people are dishonorable to us, we’re called to honor them for the kingdom of God. Look at 1 Peter 3:9. This verse is just a tough one. Man, this is just real Christianity right here. This is not easy stuff, I admit. Look at this verse. The Amplified Version says this, “Never return evil for evil or insult for insult.” Oh, man, that is just hard, isn’t it? Someone’s just cutting you down, they’re in your face, they’re just giving you the business, and you’re supposed to just not respond to that? That is not easy. You ever had the holy zip it, where God’s like zip it? And you’re like, let me just say one thing, God, just one thing, just say one thing. And God won’t let you do it? You ever had that happen? And you’re like, I’ve got the perfect cut-down. It’s right here on the end of my tongue. Just let me, just one God, I just need one zinger, that’s it. (Laughter) And God won’t let you do it because God’s saying I’m going to teach you something. What you learn is more important than how you feel. It is. What we learn is more important than how we feel. And so God sometimes will tell us zip, zip it. No. Tells you no. You have to wait. It says never return evil for evil or insult for insult. Then it describes what that is. Scolding, tongue lashing, berating. But on the contrary, blessing. Oh, not only am I supposed to be quiet, I’m supposed to bless them. You’ve got to be kidding me. I’m like, I bless you, and may a big rock fall on your head. (Laughter) You know, that’s what I want to bless them. God doesn’t say to do that. I’ve never said that. (Laughter)
As far as you know. Anyways, no, but we’re supposed to be blessings to people. It says be a blessing. Then it says praying for their welfare. You want to learn how to really stop hating someone? Pray for their blessing. Oh, God, I pray you would bless my ex-spouse with a great relationship. Oh, it got quiet. (Laughter) Wow. Oh, God, I pray that you’d bless that company that fired me. Bless them. I pray you’d bless that individual that hurt me. I pray that you would bless their life. Heal their hurt. Because listen, mark my words, when people are hurting you, it’s because they are hurting. That’s why people hurt people. Hurt people hurt people. That’s how that works. And so it says “pray for their welfare, happiness and protection, and truly pitying.” Pitying doesn’t mean looking down on them. It means understanding that they’re hurting. That’s why they’re hurting you. So pitying them and loving them. For know that to this you have been called. This is part of our faith. We have been called to this, to be good to those who are bad to us, to be nice to those who are mean to us, to bring good when they bring evil, to bring honor when they bring dishonor. Wow. This is not easy to do. The scripture goes on. He says, “That you may yourselves inherit a blessing.” And who’s the blessing from? It’s from God. That you may obtain a blessing as heirs. Heirs means that we are children of the king. Bringing welfare and happiness and protection.
So God says you are to honor them even when they’re dishonoring you. Why do we do this? Number three. If you handle yourself right from this moment, meaning now you understand this concept, now you get it, you begin to obey this, you will qualify yourself for reward. For reward in heaven and on earth. God always rewards you when you honor those even if they’re dishonoring to you. You know what that is? That is this. Someone dishonors you, man dishonors you, you know what God says? When you continue to honor them anyways, God says clear everyone out of the way. Get everybody out of the way. Everyone move. Everyone out. Because this blessing’s coming straight from me to you. That’s what God does when you honor someone who’s dishonoring you. (Applause) He says get everybody out of the way. I’m bringing honor. The other day, my friend Gilbert, he comes to me, and he goes Pastor Bill, I’ve got to do your car again. I said my car’s fine, Gilbert. I don’t need my car — he goes no, no, you don’t understand. I need to detail your car. I said why? He goes, because every time I touch your car, my business gets crazy blessed. (Laughter) I said, I’m at your service. (Laughter) And I told Gilbert this, I said, Gilbert, I appreciate that, but you need to understand this isn’t really about the fact that you’re doing Pastor Bill’s car. This is about the fact that you are a man of honor. And because you’re honorable, people trust you, and therefore people bring their cars to you. They trust it’s going to be done right. They know it’s going to be done fair. It’s going to be done on time. What you say you do, you’ll do. You’re honorable. And when you’re honorable, you get honored. That’s how it works. So I want to challenge you today, sure, I’ve armed a few people, but I want to challenge you to go home and honor someone. Maybe send an e-mail, maybe a phone call, maybe a pat on the back, maybe shake someone’s hand. I don’t know what it is. Maybe give something to someone, help someone. I don’t know. But if you’ll just honor. If someone comes to your mind and you think, they have taught me honor, why don’t you honor them? And then do the unthinkable. Not only honor those who’ve taught you honor, but honor those who have taught you dishonor. Go to those who have hurt you and say, I honor you today for who you are. And mean it sincerely. Listen, seek God. Pray about this. This doesn’t need to be some kind of act. This needs to be the real deal. But if we will live by the honor code, then God will honor us. And the Bible says that when God opens the door, no man can shut it. And so I just want to encourage you today that if you want doors to fly open for you, honor those who are closing doors. Honor those who seem to be standing in the way of your life. Honor those who seem to be hurting you. Honor those who seem to be insulting you, and see if my God does not do things that you can’t even understand or comprehend, because that’s about God’s kingdom, not your kingdom. Would you bow your heads with me? Thank you for being here today. Thank you for taking a tough message, I admit. But I want to challenge you today, if today this is tough and you think, oh, man, I don’t want to honor this person, I’ve been treated so wrongly, listen, God is not saying that’s not true. He is not saying that you’ve been treated fairly. Oh, no. What he’s saying is that he is the judge. He is the one who squares it up, not you and I. So he’s saying if you will just honor them, God will honor you. With your head bowed and your eyes closed during this prayer time, I just want to encourage you to say God, I want to honor this person. Forgive me for back lashing right back at them, for cutting them back down, for being mean towards them when they’ve been mean towards me. Help me instead to respond the way you would. See, Christ, the whole cross, the whole concept of the cross, him dying on the cross, he honored the authority who said put him to death. He could have said hey, whoa, whoa. Hold on. You crossed the line right there. Listen, I’m God, and I’m going to prove it right now, boom, and in an instant could have killed them all. He didn’t do that. He could have said let the bodies hit the flo. He could have done that right there. Boom. Over. All of them gone. He didn’t do that. He said I will submit to this authority that’s even wrong. And because he did that, you and I now know that there’s no name above Jesus. Because God said I will elevate my son to the highest level. He is the savior, the messiah of the entire world because he honored those who did not deserve it even to the point of death. Let’s honor people. With your head bowed and your eyes closed during this prayer time, if you’ve never trusted Christ before, you can receive him right now by praying a simple prayer. You can pray with me.
You can say, Dear Jesus, I believe that you died on the cross to pay the price for my sins, that you died for all the things I’ve done wrong, that you rose again from the grave, proving that you’re God. And I invite you, I ask you to come into my heart. Change me from within. I want to make you the Lord, the boss, the coach of my life. I want to turn from living for myself, and I now want to live for you. I want to put you in charge. Help me now to live a life of honor for you. In your name we pray, amen. Isn’t God good? (Applause) His word is so true. It really is.