Love without Honor

“But then David’s conscience began bothering him because he had cut Saul’s robe. He said to his men, ‘The Lord forbid that I should do this to my lord the king. I shouldn’t attack the Lord’s anointed one, for the Lord himself has chosen him.'” 1 Samuel 24:5-6 (NLT)

(Sighs). Lately, I have been asking the Lord to double check my love walk. I’m in a season where I could justifiably walk around in anger and bitterness in my circumstance. Especially since I didn’t cause it or ask to be placed in it! But, from the beginning, I made the conscious decision to go to God with every action, thought, and word because…I’m very much saved and I very much love Jesus but I’m also still savage! (Hand raised…anyone else need Jesus?) So, the setting and opportunity David has here very much resonates with me. I mean, given the opportunity to destroy your enemy – the person constantly coming at you, constantly hurting you; wouldn’t you take it? Wouldn’t you hurt them back?

Yes…we know that Romans 12:17 instructs us never to repay evil for evil. So, maybe we wouldn’t destroy them or take revenge. Because who wants to get in trouble with God? Nope! But 1 Samuel 24:5-6 tore me up, not because David didn’t take that opportunity. No…it was how the small act of cutting Saul’s robe made him realize what he was doing, and this bothered him. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but that one little act would lead to a much larger outcome. Despite all the hate Saul had for him, his terrible treatment of David, and the multiple attempts to kill him – David still chose to respect him. David honored God’s chosen. It wasn’t just about not killing Saul, it was about recognizing who Saul was and demonstrating Saul’s worth – HONOR.

The definition of honor, according to Merriam-Webster, is showing respect, recognition; one whose worth brings respect. What’s so dope is that although Saul didn’t see the worth in himself, David saw it in him and acknowledged it (because ratchet and all, Saul belonged to God). I realized that this story was, in fact, an act of love! What God checked me on was that, although I was good with not coming against my enemies, I wasn’t good with giving them honor! There’s a difference: not repaying evil for evil to those who hurt you is an inward decision you make out of your love for God. But honoring those who hurt you, well that’s showing God your love for His people!

Maybe you’re thinking what I thought: ‘But they don’t deserve honor. Respect is earned.’ Romans 12:9-10 says, “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” Ouch! Here’s what I got: honor is an outward expression of love that is NOT contingent upon the other person’s behavior or merits! We cannot say that we genuinely love God’s people if we do not honor them! (See definition of honor). We’re called to honor even if they don’t see the honor in themselves. My friend, I asked God to double check my love walk, and He showed me that I couldn’t just go through the motions of 1 Corinthians 13. The real love of God requires honor because there can be no love without it!

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