I wrote this blog one year ago today. (3-21-2016) It popped up on my timeline and I read it again…I felt no less moved and grateful for the honor my husband shows me than when I originally put these thoughts together. After another year of sitting with couples in pain, I am more convinced that showing honor contains spiritual power that builds a bridge of mercy for people to see Jesus. Not everyone will cross that bridge. Pride will cause them to miss out on the opportunity of a lifetime for true heart change and healing. We can’t make someone see. We can pray they will. We can say all kinds of loving, truthful things but until the eyes of their heart are opened, mercy makes no sense. Jesus loved us as sinners but until we agree with Him that we are sinners, mercy has no power. And sadly, when someone can’t come to terms with being a sinner in need of a Savior, the only hope left is some behavior modification that could keep people living in the same house. I was reading in Acts 12 this morning and verse 5 lit up. “So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.” We can’t over emphasize prayer when someone is bound by chains and in the prison of sin and shame. How we got into prison can differ for everyone but praying to a God who hears is always the most powerful answer. Then being ready to walk through open doors.
I tried to think of a more exciting blog title but this is it…weakness, honor & answered prayer…and I’m particularly fond of the connection.
Let’s jump in.
“You husbands, in the same way, (Same way as what? Refer to 1 Peter 2:21-23) live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers would not be hindered.” 1 Peter 3:7
Though this verse is directed towards husbands, please stick with me as the wife of a man who is living this truth out, not perfectly but intentionally and fearlessly….
And I have to tell you…there is nothing intimidating or hindering about being called “weaker” when you have a man who honors you and prays unhindered prayers.
According to God, there is a connection…a man who honors his wife in all her weakness as a fellow heir of the grace of life and that same man seeing answers to his prayers.
God is the One who connected weakness, honor and answered prayer for husbands…
And it’s absolutely breathtaking to see the fruit of it in marriage.
In a recent meeting with a couple looking for hope, my husband shared his journey of being convicted of not living with me in an understanding way as a fellow heir of the grace of life. I’ve heard him say these things before but for some reason this recent confession went deeper…than ever before.
Honor- regard with great respect; high esteem
Honor is never taken…and those who try delay it’s gift.
Honor has to be freely given… and freely received… from pure hearts, void of flattery.
God speaks of honor frequently and I am convinced that showing one another honor could change the world for the better…and positively in marriage.
The intrigue of honor is, you don’t have to agree with someone to honor them…you just have to have your eyes opened to every person being created in the image of God…but that’s only the first awakening.
True honor not only has eyes wide open to the value of God’s creation but becomes aware of opportunities to show honor.
I’m being especially challenged in this season of what it looks like to show honor to those who have hurt me…
and I am reminded of something Nathan did:
Several years ago I was driving in an oblivious fog of pain over my reckless and selfish decision to look outside my marriage for honor… for someone who would tell me how wonderful and beautiful I was…someone who would rescue me from my dull and dutiful marriage…if not physically, an emotional escape.
On this painful, glorious day I received a text from Nathan. It simply said:
I intend to honor you in the highest way possible.
I almost wrecked my car and had to pull over and cry buckets of pain, confusion and awe. I didn’t get it. And I wasn’t even sure what it meant, especially in that moment…when I not only deserved to be scorned, but felt the weight of my dreadfully honor-less decisions. (Of course Nathan hated what I did…felt the agony of betrayal and most assuredly went to a deeper identification of the sufferings of Jesus) But for whatever reason, in that moment, the grace of God poured out on Nathan to do what Christ does for us…
AND the mercy shown to me started its work deep into my restless soul.
Nathan went on to ask me if he could meet with our elders at church and confess his part in the breakdown of our marriage…the thought terrified me, but something about it felt mysteriously different…because honor is WAY MORE than words. Which is why God says, “Show honor.”
Nathan started a faith walk of showing me honor at a time I didn’t deserve to be honored…not mostly for me and not just for me…but to honor God. Because God tells husbands to “show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life…”
Though Nathan did not feel honored by me, he chose to trust Christ’s words and show honor to me. And I am still in awe of it…it never becomes familiar and when he does something that shows me honor, I worship God and thank Nathan. I worship God because only God would inspire a man to love a woman like me…an unfaithful transformed woman who can’t get over mercy.
The bigger picture I hope comes through these fragile words is that Christ Jesus does the same for us…so even if we aren’t married, have a husband who hasn’t been awakened to the love Christ or is rebelling against it, Christ is our perfect Husband. And if we will hold tight and not go looking for another flawed human being to give us flawed honor, we can lean into our perfect Savior who shows us honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life…not demanding it, expecting it or tirelessly searching for it…only being surprised by it as purposeful kisses from Heaven.
True honor coming from others leaves us worshipping God, not the one showing honor. And when this happens in marriage a chain reaction of honor begetting honor begins to bloom…and it really doesn’t matter who starts…although God specifically addresses this to husbands to hopefully inspire the outcome.
If you go back to the beginning, I refer to 1 Peter 2:21-23 and I must end with it…because Jesus Himself is not asking any of us to do something He did not first do and now empowers us to do by His Spirit.
“For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering , He uttered no threats but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously…”
Don’t worry friends, God judges righteously even as you show honor in the most painful circumstances…honor will have its way…either being used to draw a person to repentance or revealing why God’s justice is fair for those who reject His mercy…just keep your eyes fixed on Jesus…look to Him….learn His ways (Which He calls gentle and humble) and know this breath of life for the children of God is met with an eternity of perfect love, unending honor and forever rejoicing.
If you are in a season of pain…I leave you with a song that will calm your heart if you let it.