The best thing that you can do to improve any relationship is to give honor. The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 12:10, “Outdo one another in showing honor.”

Outdoing the other person in giving honor works.

Honor is giving respect and value to the other person. We dishonor others because we do not value them. Often, we become frustrated with those closest to us. Teenagers with parents, a frustrating boss at work, even your spouse – conversation and attitude can easily show disrespect.

How do we honor others?

  1. Listen more than talk. Have you been in a conversation when the other person dismissed or overlooked your description of a difficult moment and used your experience to launch into their latest misfortune? Did you feel honored?
  2. Count blessings. Before meeting with someone consider three things that you appreciate about them. List them one, two, and three. When I do this, I’ve been amazed how I get the focus off myself and am prepared to outdo in giving honor.
  3. Open with a positive. Say something nice about them. Have you ever been greeted with an “off-putting” remark? The other person opens with sarcasm directed toward you. Opening a conversation with a snide remark is a means of control. You do not feel honored.
  4. Sense the Spirit moment. Conversations aren’t coincidental. The Spirit has something that needs to be accomplished through you. Learn to sense what God is doing in every encounter. You will listen, pray, encourage, teach, and serve others by following God’s Spirit.
  5. Fulfill your mission. All who follow Jesus are emissaries of the gospel. The gospel means “good news.” Good news is more than “all have sinned.”  You have a mission to bring positive, helpful, and encouraging conversation to everyone you meet.

As a leader and pastor, I have sensed others losing honor for me. Have you sensed this in a relationship? Something happens, the other person changes (something about their demeanor), conversations become strained. What happened?

Either you did something, or you didn’t do anything.

You can become bitter toward others and they toward you because of either action or perceived inaction. You sense someone has lost honor toward you because you did not live up to their expectations. What do I do? What should you do?

Outdo them in giving honor.

I admit this to be a difficulty. I don’t like to give honor to someone who is angry with me. In my frustration, my words too easily take away their value. When I wound with a snide remark, afterward I do not feel better.

I do feel better when I am a peacemaker.

Many years ago, I had a man in my church who disliked me. Not that I had sinned against him; he didn’t like my preaching. He thought that I should be more expressive of the “things of the Spirit.” His words!

I never understood what that meant. I determined to pray for him.

During our relational tussle, I went through severe financial difficulty. I did not tell anyone, but I was appealing to God for provision. One afternoon, my adversary showed up. He walked into my office and I thought, “Uh, oh.”

I began wondering what “things of the Spirit” he was going to tell me about.

Instead, he handed me a check for $5,000. He said, “The Spirit told me to give this to you.” I learned a lot about the Spirit that day.

This brother outdid me in giving honor.