Affection and Honor

June 17, 2022

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Romans 12:10 ESV

Paul’s simple yet profound guidance will change the environment of any situation where it is taken seriously. If we are Jesus followers, we are all brothers and sisters in Christ, regardless of any other relationship, and this is required behavior for Jesus followers. If the person in relationship with us is not a Jesus follower, we are to win them by our behavior. Regardless of the relationship and the status of the other person, this defines simply and clearly our responsibility and privilege.

Th dictionary definition tells us that affection is not romantic love and is not typically marked by strong passions. Affection is tender, gentle feelings, wanting the best for someone, looking at them with kindness and warmth. Of course affection is a part of love. In fact, the deepest love begins with affection. Affection is essential to having love, but you don’t have to have everything else that goes with passionate love in order to show affection. Paul’s definition calls it “brotherly affection.” I have two brothers. We no longer live together, but we have a bond of affection and love that will never be broken. I believe the best about them, would do anything I could for them, speak well of them, and enjoy our times together. Talking to them brings a smile to my heart; seeing them is even better. Don’t disrespect them to me. You know how that works. That’s the way we are supposed to treat each other. What if you don’t feel that way? Well, you choose to show affection until you feel it. You pray and ask God to help you love and you act better than you feel. Showing affection is a choice we make, not simply an emotion we feel. If we do our part in obedience, God will help our feelings catch up with our actions.

Honor is treating another with respect. Whether it’s a family member, best friend, or stranger on the street, respect is celebrating who they are and affirming them. We do that by being active listeners and considering different perspectives. You don’t have to understand it, but you can respect their experiences and thoughts that brought them to this conclusion. You can show empathy. Put yourself in their shoes. A good way to do that is to say, “Huh, I never thought of it that way. Can you share your thoughts with me?” Then thank them. If you feel like you have to disagree, don’t insult them. Focus most on commonalities. Apologize if you hurt them. Call out others’ disrespectful behavior toward them. Don’t stand casually by. Kindly but firmly let others know you don’t tolerate disrespect to others. Keep your promises. Do what you say you will. Give compliments. Applaud efforts. Share their good points with others. Readily identify publicly that you are in relationship with them. Be proud of them. Don’t criticize them to others. Don’t compare them with anyone else. Be grateful. Refuse to allow yourself to feel competitive with them. In fact, make their preferences take first place any time you can. Those are the places where honor and affection start.

  • Yep—that’s a lot. But every healthy relationship is worth it. It’s the Jesus kind of love.