I want to continue our series on the “one anothers” in the book of Romans. (If you missed last week’s post on “Love One Another”, you can catch it on our website. This week we stay in the same verse as last week (Romans 12:10) but we catch the second “one another” in the verse, which is to honor one another.

Actually, that’s not true. Paul doesn’t tell us in Romans 12:10 to simply “honor one another.” He actually says (according to the ESV translation)…

“Outdo one another in showing honor.”

Stealing Honor

Imagine you flip on the TV and you see a baseball game. Before you can change the channel, you realize the home team is losing by one run in the bottom of the ninth, but they have the tying run on first base. However, there are two outs. And up steps the shortstop to home plate. The shortstop doesn’t have a very good batting average, and the announcers aren’t giving him much of a chance. They make some comments that they are surprised the manager didn’t put in a pinch hitter in this situation. And sure enough, the shortstop swings pathetically at the first two pitches, getting two strikes against him. This means if the pitcher gets one more strike, the batter will be out, handing the home team a loss.

But instead of striking out, on the third pitch the shortstop cranks the ball over the fence for a home run, bringing in the two runs needed to give the home team the win. The stadium goes wild as the home team rushes on to the field to celebrate with the shortstop at home plate.

Now of course in this scenario, the “hero” of the game is the shortstop. But imagine a TV reporter interviewing the first baseman, and as the first baseman talks about the game, especially the exciting ending to the game, begins to take all the credit! He acts as if HE won the game for his team. I think you’re jaw would drop at the audacity of this player. He should be giving honor to the shortstop that hit the home run, especially when no one expected him to do much of anything in that situation. Instead, this selfish first baseman is searching for honor.

So often in life, we desire, like the first baseman, to be honored. We feel honored when…

  • …someone stands on a stage exchanging wedding vows with us.
  • …we get a promotion at work.
  • …our friends throw us a surprise party.

We like to be honored. So Paul, in Romans 12:10, wisely tells us to give honor to others. Here’s his logic: If other people are like us and desire to be honored, then Paul tells us to be the selfless people, and point the spotlight on one another.

Honor as a Competition

But Paul doesn’t stop there. He seems to turn honor into a competition. He tells us to “outdo one another” in giving honor. Why would he make the giving of honor a competitive sport? Because of the relationship-changing power of honor-giving!
Imagine a marriage where the spouses are regularly trying to outdo each other in honor. The husband finds joy in getting the dishwasher emptied before his wife can get there. The wife finds joy in folding her husband’s shirts before he can get to the task. The husband finds happiness when he gives his wife a present. The wife enjoys a silent smile when she drops an encouragement note in his briefcase or lunch bag. And this type of marital relationship is a ton of fun as they try to “outdo” each other in giving honor!

But imagine with me what a church family would look like that aims to outdo one another in honor (after all, that is what Paul was ultimately talking about in Romans 12:10). I believe that church would be the talk of the town! A church where members and attenders honor each other through words and actions. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that type of church?

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