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  • Writer's picturePatricia Bootsma

A Culture of Honor

Growing up in Canada, we considered March the month that “comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.” Blizzards and snowmen would give way to spring rains and sprigs of budding grass.

Spiritually speaking, this March seems to be coming in like a lion with ever-increasing reports of moves of God. Something fresh is happening from university campuses to houses of worship, from spontaneous prayer and worship meetings to repentance with tears. Amos 3:8 says, “A lion has roared! Who will not fear? The Lord God has spoken! Who can but prophesy?”

At this time, I’m reminded of the need to cultivate a culture of honor — honor of God and honor of one another. In many cases, youth are leading the moves of God cropping up all over, and it is not just ‘youthful zest’ they are carrying.

Familiarity can cause a lack of honor towards someone resulting in missing an impartation of what they have from the Lord. As it has been said, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown.” The children of Israel initially refused to honor Moses as he was born as one of their own. David’s brothers refused to believe their little brother could take out the mighty Goliath.

Other Biblical figures learned the importance of honor, such as Barak, who would not go to war without Deborah. Abraham honored Melchizedek and received a blessing.

The only commandment with a promise attached is the fifth, “‘Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may be well with you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you.” (Deuteronomy 5:16)

What does honor look like? I asked that same question years ago when the Lord impressed on my heart to honor my father, with whom I had a difficult relationship throughout my childhood. While in my thirties, we moved back to my hometown to pastor a church. Thinking I was doing a fine job of honoring by showing up at Christmas and sending a Father’s Day card, the Lord challenged my heart that that was not good enough. An impression came that I was to honor my dad in ways that would speak to his heart, such as sitting in the coffee shop with my parents twice a week.

I assured the Lord I had too many important things to do for Him with that time! Evidently, the Lord felt this was important as insistent nudges to obey would not abate. Thus, I finally went to the coffee shop regularly and heard my Dad tell war stories since he grew up in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands during World War II.

Listening to those stories gave me a new appreciation for what my parents had endured. I realized they were incredibly resilient to live through first the Depression and then a World War. They had each immigrated to Canada alone on a weeks-long transatlantic passage to come to a nation whose language they did not know (they met and married in Canada). My Dad eventually became the largest dairy farmer in Southwestern Ontario and a very successful real estate broker. A love for my Dad I had not known began to take hold of my heart. I heard words I had longed for as a child about how proud he was of me and declarations of love.

My Dad graduated to heaven nearly two years ago. I’ll be forever grateful to the Lord for relentlessly prompting me to learn how to honor him. There are no regrets. I learned the value of honor, even if you don’t feel like it or don’t think the person deserves it. God has a high value in a culture of honor. That applies to marriages, families, the workplace, and society. Heavenly honor reaps heavenly rewards. This month may all experience fresh winds igniting a culture of honor.

Patricia Bootsma

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