What is Honor?

To honor something is to lift it up and make it important. Honor must be earned through action and then given by another. Within society, honor can be given for character traits, lifestyles, business success, and victorious warriors. Within the Kingdom of Heaven, honor is given for righteousness.

Basic Concepts of Honor

Defining Honor

Honor can be defined in different ways. Primarily, something that is honored is viewed as being above what is normal, lifted up, as important, or sometimes weighty. Similarly, dishonor is often looked at as below the norm, unimportant, and light.

Honor Must be Earned

You cannot just say you have honor, you must show it through your actions. Honor is something that must be earned. It cannot be taken. If someone or something (like a business) attempts to lift itself up above others, rather than be lifted up by others, it is found to be prideful and arrogant. Or if someone like a dictator uses force to come to power or a position of rank, he probably is not honored so much as he is feared by the people. True honor must be given and received, not taken.

Giving Honor with Time, Effort, and Money

There is a saying that if you want to know what is important to a person, then look at their checkbook. This works because what a person chooses to spend their money on is likely to be what is most important to them. This concept applies to our use of time and effort as well. If time is spent with family, hobbies, work, or any other type of activity it shows that such an activity is important to the person.

Giving Honor with Respect

Perhaps one of the strongest displays of honor is that of respect. When one person shows respect for another person, even if it is from a child to a parent, then it shows that one is greater than another and is being given the status of importance.

Enemies of Honor

There are many things that can prevent a person from being worthy of honor. One of the most common is fear. Fear can make a person unable to handle responsibilities and do a job. Another problem is distraction which will make a person ineffective at what they do. Perhaps the worst enemy to honor is pride. Pride can cause jealousy, impatience, selfish behavior, and a host of other things that are generally regarded as dishonorable.

Honor in Society

Character Traits

When one explores the spectrum of nations, cultures, and peoples around the world, one finds that there are a few things that are accepted as honorable or dishonorable in virtually all groups. For example, a person who is real and truthful is honored and respected while someone who is false and deceitful is dishonored. Similarly, those who are responsible and reliable are honored and preferred over those who are irresponsible and unreliable. These honored attributes spread across all parts of an individuals life no matter what the culture holds important as a whole.


Different societies and cultures will have different values for deciding what is important in life and what is considered honorable as a profession or job for their people. A society that seeks knowledge will honor those who are educated while a society that honors strength will honor warriors. A society honoring philosophy will often pursue the arts, what is pleasant, peaceful, or beautiful. Cultures of commerce will attempt to build big businesses.

Asked for and Unasked for Advice

One aspect of relationship where honor is often abused is in the case of advice. Unasked for advice is often unwelcome and not accepted. The person giving the unasked for advice is, in essence, stating I know more than you do and you need my help. This may or may not be true, but either way it is given in a prideful way which is then not accepted. In waiting to be asked for advice, honor is then given rather than taken and both giver and receiver are more at peace.

Honor in Cultures

The Business Culture

Honor in business is often measured in successfully building a large business with considerable money and assets. In fact, money often is the single most powerful measure of success in business. This is the reason business leaders make lists such as the ‘500 Wealthiest People in the World’. Due to competition for success, business is often a selfish pursuit. This means that an action that makes the most profit will triumph over what mighty be considered a more honorable action in terms of character.

The Warrior Culture

Honor, for the warrior, comes in fighting battles and building empires. It does not come from competition, which is really only practicing. Sometimes, personal honor of character is associated with warriors such as the Samauri. However, warriors with personal codes of honor exist much more in novels than in real life. The reality is much more in the fighting style of Tsung Szu which includes the use of double agents to help win a war. A person who is a double-agent (helping the enemy against his own country while pretending to help his country) will not be honored by either side when all is finished.

Honor in the Kingdom of Heaven

Honor in Righteousness

Within the Kingdom of Heaven, one can look at honor both now (in this lifetime) and in the future (eternal life). For both of these, one of the primary measures of honor is righteousness. At this time honor and dishonor, righteousness and unrighteousness, are often shown in the forms of blessing and cursing.

Warriors in the Kingdom

Those who are believers are warriors engaged in the war Satan wages against good. One must fight a personal battle for righteousness and purity against the lusts of the flesh and the outside attacks of temptation. The believer can also fight to build the Kingdom of Heaven by helping others to know the Eternal and by encouraging righteousness.

Having Honor

Choosing Honor

In most societies, we tend to honor those who have come from poor problematic backgrounds, worked hard to get an education, and then built up a business. Perhaps, all the more, we should honor those people who give up the comforts having their own home and go out to share the message of salvation in far away places. Both are fighting battles and building empires. However, one is dealing with a physical empire while the other deals with matters of eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven. A person has a choice in what they honor and, to some extent, what honor they might receive.

Questions of Life Series

XLIIIE. Last Updated: 19/01/2016
Todd Elder

Todd Elder

Todd Elder has a deep desire to understand and experience Creation. As a Baraminologist, his current research includes developing the Katagenos Species Concept, the Natanzera Classification System, and the Floral Formula Method of determining Plant Kinds. As an author and speaker, his books and seminar materials are designed to encourage a growing relationship with the Creator.
Todd Elder

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