Sometimes, I wonder why I should bother honouring certain people who may never know how I talked about them behind their backs. I'm thinking of this past year when I was getting to know two guys (at totally different times). In both instances, my heart was getting involved as it was looking like things would progress into a relationship, only to be disappointed by the guy not being ready for a serious relationship. With the most recent guy, I was very angry and hurt at first. Part of the reason for the strong emotions was very much due to the upheaval in my life caused by my parents separating and other significant changes in the same time frame.
The first couple days, I allowed myself to express my anger in the privacy of my home. However, even though no one else could hear me but God, I felt that it was wrong to express my anger in a way that was disrespectful to this man. Name-calling and put-downs were unacceptable.
It took awhile, but after praying quite extensively, I had to make the choice to lay aside my right to be spiteful, and choose not to sin in my anger. Yes, I'm sure better decisions could have been made by this man, which would have saved me a lot of grief. Despite that fact, I still needed to honour him, despite how "worthy" he might be of it.
As I began to make choices that honoured him in my thoughts, words, and actions, God revealed to me how these decisions were creating a legacy of honour. Although this man had no idea what I was saying/not saying about him, the way I handled the situation was having major effects in the spirit realm.
On both sides of my family, there are quite a few examples of negative relationships and marriages. I used to be terrified that I was doomed to have a relationship like my parents'. Yet, as I choose to keep my eyes fixed on Christ and His plan for my life, I realize that I have hope to break the chains of generational curses, particularly with relationships, and create new legacies of generational blessings.
When I chose to honour that man that I had felt hurt by, I began to get excited. I was breaking off old ways of dealing with problems and creating new, Godly ones. I was building a legacy of honour for my future children! I was also gaining clarity in areas that God wanted to work with me on so that I could grow from this experience.
The spiritual atmosphere has a powerful effect in our everyday lives, and I am positively influencing this atmosphere when I honour the people God has placed in my life, especially when it hurts. The truest tests of my character are when I have been wronged. It's easy to honour people when they treat me well.
As I build good habits with honouring others now, I can pass on those skill sets to my children. Strongholds of anger and bitterness will be replaced with mindsets of honour, love, and respect. There will be times that my children will get angry and hurt, but as I model what it looks like to treat people as Christ would, staying clear of criticism, name-calling, and put-downs, they will be empowered to do the same in their own lives. Mistakes will still be made, both in my life and my children's, but I believe that a legacy of honour is being built with each decision to honour instead of tear down.