There used to be a time when “honor” meant a great deal to people. Men would meet on the “field of honor” and be willing to give their lives and die that they might retain this once-cherished character trait. Women took great care to live their lives in such a way that they would never lose their “honor.”
The United States Military Academy prides itself on being an institution where “honor” still holds the greatest significance. Those enrolled at that institution are still guided by the timeless motto “Duty, Honor, Country.” Note what the website of that institution says regarding their position on the subject of honor:
“Renowned as the world’s premier leader development institution, West Point accomplishes its mission by developing cadets intellectually, physically, militarily, ethically, spiritually, and socially…Cadets also develop ethically by adhering to the Cadet Honor Code, which states ‘A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do’ ” (USMA website) We applaud an institution such as West Point where honor is still held in the highest regard and where that noble quality is taught as a way of life.
Honor no longer a priority
Unfortunately, honor is not being held in the highest regard it once was. The daily news is filled with examples of men and women, leaders in their respective fields, who have come up far too short when it comes to honor. These men and women have gotten caught up in their own weaknesses and have failed those who looked to them as respected leaders.
Let us ask ourselves some key questions. What exactly is “honor” and where is the best source for educating ourselves as to that noble trait? Dictionary.com defines honor (in part) as “integrity in one’s…actions.” The best source for educating us on this topic would be God’s Word, the Bible!
The Bible is a textbook on honor
The Bible is a textbook on proper living—living in an honorable way. Throughout its pages one will find explicit instruction as well as life-governing principles on how to live with honor. Here is what God’s Word says regarding the power of the Bible to guide us:
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12 Hebrews 4:12For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
American King James Version×). God’s Word will educate us as to what is honorable—filled with integrity—and what is not.
The Bible can accomplish this because its author, God, is a God of honor! “Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, You are very great: You are clothed with honor and majesty” (Psalms 104:1 Psalms 104:1Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, you are very great; you are clothed with honor and majesty.
American King James Version×).
Perhaps you would like to learn more about the subject of honor. It may be that you feel that your “honor quotient” is low or that you have lost something that was once dear to you—your honor—and you want to get it back.
We can’t change the past or remove all of the consequences that have come about as a result of past actions. However, we can do something about the present and the future! We can live with honor. If we have lost our honor in the past, we can become honorable people again. God’s Word will show us the way.
One of the most encouraging things about our Great God is that He loves us and will not turn from those who seek Him. God lovingly goes after the lost sheep:
“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’” (Luke 15:4-6 Luke 15:4-6  What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, does not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.
American King James Version×).
You can live honorably
I have titled this piece “A Call for Honorable Leaders” because God is looking for honorable leaders in a dishonorable world. You may never become the leader of your country, but you can become a leader to those you come into contact with. You can have a profound impact on those you interact with.
Here is a suggestion to help you on your way. United Church of God’s website, www.ucg.org, has a number of publications that can help you learn all about the subject of honor. A good place to start would be our booklet The Ten Commandments. Each commandment reveals an eternal truth and each commandment, when properly applied, will guide you in honorable living.
May you take up the challenge—the call to be an “Honorable Leader.”