The other day, I was talking to a friend, a young woman I’ve only known and worked with for a short while. We were talking about someone we both know, and neither one of us particularly likes. This person has a pretty high position in an organization where my friend volunteers. I was enjoying (probably a little too much) complaining about this person we both knew.
But then my friend said something that challenged me. She said, “While I don’t care for XXX, I realize that he is above me, and I need to give him the honor he is due.” Wow. That statement caught me off guard. But I knew she was right. I was not only complaining about another human being; I was trying to pull my friend in on my rant-fest as well. She was wise enough to cut me off.
Extending honor to others is not something we talk about all that often. In truth, it’s much easier (and perhaps initially more satisfying) to grumble, whine, or complain about another person’s faults and shortcomings. These days, instead of giving honor to people in key positions it’s fashionable to take pot-shots. Think of all the memes you’ve seen and perhaps forwarded on to others when the president or person in power is not from your party of preference.
What would happen if we were more intentional in giving honor to someone, even when they irritate us or we just don’t like them? What if we extended them honor just because it’s the right thing to do? Because their position in your company warrants that honor.
Could it be that when you give someone honor, they more easily begin to act in a manner that aligns with the honor you are giving? Maybe you are not as coy or clever in hiding your disdain for a co-worker as you think you are. People can sense when they are not appreciated, valued, or respected. So when you extend honor to another person, especially when you don’t feel like it, perhaps that sets in motion a positive chain reaction that helps the person blossom and mature. Try reviling less and revering more. Give honor where honor is due.