“Perhaps the greatest test is when we have to “honour” our enemies, something the Scripture may imply in the command to “honour all people”.”

THE BIBLE has a lot to say about honour.

“Those who honour me, I will honour.” (1 Samuel 2:30)

“Honour your father and your mother.” (Exodus 20:12)

“Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honour giving preference to one another.” (Romans 12:10)

“Honour widows who are really widows.” (1 Timothy 5:3)

“Let elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honour.” (1 Timothy 5:17)

“Honour all people. Love the brotherhood. Honour the King.” (1 Peter 2:17)

Yet honour is under attack these days. It is in vogue to satirise the foibles of Singaporeans, high and low, by posting online videos, audio recordings, cartoons and performing stand-up comedies and the like.

While humour is an indispensable part of life, can honour be dispensed with for the sake of a good laugh?

When is it good clean fun? And when have we crossed the line into dishonour?

The line is not very easy to draw as it is very much a subjective matter. But somehow we need to know when we have crossed it because there are some very serious consequences if we venture there unaware.

When we cease to honour where it is due, it is just a few steps away before we start poking fun at religious personages, entering into the whole area of blasphemy.

Honour, as seen in the Scripture passages above, means to dignify, or to ennoble, or even to glorify, or magnify.

It is almost closer to worship, although that is something we only render to one who is divine. It seems like it is a degree higher than simple respect.

When we honour someone we consider that person to be of better worth, like in the way Paul tells the Philippians to esteem others as better than themselves (Philippians 2:3).

In this sense then, it is easier to honour someone we are already predisposed to like. But we would be

hard pressed to have to humble ourselves to honour someone who seems “lower” than we are, or is incompetent, or just plain unlikeable in our eyes.

Perhaps the greatest test is when we have to “honour” our enemies, something the Scripture may imply in the command to “honour all people”.

Jesus goes one step even further: we are to love our enemies. Now, that should really force us to rethink how to dignify someone we have been denigrating all along.

The Rev Dr Wee Boon Hup is the President of Trinity Annual Conference.



Planning, effort, diligence maketh holiness

“Good thoughts cannot produce bad acts and bad thoughts cannot produce good acts.”

AS A MAN THINKETH by James Allen is arguably one of the best books ever written on the power of thought.

Allen compared the mind to a garden and its owner to a master gardener. A good character is not the product of chance any more than a beautiful garden could happen by accident. Integrity is a natural result of continued effort in right thinking.

The overarching theme of As a Man Thinketh is that individuals control the development of their character through controlling their thoughts.

At the very moment one chooses his thoughts, one also chooses his destiny.

Allen’s garden analogy well illustrates this cause and effect relationship.

Just as plants come from seeds, actions grow from thoughts. The challenging part is getting the right seeds into the garden of the mind. Useless seeds find their way there all by themselves, but useful ones must be purposely planted Good thoughts must be deliberately sown and carefully nurtured to produce the fruit of righteousness. Bad thoughts must be eradicated in the same way one removes weeds to preserve a well-kept garden.

Good thoughts cannot produce bad acts and bad thoughts cannot produce good acts.

The law of sowing and reaping is as true in the mental and moral realm as it is in the plant world (Galatians 6:7-8). Holiness, like husbandry, requires planning, effort and diligence. – KneEmail.

Aubry Johnson contributes to KneEmail, a Christian resource organisation.