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Session 26

How to know who is worthy of honor

Read: Proverbs 26

The singer steps on stage and the opening chords of the song fill the room. She inhales deeply and lifts the mic to sing. But what comes out is unrecognizable. Off key and offbeat, she smiles and sings confidently while the audience watches in shock. 

When the judges give their critique, she defends her performance and her tantrum quickly becomes an Internet meme. 

There’s nothing like seeing someone make a fool of themselves on TV to illustrate the danger of giving people undue honor. When we give people respect or admiration they haven’t earned, we set them up for failure. 

Just like the singer who’s never been told she can’t sing, the fool in Proverbs 26 grows more foolish every time his folly is rewarded. 

That’s one reason the Bible teaches us to give encouragement freely and to honor selectively. Everyone needs encouragement — to be reminded of who we are in Christ and the power available to us through the Holy Spirit. But honor is reserved for: 

  • those who show wisdom about when to engage with someone and when to ignore someone (Proverbs 26:3-7),  
  • those who work hard, say what they mean, and don't interfere in others' business (Proverbs 26:13-17), 
  • those who make peace and avoid gossip (Proverbs 26:18-25),  
  • those who can be trusted with your heart (Proverbs 26:26-28).

Honor is bestowed based on a person’s character, not their position. Just like giving undeserved praise can land people on stages they aren’t ready for, undeserved honor can lead us to think we’re more than we are. And as long as we think we’re fine, we’ll never grow into who God knows we can be. 

Reflect: 

  • Have you ever lied to someone about their skills or abilities? If you could go back, what would you do differently?
  • What are the things our culture honors? How are those qualities different from what God says deserves honor?

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