A generally known truth about life is that what happens in your home, workplace, school, church, and community is to some extent a reflection of what’s going on in the culture. And when it comes to honor, whether you’re a person of faith, some faith, or no faith - how we understand and give honor to others is changing rapidly.
Heading into Veterans Day Weekend, there are 3 realities worth noting, especially for those who want to honor people the way Jesus did.
First, the bad news. Then, some encouragement.
People choose to dishonor others for a variety of reasons. The bad news is that oftentimes dishonor is personal.
Personal Reason #1: Human beings get jealous.
It’s normal for us to want achievements, success, and recognition. When others receive the spotlight for the same, similar, or perception of “less than our performance”, we get jealous. And, to boost our sense of self, validate our work, or perhaps passively say, “What about me”, jealousy sometimes is expressed as dishonor. Whether it’s a promotion at work, a report card in the classroom, or the feelings that money, benefits and perks, and financial compensation bring - dishonorable behavior lives in the tension between our sense of being enough and wanting what other people have received.
Personal Reason #2: Human beings have an internal drive for power and control.
Dishonorable behavior can sometimes look like manipulation or deception to maintain dominance over others. A good analogy is that we can remain in personal control and exude power over others by handcuffing them with our dishonorable words, attitudes, or behaviors. We see this all over the political arena. The only way out of the handcuffs is by using the keys of affirmation and encouragement.
Personal Reason #3: Bias and prejudice are part of human nature.
Unconscious bias has recently become a buzzword, especially in light of racial tension in the Western world. And while the term can be weaponized, every human being has indeed known and unknown attitudes and opinions shaped by one’s knowledge, environment, and life experience. Oftentimes expressed in the arenas of race, religion, and gender, every kind of stereotype contributes to dishonorable behavior. The ongoing war/genocide in the Middle East is a front-and-center example of what this looks like on a global scale. If I look at the times I have dishonored others, many times it is a reflection of my internal fear combined with my insecurities or assumed beliefs.
That’s human nature.
The bottom line is that dishonor is rooted in the sin-part of our human nature. As early as the late 300s, Augustine of Hippo said that dishonorable behavior is “man curved in on himself” and simply called it an expression of pride. Then, in the early 1900s, Karl Barth expanded this understanding beyond pride describing sin as human attempts to become our own authority or god.
What does this all mean?
As dishonorable as humans can be, we still have a sense that honor is a good thing.
For example, this weekend is Veterans Day. Small towns and large cities will celebrate with parades, ceremonies, award programs, luncheons and dinners, and rousing anthems to honor military personnel who continue to live and serve among us as civilians. No doubt, there would be a public uprising should someone be dishonorable during one of those events. So, deep inside, there is a desire to honor others… we just don’t always get it right.
More than ever, Jesus followers can lead the way when it comes to cultivating honor in our homes, workplaces, schools, churches, and communities. Jesus has already planted the seeds… we get to join Him in His work.
Some Final Thoughts
Honor is a good Bible-word, isn’t it?
Honor will look different for each person. And at the same time, if you want to know what honor looks like, look at Jesus.
I encourage you to talk to someone about what this looks like for you. It could be a family member, a coworker, a pastor, a neighbor or friend. It really doesn’t matter who because I believe we all want to honor people… we just don’t always get it right.
And if you’re looking for a quick win this weekend, you can say “thank you” to somebody.
Unspoken thanks can be assumed as un-thankfulness. And while we know what assumptions do, saying “thank you” can cultivate a culture of honor with your parents, kids, teachers, authorities, leaders, and your neighbor who always throws his leaves onto your side of the fence.
What do a few of the 91 amazing individuals who have celebrated a faith milestone so far this year look like?
3 year olds, 3rd graders, and 9th graders receive an age-appropriate Bible.
June is baptized in October
Enoch, who creatively etched his confirmation bible verse into a piece of wood, is confirmed.
Camryn boldly shares her faith story inspiring hundreds of people.
Sarah and Alena gracefully graduate and step into a new life season.
Every adult in this picture has found a place to belong in a Life Group or on a serving team.
If you haven't noticed, Halloween is right around the corner.
It's that time of year when pumpkins are carved, costumes are carefully selected, and neighborhoods come alive with the excitement of trick-or-treating.
But what if I told you that Halloween could be more than just a pagan-rooted celebration or an excuse to eat candy?
What if it was an incredible opportunity to be a Jesus-like neighbor?
Jay Pathak, in his book The Art of Neighboring, writes, "By becoming good neighbors, we become who we're supposed to be. As a result, our communities become the places that God intended them to be."
To live like Jesus, we must embrace the idea of being good neighbors. After all, if you don't like people, you'll like heaven even less—it will be packed!
Here are 5 Ways to Be a Jesus-Like Neighbor on Halloween
Be Outside: If you're in an area like the Pacific Northwest where the outdoors is celebrated, make it a point to be outside on Halloween. Step out of your comfort zone and enjoy some fresh air, even after dark. Being present where people are is the first step in building connections.
Host an Ongoing Happy Hour: Handing out candy to kids is an excellent way to meet your neighbors. Make it extra special by hosting a simple happy hour in your driveway. Offer pre-packed snacks and beverages to parents, creating a memorable nod of hospitality.
Walk Your Dog: If you have a furry friend, take them for a stroll during the trick-or-treating hours. Few things are more inviting than a cute dog, making it easy to strike up conversations with people in your community.
Do a Food Drive: Alongside your candy, set up a box or wagon for food donations. Encourage those who come to your door to contribute a non-perishable item or a bag of items. Pre-written thank you notes can explain where the food will go and sign your name, creating a sense of connection and care.
Just Show Up: Participate in local gatherings like fall festivals, Trunk or Treat events, or city celebrations. Be open to engaging in conversations with people you meet. Simply showing up can go a long way in building relationships.
Can celebrating Halloween as a good neighbor really help people know Jesus?
The answer is a resounding yes. Many followers of Jesus tend to stay within their "Christian bubble," but by engaging with our neighbors during Halloween, we can begin real conversations that lead to meaningful connections.
Jesus didn't view people as projects; he saw them as friends. Your neighbors are not projects, they are future friends. When we follow in Jesus’ footsteps, we approach our neighbors with genuine friendship - by being present, learning names, and forming connections. This attitude can transform our communities, turning them into the places God intended them to be.
This Halloween, let's make an effort to be the kind of neighbor who lives like Jesus in our neighborhoods and communities.
Leave the Garage Door Open Sermon Series: Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3
Many of us have heard about the escalating violence in Gaza and Israel. We’ve seen heartbreaking images of destruction and first-hand accounts of human suffering. A friend in Tel Aviv helped me understand how complicated life is for Palestinians and Israelis alike.
This past week, I’ve received emails, phone calls, text messages, and drop-by visits asking whether we support and stand with Israel as a church.
As my friend says: “it’s complicated”.
And when life gets complicated, I seek clarity in basic truths and principles. So, in light of the complicated realities unfolding in the Middle East, there are three truths and principles I’ve returned to this week.
1. Jesus loves Palestineans, Israelis, you, and me.
In crises, it’s easy to loose sight of the lives, names, and humanity. Hearing about and seeing violence leads us to a fight or flight emotional reaction and subsequent response. That’s normal.
So, deep breath. Let’s remember that in this horrific situation, both Palistineans and Israelis are real people with real names with real families who are really loved by Jesus - just like you and me. We share the same breath of God that allows us to live.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. 'Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:16-17)
2. Evil kills, steals, and destroys. Jesus alone brings life and salaam, shalom, and peace.
The gospel invites us to be honest with ourselves. That means we can call good, good and evil, evil.
What Hamas has and continues to do is evil. Murder, abuse, stealing, exploitation, destruction, and terror are acts of evil.
And, whether evil acts are done by Hamas, Israelis, Palestinians, or ourselves (1 John 3:15 says that “anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer”; or cheating on a test is stealing) - evil is evil. It is sin. And the only way to discover salaam, shalom, or peace is to find ourselves in Jesus.
It’s in Jesus we pray, plead for forgiveness for ourselves and for others, and find restoration for our tired souls. This is the only true good thing we can pray for in all of this.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (Jesus in John 10:10)
3. Jesus is Israel.
I’ve asked several people this week, “why do you want to support, defend, and pray for Israel?”. And one of the common responses has involved the prophecy that Jesus will return to Israel, specifically Jerusalem. As a result, we must defend, support, and pray for the peace of Jerusalem. There is history, politics, and economics tied up in this spiritual response, too. Essentially, for many, Israel means something special to them - sacred, because Jesus’ return is connected to that specific geography. As a result, the conclusion can be made that if we are on Israel’s side of history, then we’re on God’s side of eternity.
There is too much to unpack in a blog, so I encourage you to reach out and continue the conversation with me (individually or as a small group).
Here is what I know: Jesus becomes Israel… not a nation, but a collective people.
While Israel in the Old Testament is a nation, race, people group, and ethnicity - they (like us) were unfaithful, disobedient, and lived sinful and rebellious lives. “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
Jesus comes to fulfil the prophecies that Israel will be reduced to a stump and out of the stump, a single shoot will appear (Isaiah 6:13, Isaiah 11:1). Jesus is the shoot. Jesus is the promised Messiah. Jesus is the new Israel.
Where Israel was unfaithful, Jesus is faithful. Where Isreal fled through Egypt, Jesus fled through Egypt. Where Isreal was taken into captivity, Jesus was taken into captivity. Where Isreal was disobedient, Jesus was obedient. Where Isreal lived sinful and rebellious lives, Jesus lived a sinless and servant-oriented life.
Jesus became Isreal. And by faith, we are grafted into the vine of Jesus and become Isreal - not a nation, but a new people.
“You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:8-9).
Israel is our hope… but Isreal is not a nation, but a person - Jesus Christ.
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
That’s why we condemn sin and every evil and are able to pray for, support, and defend both the Palestinian and Israeli… only because we are in Jesus, our shared and collective Israel.
I’d love to continue learning about and discussing this with you.
You can schedule a time here.
In the meantime, enjoy these additional resources, too.
Meet Pastor Tim
Tim Bayer has served as Our Savior's Lead Pastor since September 2019. He also serves as an Adjunct Instructor at Concordia University - Irvine, a National Leadership Facilitator and Resource, and a Community Mental Health First Aid Instructor. Tim studied sociology, psychology, and theology prior to earning his M.Div at Concordia Seminary - St. Louis. He has also is a candidate for an Ed.D (ABD) in Transformational Leadership. He is married to Beth and they have three young children. Together, they enjoy exploring the outdoors, experiencing culture, and pizza and movie nights.