TW Viewpoint | Do You Live by the Honour Princple?

November 20, 2019 | Winston Gosse

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Do we show honour towards each other or has society, in its failure to differentiate between right and wrong, also lost its adherence to a conventional standard of conduct? Do you live by The Honour Principle?

When we hear stories about deceit, corruption, and infidelity filling the news headlines, it should make us wonder, "Where has all the honour gone?" We are witnessing a changing world where more and more people show less respect and honour and are too often indifferent or outright belligerent towards one another.

In a book written by Robert Barriger, the author asks the question,

"Where Has All the Honor Gone?"

He writes about "Experiencing the Power of the Honour Principle and How it Can Add Significance to Your Life."
R. Barringer, "Where has all the Honour Gone," NBCnews.com, last modified May. 2011

This work explores and explains the critical need to restore and integrate this valuable truth of honour in all areas of life; work, family and leadership.

While we are not in agreement with many of his religious beliefs, we do see that on the matter of maintaining honour he has a point. Mr. Barringer states:

"To give and to receive honor is a basic human need," and "There is a cry in the human heart for honor". So yes, people seem to crave it but do they recognize that those they have relationships with also need it, and are they willing to give? Barriger continues, "Unfortunately our media intensive world too often celebrates superficiality with focus on people like Lady Gaga, or fantasy heroes like Spiderman. Honor is more than fame or power it is a spiritual principle and measure of character."…"When we give honor to our spouses, families, churches and nation, we help to build our communities" Barriger concludes "The Honour Principle is not found on a list it is found in the heart and must be lived."
- (ibid.)

The word honour originates from the word esteem, meaning to respect and value. So do we respect and value those around us? Do we honour only those who are honourable? Are there daily situations where this time-proven principle should be practiced? The principle of honour needs to be applied regularly in the home, on the job, in government and even on our roads and highways.

There used to be a time when it meant a great deal to people. Men would meet on the "field of honour" and be willing to give their lives and die that they might retain their honour. The “field of honour” was known as the place where duels were fought, where men would stand back to back, pistol in hand, walk 10-20 paces then turn around and fire!

I am certainly not condoning dueling as a means to defend your honour, but what it illustrates is that a person's honour meant something. They would go to their grave to ensure their honour remained intact.

Women also once took great care to live their lives in such a way that they would never "lose their honour." Chastity was one of the codes of honour, a concept not widely practiced today.

Unfortunately however, chastity has all too seldom been considered honourable on the part of men through the ages.

A well-known United States Military Academy prides itself on being an institution where this principle still has high value. Those enrolled at West Point are still guided by the motto "Duty, Honor, Country". West Point stresses the development of cadets intellectually, physically, militarily, ethically, spiritually, and socially. They even have an honour code:
"A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do".
Those are high ideals—the honour principle is widely promoted at that institution but no doubt there have been failures along the way.

Sadly though, honour is not being held in the highest regard or valued as it once was. The daily news is often filled with examples of men and women, leaders in their respective fields, who have come up far too short. These individuals get caught up in their own weaknesses and as a result have failed those who once looked to them as respected leaders. In the end their behaviour affected their careers and focus—they did not lead their lives above reproach—they lost respect and honour and character. They did not make wise decisions.

An ancient biblical Proverb references the application of wisdom and its result. "Exalt [wisdom] and she will promote you; She will bring you honor, when you embrace her." (Proverbs 4:8)

Comedian Rodney Dangerfield's trademark was his complaint: "I get no respect!" Though he made a joke of it, this situation can hit home with all of us. We have all been the victims of a lack of courtesy, respect and honour at one time or another in our lives. But in order to receive it, we must be willing to give it to those around us—not just to those whose favour we seek.

Honouring and respecting each other is linked with humility, which is also the method of obtaining true honour. As we develop the habit of giving right respect and honour to all of our fellow human beings, we will no doubt find that our relationships will improve.

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