When comedian Jimmy Fallon took NBC’s “Tonight Show” baton from host Jay Leno, he could have rolled out gray-hair jokes, displayed Jay’s most embarrassing moments, took shots at Jay’s worst jokes and roasted Jay in one way or another.
But instead Jimmy unleashed two weapons of love. With humility, Jimmy honored Jay with heart-felt notes of thanks, appreciation for the many years of laughs, and endearing hopes for his future. Jimmy fed Jay a heaping portion of respect. Jimmy even posed for New York Magazine wearing, literally, big shoes — symbolizing the greatness of TV’s top-ranked show, hosted by two of the funniest men Johnny Carson and Jay Leno.
Without realizing it, Jimmy taught viewers a lesson, one that is clearly endorsed and prescribed by God in the Bible, but rarely gets the same air time in our lives. Want to be a God’s man? Then we must possess humility and honor others.
Unfortunately, it’s so much easier to dishonor, boast and criticize. It even gets better ratings. News reports, opinion columns, and reality TV embrace critical, adversarial behavior. Our culture is searching for something or someone to criticize in order to advance an agenda or themselves.
That’s why I am giving big kudos to the new Prince of late night. It requires humility to put aside selfish ambition, pride and arrogance to find something to honor in someone else. He couldn’t have kicked off his start better.
The Power of Honor
Honor is one of the top commandments to “do,” in the same company as the top commandments to “don’t” do. In Matthew 19:18-19, Jesus said “you shall not murder…commit adultery…steal…and not give false testimony,” then followed up with “honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as yourself.”
To honor your father and mother, your co-worker, supervisor and everyone else in your life, you have to put arrogance and pride on the shelf. Honoring someone with words is called edification, and that’s one skill we all could benefit from learning.
Edify means to “build up,” to “strengthen,” and “show respect.” Think about how you feel when your son or daughter says something like, “I think my dad is the greatest, he’s always there for me in good times and bad, with an encouraging thought, shoulder to cry on and helping hand. He’s the best because he loves me at my worst.”
Men crave respect, and honor is the tool. Now, imagine how your father, friends or family members would feel hearing those similar words, edified personally and built up publicly.
The Attitude of Honor
When Jesus walked the earth He served, taught, healed and was the ultimate example of sacrificial love. It takes jumping a mental hurdle to imagine the awesomeness of God being cooped up in human form. But in humility, He did, for our sake.
Humility requires swallowing your pride. For many, that takes a big gulp. Our pride can be one of our biggest weaknesses, but Jesus said humility can also be one of our greatest strengths.
In Matthew 23:12 Jesus said, “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Then Peter writes that humility precedes God’s blessing.
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” — 1 Peter 5:6
How can we cultivate more humility, and demonstrate more honor? Here are a few ways to unleash the weapons of love-fare.
3 Tips to Unleash Honor
Right View of God
The more you think about God, search Him and wonder about His omniscience, omnipotent power and ever-present force holding the universe together, the more perspective you will gain about your own pride. To have an accurate vision of God as the creator, and you as the created, provides a foundation for humility.
This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength
or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have
the understanding to know me that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord.
Jeremiah 9:23-24 NIV
Our reference point for our actions can be ourselves or it can be God. When a man knows he is created by God, for God, and is going to God it is an instant humility creator which sets the foundation for lifting someone else up.
Right View of God’s Love for ME
Men who are validated relationally, loved personally, and accepted generously by another important man in their life are the ones who are secure enough on the inside to give away honor to others on the outside. Why? They have solved the acceptance issue and conquered the need to grab the spotlight or compete for attention.
That is why the Bible talks about two strong outcomes that flow toward men recognizing, responding to, and redefining their self worth around love from God.
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.
The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
I John 4:18
Nothing sabotages our ability to lift others up better than inner fears and insecurities. Only divine acceptance and love can keep those dynamics in check and free us from being emotional vampires who suck the recognition and honor away from others.
Right View of God’s Purpose for Me With People
When a man understands he is created by God and is deeply loved by God he is now free of self protecting and self serving behaviors. The energy that used to go toward self can now be directed toward honoring and encouraging others.
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29 NIV
The direct result of knowing there is a God and that He is crazy about you is that you can now aggressively, intentionally, and generously find ways to honor, respect, and build up others.
Jesus put it this way: “Freely you have received, freely give.” Matthew 10
Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon; Photo courtesy of NBC, The Tonight Show