What is honor and respect?

Honor is used in two different senses. We can speak of a person's honor and we can talk about giving honor to another person. A person's honor is his integrity. It is the idea of doing what is right in all situations. "Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men" (Romans 12:17). The writer of Proverbs said, "Better is the poor who walks in his integrity Than one perverse in his ways, though he be rich" (Proverbs 28:6). See the lesson "Men of Honor" for more details.

Giving honor, such as to a parent (Ephesians 6:2), means to prize your relationship with them or to value your relationship with them. It can be shown in a variety of ways, such as being obedient to them when your are young, being respectful, and when you are old seeing to their care. See the lesson "Honor Your Mother and Father" for more details.

Respect also has two definitions, but they seem almost contradictory. Giving someone respect means being polite. For example, standing up when an older person enters a room is a sign of respect (Leviticus 19:32). We talk about equal rights, personal rights, and the equality of man, but the idea of respect is about a perceived inequality. Respect means some things and some people are more important. The other definition of "respect" is having a sense of shame. Young men are told to use "sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you" (Titus 2:8). In other words, you can gain an enemy's respect by being respectable in your behavior. Again, it is the idea of seeing an inequality in the world; in this case, being embarrassed that your own behavior doesn't measure up to the behavior of another. We show respect when we treat other people better than ourselves (Philippians 2:3-4). See the lesson "Giving Respect" for more details.