To honor someone is to always believe in, hope for, and think the best of him. Kong Hee taught on the importance of the spirit of honor through the actions of Jesus Christ.
Oct 10 marks the World Mental Health. City Harvest Church’s senior pastor Kong Hee and his wife Sun opened last weekend’s online service talking about mental wellness. They assured the church that there is no shame in seeking help if they find themselves struggling mentally or emotionally.
That was followed by a testimony by Veronica Tang, a pastor in CHC, who shared her personal struggles with rejection as well as her journey in combating depression. “In God, no pain is ever wasted,” Pastor Veronica said as she encouraged those who were suffering from mental health issues to seek professional help, and not to lose hope.
TO HONOR OTHERS IS TO BE LIKE JESUS
Pastor Kong began his sermon by reviewing the lessons that he has taught since Oct 2019. He explained his overall goal for the City Harvest congregation, which is to not simply know about Jesus but to really know Jesus on a deep level.
As he kicked off a brand new series on the value of honor, Pastor Kong directed the church to Philippians 4, showing them that according to Scripture, to honor others is to always believe in, hope for, and think the best of them. To honor is also to esteem someone more highly than oneself. (Phil 2:3)
“Even if I have been more successful and achieved more in life or in ministry, than others, I mustn’t think I’m superior to them,” the pastor said by way of an example. He admitted that this is not an easy task. “It is going to take humility,” he said. “The challenge here is this Jesus wants us to honor even those we dislike, even if he or she is our enemy.”
Jesus’ life is an example of how an honoring person behaves—that’s why He was such an anointed person. “We find Jesus always carrying an honoring spirit. If you want to grow in the anointing, then you must learn to be like Him,” said Pastor Kong.
Quoting Romans 12:9-12, Pastor Kong taught the church to develop patience and kindness, and to continuously outdo each other in showing honor. He emphasized how each church, each pastoral zone, each cell group and each spiritual family should have a strong spirit of honor. Rather than competing with one another in life or ministry, one should outdo each other in honoring others by giving preference to them.
Reading from John 4, where Jesus met the Samaritan woman by the well, Pastor Kong described how Jesus cast aside His physical weariness and ignored conventional social norms to show the woman respect and kindness. In other words, He honored her.
“This is the Lord we follow,” the pastor said, encouraging the church to carry the same spirit of honor. Especially so during the COVID-19 pandemic when people being at home so much has put pressure and stress on many families that have unresolved issues from the past, he notes.
HONOR YOUR PARENTS
“When you look at Jesus, He was very honoring to his family,” Pastor Kong pointed out. In fact, Jesus specifically commanded the religious leaders to honor their mother and father in Matthew 15:4. The pastor explained that in ancient Israel, dishonoring parents was a capital crime.
“This was because every father is supposed to be a reflection of the nature and role of God, our Heavenly Father. When we dishonor them, we are indirectly dishonoring God,” the pastor explained.
When a person reaches adulthood and is no longer under the authority of their parents, honoring takes on a different form.
“One of the responsibilities of children is to take care of the needs of their parents, especially in their old age,” said Pastor Kong, drawing from Matt 15:5-6. He went on to show how Jesus cared for Mary’s needs even in His final moments on the cross (John 19:26).
“But what if our parents are not worthy of our respect? What if they are still abusive or still throw hurtful words? What if they are sexually abusive?” the pastor asked.
Acknowledging the difficulty some may face, Pastor Kong explained that the Bible commands Christians to keep trying. Ephesians 6:1 reads, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”
“Sometimes, we just have to do it in the Lord, unto the Lord, for the Lord, and not because our parents deserve it,” the pastor urged. Such an act would be impossible to accomplish using one’s own strength, he noted, adding, “We need the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, we need the love of our Heavenly Father, and we need the power of the Holy Spirit to help us.”
Pastor Kong also reminded the people that there is a definite promise of blessing from God that as one honors his parents, he shall prosper and possess his inheritance; and he shall live a long and healthy life (Deut 5:16).
He gave the example of Apostle John who looked after Mary as Jesus had commanded. John went on to live a long and fruitful life, dying at 92, even though the life expectancy in the Roman Empire was only 35 years.
HONOR YOUR SPOUSE
Reading Ephesians 5:25, 33 and 1 Peter 3:7, Pastor Kong noted that the spirit of honor must also be present in a marriage, “because this is how Jesus Christ honors his Bride, who is the Church.”
He emphasized that if a couple was to meditate on 1 Peter 3:7, it would thoroughly transform their marriage. Furthermore, the pastor explained that God holds the honor to such high regard that if one failed to honor their spouse, they would be unable to enjoy close communion with the Lord.
How then should a couple be expected to honor one another? Pastor Kong illustrated this with a practical analogy of the “multivitamins” of love: “The three vitamins—Attention, Appreciation, and —feed our day-to-day relationship. We need to take them daily regularly.”
Firstly, attention is given through small actions such as greeting one another or responding to one’s spouse after a long day of work. It is to show one another that they are important. It is an intentional act of crafting time to update each another about their lives.
Secondly, appreciation means to be grateful for what the other party has done, or being grateful for who the other party is. Whatever that one chooses to appreciate will rise in value in one’s eyes.
Lastly, affection is to express love through touch, through simple gestures such as making eye-contact or holding each other’s hands.
“If you take these three As every day, it is a very powerful way to improve your relationship. This is the spirit of honoring between a husband and wife,” Pastor Kong concluded.
“What if we have difficulty respecting our spouse due to their unfaithfulness or their abusiveness?” the pastor asked. Referencing Ephesians 5:21, he reminded the church that a Christian respects others not because the other party deserves it, but he does it unto the Lord. “The spirit of honor doesn’t hinge on whether the other party deserves our respect,” he said. “It hinges on our love and obedience to Jesus Christ.”
Pastor Kong encouraged those who were hurt to cultivate a spirit of honor by choosing to forgive and bless rather than speaking disrespectfully about the other party. The pastor added that a Christian’s willingness to forgive and honor others glorifies God.
In conclusion, Pastor Kong reminded the church of God’s promises to honor them. He encouraged the church to constantly develop a spirit of honor and to outdo one another in honoring others.