What Does It Mean to Honor?
By Rachel Davis
I just returned from a trip to Hong Kong with my fiancé. He was born in Hong Kong and lived there until he was seven years old when his family immigrated to Canada. During our weeklong trip, we saw a lot of sites from his childhood. As our trip was coming to a close, there was one place we had not yet been, and it was becoming more and more urgent to him that we go before we leave. “We have to see my grandparents’ resting place,” he said. Both of his grandparents passed away before he was born, but he felt compelled to go to their graves. So his father, who still lives in Hong Kong, arranged to take us. At the site where they are buried, as I watched the two of them go through various cultural rituals, I couldn’t stop watching my fiancé. Why did he need to be here so badly? He had never even met them.
If the roles were reversed, would I need to see my grandparents whom I had never met? When I really thought about this, I knew the answer was no. In a Western mentality, we tend to make more emotionally based decisions – I would go to see them if I was close to them or if I missed them.
The difference in our perspectives lie in the value his birth culture places on honoring the elderly and those who have passed away. In that moment, I was both envious of this quality in him and thankful that he carries it. I think in our Western culture and even more so in our present times it is easy for us to forget the past and be consumed by our present day distractions. How often do we dedicate time to honor something that was, especially if we feel no emotional connection to it?
Something I am eternally grateful for as a pastor’s daughter is the amount of scripture I know. It was taught to me faithfully as a child, and it often comes to mind in the midst of various situations. Standing there watching my fiancé and thinking about what he was doing, I found myself pondering the scripture, “give honor to whom honor is due,” Romans 13:7b. I want to learn from this Scripture and from that moment in Hong Kong and place value on things that were and learn from them. I want to carve out time in my day and in my heart to give honor where honor is due.