Have you ever been caught in a lie? Certainly many have memories of those childhood fibs and falsehoods that they were caught in that ultimately led to punishments of varying degrees; from being caught justifying why your hand was in the cookie jar to being somewhere you were not supposed to be after curfew. Chastisement was just and we can now look back upon those corrective life lessons as necessary if not with a bit of amusement.
But as an adult, have you ever been exposed in a falsehood or in deceit? Most would say no, or be unwilling to admit it. Many would justify levels of falsehood. Telling the children there are no more snacks left when the jar is empty isn't wrong. They're the ones who emptied it. It doesn't matter that you stashed a package for yourself in the bedroom so you could have a few also. You're entitled to it, after all. You bought them. There's nothing wrong with this ... until said children walk in on you with wrappers rustling and Oreo crumbs on the bed sheets.
Or less humorously, the one many eventually deal with - Santa. He's real kids! He leaves the presents! He sneaks in and you better behave or you won't get any. "Mom and dad - why are you still up and who do those belong to?" Really? You're going to harp on Santa?
Take it further, the half-truth to the boss. "Yes I have the report ready for Thursday." (Well, I have the rough draft done, but I'll have plenty of time to finish it before then.) The half-intent to the friend. "Sure I can meet you." "Oh, sorry I can't make it, _____ came up." The half-promise to the spouse. "Sure, I'll take care of that." "I couldn't get to it because ______." The full blown lie to the child "No, I don't have time for that because_____." "Well, Daddy had to do this instead."
Like the erosion of a seaside land mass, these and many similar scenarios that many of us are regularly engaged in erode our integrity daily. Tiny bits at a time, our honor slowly dissipates from us, imperceptible through the fog of our legitimate excuses. Until one day we find ourselves shame-facedly trying to defend indefensible actions. Scrambling for footing on shifting sand, we are confronted with the crushing weight of the toppling of our perceptions of the acceptable and the permissible.
Truth's honesty is the most marvelous of sanctuaries to build and uphold the worth and well being of the individual and of relationships. But it is also a punishing weight bearing down upon the heads of those who have walked away from it, whether blatantly or little by little. To lose honesty is to lose integrity and to be without integrity is to be without honor. In this state, one must either bitterly come to terms with the state of their loss, or callously choose to abandon honor and integrity altogether for self at the cost of others. It is not difficult to conjure images of the latter in today's society. In fact, I don't think it would be inaccurate to state that we live in the days were society actually encourages embracing the latter.
Honor, therefore stands out juxtapositioned against the white noise of those without it. This is why we are repeatedly called to it in scripture. To walk with honor is not to seek a spotlight to walk in; it is quite the opposite as shown in Proverbs 18:12 . It is to walk with such integrity that honor follows as a shadow in its brilliance. This honor has weight to it, it is perceptible. It affects the actions of those around it.
Conversely, regaining lost honor is difficult. To have lied and been found out, wounding hearts; to have spoken badly of others to their knowledge; to make promises with no regard of whether they are kept. Honor's trust can only be rebuilt when joined with humility and the searching of the one to whom all honor belongs.
And this one, he knows the pain of having lost all honor. He knows the crushing weight of despair in becoming not only dishonorable, but of becoming so shameful in his very being that the One who shaped the stars and called the oceans forth was forced to turn from him as He could not bear the sin and shame that was on him. This one knows the burning pain of a broken heart heavy within the chest as no one being in existence. For this reason, this Eternal King can say to us
"Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation."
Psalm 91:14-16 ESV
Because of a cross without honor
Upon which hung a King without honor
Who became my Savior
I don't have to live