As a young pastor, I once heard an older pastor say, “If something is public, deal with it publicly. If it is private, deal with it privately.” That seasoned and wise leader was helping younger pastors learn how to deal with disruptions that can take place in a church gathering. It someone is disrupting a public church service or domineering a small group meeting they need to be graciously dealt with in public because the event is being played out in public and impacting the lives of those present. On the other hand, if someone’s personal life-challenge is private and limited to only a handful of people, that personal issue should remain in the privacy of the closed group. He was teaching us the boundaries of honor.
Learning to be a person of honor requires learning the scope of the audience affected by an offense and because honor should be the filter for how we treat each other, not expanding that audience beyond it’s intended borders. Honor will not make what is private public and it will not allow what should be handled publicly remain private and hidden under layers of fear or a lack of leadership initiative.
In a culture where social media releases all the facts without any filter, we can lose sight of the boundaries of honor. When these lines are violated our voice becomes untrustworthy because it did not honor the boundary of the intended audience.