To grasp the meaning of the verb dishonor it helps to know the meaning of the verb honor. Honor is the respect given something because of its innate value. This value is derived from a creature’s place and/or use in God’s order of creation. True honor is directly tied to the existence of a Creator, and His design and purposes for His creation. God alone gives value to His creation.
So… to dishonor something is to not give it the respect, use, and/or treatment due its place and purpose in creation. In the worldview of Romans chapter 1 honor is vital to civilization. This is also one of the root contexts of the Ten Commandments. The first table of the law addresses the honor due our creator, and the second table addresses the honor due His created order in this world.
It is always to the creature’s benefit to honor God in His created order. If we willfully dishonor Him (the first table of the law) He may release His gracious restraints upon us, which will then lead to our dishonoring ourselves and others (the second table of the law). This cycle of dishonor can lead to a total breakdown of the family and civilization. Without honor civilization flounders, and without God’s grace and mercy extended to His fallen creation there can be no honor. Father, we ask for mercy in Christ Jesus, so we may honor you.
There is a notion that grace brings freedom from the burden of honor… but God’s grace and mercy provide the only pathway to honor available to dishonorably fallen creatures. In this fallen world we can’t have honor without mercy. May God never release us from the burden and quest for the honor due Him and His creation.