Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.
1 Peter 2:17 ESV
To paraphrase the verse above. Respect everyone. Love the church. Respect God. Respect your ruler.
Peter uses four brief sentences to make four significant points. Peter wants his readers to understand as followers of Christ these are four things we should exhibit in our lives.
We live in a world today where true respect is not taught as it should be. Tolerance is taught in place of respect. They are not one and the same. Respect is a gift that is given to another. Every person deserves respect and it should be given freely by those that claim to be a follower of Christ. Why do they deserve respect? They bear the image of their creator. Tolerance is accepting what someone does or is, regardless of how you feel about it morally. Tolerance really doesn't show love or respect. It just shows tolerance. Tolerance doesn't really help someone to be all that they can be. It stagnates their life and growth. If we truly respect others we will want what is best for them and help them to attain it.
Love of the brotherhood or the church, is not simply that we “love” to be a part of what we have found to be beneficial for us. No, the kind of love that Peter is speaking of is a deep and abiding love for the members of the body of Christ. He is also speaking of loving the teachings of the church. When we show this kind of love for the brotherhood and its teachings, it is evident that we are committed to the churches best interest in unity.
Respect for God and His word is the highest priority for those that call upon the name of the Lord. We serve a mighty God, we are to respect Him by honoring Him in our lives. We must obey His teachings and teach them to others so they might obey Him as well.
Respect for our rulers is a sign to the world around us that we serve the one that put them in charge. "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God." Romans 13:1 ESV Respect for authority is respect for God.
So today, let us love and honor God, His church, All people and those in Authority.
© 2012 Leo J. Woodman