Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king.1 Peter 2:17 (NLT)
If ever there was a verse that our world needs to get back on track with, this is, arguably, one of the top. In a world that preaches tolerance and respect, the irony is that there is very little of it anymore. The tv news shows cover very little news anymore. Instead of news anchors reporting facts, they have a round table of people who promote their opinions on all matters. The more extreme those opinions, the more tv time they get. On social media, I’ve seen so many people saying things like “If you voted for ___________, we can no longer be friends,” and then proceed to call out such people for being stupid. When it comes to differing views on a whole host of other social issues, people are painted as evil on both sides of the argument. In short, the world that teaches tolerance and respect doesn’t show it.
Of course, tolerance and respect go hand in hand. Tolerance has very little to do with viewpoints on issues. Instead, it can be boiled down to this: Do you respect those who may disagree with you? Will you sill treat them with kindness, compassion, and love?
While it’s easy to point fingers at the world, the sad reality is that this often times looks and sounds like the family of God – the church. We are quick to demonize those whose worship format is different than our liking. We are quick to judge those who don’t use a particular translation of the Bible. We easily judge those who don’t eat a vegetarian or vegan diet (or vice versa for my meat eaters out there). We call out fellow believers publicly, shame pastors who are doing their best to serve, and look with scorn at a generation who wants to worship in different ways. In summary, we look an awful lot like the world we point fingers at.
So, here’s Peter, who knew a thing or two about failing to respect people, writing this verse for his fellow Christians. “Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king.” Just to make sure, I looked up the Greek word for “respect.” Here’s what it means: To honor and place a high value on a person.
Church, may we get back to who we are called to be. May we honor everyone. May we place a high value on everyone. May we respect everyone. May we love everyone. And, yes, that especially includes those we disagree with.
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