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Monday, July 2, 2018

Every Person Is Worthy of Respect

In review of 1 Peter 2:17 it says, “Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.” (NIV).

Today’s passage comes from the last part ot 1 Peter 2:13-17. Peter tells us, for the Lord's sake, submit to all human authority, whether the king as head of state, or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right. It's God will that my honorable life should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against me. For I am free, yet I am God's slave, so I shouldn’t use my freedom as an excuse to do evil. Instead, respect everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, and respect the king.

When Peter told us to respect all human authority, he was speaking of the Roman Empire under Nero, a notoriously cruel tyrant. He was not telling us to compromise our consciences; as Peter had told the high priest years earlier, "We must obey God rather than any human authority". But in most aspects of daily life, it was possible and desirable for Christians to love according to the law of their land. Today, some Christian live in freedom while other love under repressive governments. All are commanded to cooperate with the rules as far as conscience will allow. We are to do this "for the Lord's sake" so that his Good News and his people will be respected. If we are to be persecuted, it should be for obeying God, not for braking moral or civil laws.

Christians have freedom in Christ, but the apostles defined freedom more narrowly than the normal use of the word in common language. Christians are to use freedom as a tool for a life of exuberant service. It's the foundation that God gives to us to reach our highest potential. Because God gives me freedom from religious rules and eternal guilt, I must not seek to indulge my own desires; instead, I should reach for the best God has for me. Let my freedom sing of power, joy, and love - accountable to God, devoted to others.

It seems respect has become an endangered value over the past few decades. We live in the “Age of Irreverence,” where sarcasm rules the day and everyone loves a good put down.

Yet the Bible makes it clear that stable families — and stable societies — are built around respect. The Bible commands me to honor my parents, respect civil authority, and respect church leaders. Wives are called to respect husbands in Ephesians. In the book of 1 Peter, husbands are called to respect wives. Just to make it clear that the Bible leaves no one out, the Bible also tells me to “show proper respect to everyone” (1 Peter 2:17 NIV).

Everyone, regardless of beliefs or behaviors, is worthy of respect.

Why? God made everyone. Psalm 8:5 says, “You [God] made them inferior only to yourself; you crowned them with glory and honor” (GNT). God doesn’t make junk. No one is worthless. People make wrong decisions all the time, but they are still valuable to God. Even the most unlovable person in the world is loved by God.

Jesus died for everyone. The Bible says, “God paid a ransom to save you .... he paid for you with the precious lifeblood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:18-19 TLB). I may not place much value in certain people, but God does. In fact, he says every person I meet is worth dying for.

It shows I know God. The Bible tells me that God is love. If I know God, I’ll fill my life with love. The Bible says, “If a person isn’t loving and kind, it shows that he doesn’t know God — for God is love” (1 John 4:8). Love always treats people with respect.

I’ll get back whatever I give out. It’s the law of the harvest. Whatever goes around comes around. If I want to be respected, I must treat other people with respect. The Bible says, “A man’s harvest in life will depend entirely on what he sows” (Galatians 6:7 Phillips).

Bottom Line:
Show proper respect to everyone.

What this means to me:
I am to show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, respect those in authority, and take God seriously.

In summary, For the Lord's sake, I am to submit to all human authority. The way I live my life should silence those who might make foolish accusations against me. I am to respect everyone and take God seriously. Everyone, regardless of beliefs, is worthy of respect.

I pray this morning Father for renewed energy as I’m feeling sluggish this morning. I also pray for wisdom to handle the tasks in front of me and to lead my team well. Also give me wisdom in how I handle those around me. Remind me of the respect that they deserve. I pray these things in Jesus name, amen!