How tempting it is to be rude to others? Is it even easier when you are being taunted and at times tortured by a hostile community?
The apostle Peter in this letter of encouragement and challenge calls on suffering saints to….
“Show proper respect for everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.” (I Peter 2:17)
Show proper respect for everyone. Were my parents influenced simply by their culture or by a biblical principle when we were taught to call those older with the words, “Miss,” “Mrs.” or “Mr.” I must confess to some ‘angst’ when I hear preschoolers calling seniors by their first name! The ‘democratization’ of our world has destroyed the sense of respect which is exhorted in this verse.
Love the brotherhood of believers – Now that’s a challenge! First of all, who constitutes a believer? Believers, as noted by Peter in chapter 1 of this same letter, are God’s ‘elect.’ They have been chosen by the Father through the work of the Spirit to be cleansed by the Son and called to obedience. They do not just ‘believe’ in anything. Their hope is built on ‘nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.’
The family of God, I’ve learned in my years on planet Earth, is quite diverse. Not everyone will have the insight I do, in fact I might learn tons from them! We might agree to disagree without being disagreeable, but still affirm together that salvation is by faith alone through grace alone in Christ alone as revealed in the Scriptures alone. Not everyone who professes to be a believer is a believer. In a sermon I heard recently, while in British Columbia, faith was noted as professed, practiced and persevered in–if it truly is genuine. I am called to love those who love Christ–They are family!
Fear God – Now that’s a challenge! Reverence God? What does that look like? How do I speak of God? Do I really mean it when I pray “Our Father, who is in heaven, holy (hallowed) is Your name….” I must carefully use God’s name and am reminded even in the Ten Commandments of the high safeguard God Himself places around His honour. Fear God, someone has said, and you need not fear anyone else!
Honor the King – Now that’s a challenge! Canadians live in a “constitutional monarchy” but for many our Queen may simply be the woman who adorns our currency. Respect political leaders? But what if I don’t agree with their policy? Isn’t politics rife with scandals?
We may have our own self-perceived ‘reasons’ for not obeying, but this text remains in the imperative – “Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.” Perhaps it’s time we took this one seriously!
The picture that accompanies this post is a 1937 Canadian medallion. I doubt if a 2015 version will be issued!