“Show proper respect to everyone.” (1 Peter 2:17a NIV)
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 us to honor our 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 us to “show proper respect to everyone” (1 Peter 2:17a NIV).
Everyone, regardless of beliefs or behaviors, is worthy of respect.
1. 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.
2. Jesus died for everyone. The Bible says, “God paid a ransom to save you .... He paid for you with the precious life blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:18-19a TLB). You may not place much value in certain people, but God does. In fact, he says every person you meet is worth dying for.
3. It shows you know God. The Bible tells us that God is love. If you know God, you’ll fill your 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.
4. You’ll get back whatever you give out. It’s the law of the harvest. Whatever goes around comes around. If you want to be respected, you must treat other people with respect. The Bible says, “A man’s harvest in life will depend entirely on what he sows” (Galatians 6:7b Phillips).