I’ve been doing a lectio divina reading of 1 Peter, and here’s what stood out to me in Chapter 2:
“Honor everyone.” 1 Peter 2:17a
Did you get that? Honor everyone. Not just the people you like and with whom you agree; not just your family; not just your fellow church members (and it’s hard enough to do that sometimes) but everyone. That would include criminals, politicians whose values you abhor, people who are rude or mean or critical, that incompetent clerk — once again, everyone. No exclusions.
What does it mean to honor someone? Well, my Bible dictionary defines it this way:
“to esteem or regard highly; to respect”
In other words, I’m being told to show respect and appreciation to people who (at least in my opinion) don’t deserve it. I need to be polite, to refrain from speaking badly about others or even thinking bad things about them. I need to be helpful and understanding, even when I’m not getting what I want. I feel like telling Jesus, “this is a hard teaching.” If that’s the standard I should apply to my behavior, I’m sure I fall short every day– and yet, it clearly is. There’s no wiggle room.
This statement is part of a section on how we should all live as servants of God. And there is a good reason for us to behave this way:
“For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.” 1 Peter 2:15
When we treat others, even undeserving others, with respect, we’re showing the world that our faith makes us different. We’re actually honoring God. God loves “the world” (John 3:16) and He does not show partiality (Romans 2:11). As His children, and His representatives, we are also to love and honor all that He created.
It’s a good, short reminder that I need to give myself each morning. Honor everyone.