17 "Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor."
1 Peter 2:17 (NIV)
Recently, a coach asked me to speak to his girls’ basketball team about respect. As I began to prepare the message, I was convicted that I wasn’t showing proper respect to everyone in my life.
Speaking, writing devotionals or designing Bible studies inevitably results in Holy Spirit insight into my own weaknesses. This dynamic of accountability can be both challenging and humbling.
So who was I disrespecting? It was everyone involved in the Presidential elections – candidates, voters, media, myself! We are told in 1 Peter 2:17 to show proper respect to everyone, and if taken at face value, that means “everyone” without regard to how we feel about that person.
It’s much easier to honor, esteem and value those individuals who live honorable and admirable lives. It’s much more difficult to respect those we dislike, those we disagree with and those we disapprove of. However, God calls all believers to respect others based on who He is, not who they are or aren’t.
Wow! Honoring others begins with honoring God in fear and reverence.
Creator: “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created Him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:27 Sovereign King: “All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:16 Redeeming Lover: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
So respecting others means I’m accepting the created value bestowed on all people as God’s image bearers; I’m believing that God has authority over all people, even those who don’t honor His name; and I’m extending grace and love to all people because of the finished work of Jesus Christ, even if I get ridiculed and rejected.
Athlete, you have countless opportunities to show proper respect for all people you come in contact with on a daily basis, from janitors, to referees, to opposing players. The list is endless but the implications are eternal.
Showing respect is not an option but a Christian mandate that ultimately reveals our understanding of God.
The ways in which we walk out this kind of Christ-like honor for all is both vast and varied. But if we undertake honoring all people, we will bring glory to God, and peace will be the fruit of our respectful attitude.
A prayer to consider: Lord, teach us to behold others as masterpieces created by the Master Artist – YOU!