13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.1 Peter 2:14-17 NIV
This passage in 1 Peter seems to be especially appropriate for many of us in the U.S. now. While we do not have an emperor, we do have a president. And if the believers in Peter’s day were supposed to honor their emperor, would it not follow that we should honor our president today?
To honor someone is to show them respect, to place value on them. The scripture tells us to honor God, Jesus, each other, our church leaders, marriage, and the emperor. I certainly hope that the honor we give to the others on this list is greater than what we often give to our president. It is hard to see a relationship with God, or my wife, lasting if they are given the ‘honor’ I often see directed to our president.
Just a quick disclaimer: I am not a fan of our current president, disagreeing with him on more than a couple of issues. I was not really a fan of our past couple of presidents either, nor of the primary alternative in the recent election. In fact, I cannot really remember a president that I was fully on-board with.
But even though I disagree with some, or much, or what he is doing, I can still honor him as my president. I don’t always see eye-to-eye with my wife on everything, but I still honor her. I don’t agree with my pastor on at least a couple of things, but I do try and honor him as my pastor. I even don’t agree with God on all that I understand him to be doing, but I still honor him as God. Why cannot I disagree with a president and yet still honor him?
You may hear me disagree with a presidential policy. You may hear me express dismay with the direction, or lack thereof, that our government is taking. You may hear me speak out about a number of issues our country is facing. But you will not see me making Facebook posts that are derogatory toward our president, or anyone else for that matter. Nor will you find me ‘liking’ those same posts from others.
To my fellow believers: I am not asking you to be Obama fans; I certainly am not that. But I do ask you to show him the honor that God expects us to have for our governmental leaders. Unless, of course, you disagree with God on this point.