One of the problems with social media is that many people feel free to say whatever they think about everything. And, because they are posting online, they often express their opinions in harsher language than they would if they were talking to their opponent face to face. As believers, we may feel pulled into these conflicts and return harsh words to those who oppose us, but God’s Word reminds us that we are to “show proper respect to everyone” (v. 17).
Peter reminds his readers in our text today that while we may have some say in the affairs of this world, we must remember that we are really just foreigners, passing through (v. 11). Even though our sinful desires push and pull us in directions that oppose God, Peter says we are to live such radical lives that when the outside world sees us, God will be glorified because of our good deeds (v. 12). One of the most drastic ways, our lives can stand out among nonbelievers is by submitting ourselves to “every human authority” (v. 13). Peter says it is the Lord’s will that “by doing good” we would put to silence the talk of those who are contrary to the gospel (v. 15). However, this begs the question, “How does one do good?” Where does one even start to do good when there seems to be so much conflict and division among people?
Peter says it starts with showing “proper respect” (v. 17). In the original language, this phrase is actually the same as “honor,” like honoring a king. According to Peter, we are to treat everyone as if they have extreme value. The reality is that they do have value in God’s eyes, a tremendous amount of worth. Treating others with respect and dignity will help us navigate the waters of this world.
>> How can you show Christ’s love by demonstrating proper respect to others? Examine your own words and actions on social media. How can you better reflect the One you serve?