“Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.” (I Peter 2:17, ESV)

How is it possible to respect a hateful, rude person? It’s not easy to respond with grace and kindness when someone seems intent on treating us badly. That’s why the story of David goes against what seems to be society’s norm today. So many choose to plot revenge rather than offer forgiveness.

We could all take a lesson from David, the anointed future king of Israel. David and King Saul had a difficult relationship.  Saul knew God had anointed David to become the next king and desired to kill him. His actions may have been caused by jealousy of David’s success and popularity. Saul also wanted his son, Jonathan, to follow him on the throne, but God had chosen David.

Although Saul seemed intent on destroying him, David continued to show respect for the man God had anointed as the first king of Israel. Even when David could have easily killed him, and was encouraged by his men to do so, he would not touch Saul.

He said to his men, “The LORD forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the LORD’s anointed, to put out my hand against him, seeing he is the LORD’s anointed.” (I Samuel 24:6, ESV)

David showed respect for God’s anointing even when Saul himself showed little regard for God or His anointing.

Today’s society has become disrespectful and rude. That disrespect is often targeted at family members, coworkers, neighbors, authority figures, and just about anyone else. We witness it as we shop, in restaurants, on the job, driving our cars, and in the classroom. We seem to no longer value compassion and kindness toward our fellow man. It should not be that way. First Peter 2:17 tells us to honor (respect, esteem) everyone.

How will the next generation learn respect if it is never modeled before them?  As a child of God, we must take the initiative by showing kindness and respect wherever we go. How do we do this? By replacing sarcasm and ridicule with empathy and understanding. By building up rather than tearing down. By showing love instead of hatred and anger. By listening and caring. By allowing God’s love to shine through us.

The Bible gives us clear guidance and shows the need for respect in all relationships. We must respect:

  • Our parents. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” (Ephesians 6:2-3, ESV)
  • The elderly. “You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.” (Leviticus 19:32, ESV)
  • Our spiritual leaders and coworkers in Christ. “We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.” (I Thessalonians 5:12-13, ESV)
  • Our fellowman. “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3, ESV)
  • Those in positions of authority. “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work.” (Titus 3:1, ESV)
  • All social classes. “My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory . . . But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.” (James 2:1, 9, ESV)

We can change our small corner of the world by demonstrating respect for those we encounter each day — our spouse, our boss, our pastor, our children, the store clerk, the homeless, and the strangers among us. Everyone.

Lord, help me to show love and respect to everyone I meet. I want to show compassion and concern, not ridicule and rudeness. I know I can only truly call myself a Christian if my actions are Christ-like. When I show disrespect for others, I am showing disrespect for You, their Creator. Make me more like You!



Mary enjoys traveling, meeting new people, and spending time with old friends. Although directionally challenged, she would rather take the back roads with their discoveries than the boredom of the interstate.

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