DAY TWO | Offer Respect
This week we are looking ahead to Mother’s Day and gleaning from Scripture five ways that we can offer the kindness of grace. On Day One, we looked at the meaning of the word grace, then considered G.R.A.C.E. as an acronym for five virtues that are an expression of biblical grace: gratitude, respect, acceptance, compassion and encouragement. Yesterday we looked in the book of Colossians at “gratitude” and considered how we could cultivate an attitude of gratitude with God that spills over into how we treat others, specifically mothers. Today we’ll consider 1 Peter 2: 13—17 and the topic of respect.
In the modern era, “respect” is defined as “high or special regard: esteem.” It is possible in our day to respect someone without any actions. In the first century, to respect someone required action on the part of the one showing respect. In our text for today, Peter had written to Christians who lived during a time of extreme persecution. Christians were being driven out of Rome, tortured, and killed for their faith. Peter wrote to encourage them to live dependent upon God and his Holy Spirit in order to obey Jesus in all areas, even in the midst of their trials and suffering. In this paragraph, Peter encouraged his audience, and us today, to have a distinctive life, even during painful trials. In a past study, we looked at this passage to see a Christian’s responsibility concerning government. For our study today, we are zeroing in on a timeless truth: the virtue of respect in everyday life.
1 Peter: 2:13-17(NIV)
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.
What does Peter say in verse 17? In the last verse I read, who does Peter say we should show respect to?
What does Peter say we should do concerning mothers who are fellow Christians?
To “show proper respect to everyone” refers to each person with whom we come in contact a focus on individuals rather than “everyone” as a group. We are to give others respect as individuals, because they’re fellow human beings also made in God’s image. This verse does not advocate a blanket statement that means to treat everyone with the equal amount of respect. Each person is to be given respect, but also the proper amount or type of respect due that person in that relationship.
Think of the mothers we will honor on Sunday. What would it look like to show respect to her?
What about other mothers in the body of Christ?
One of the Ten Commandments related to the topic of respect is one many of us know: “Honor your father and mother.” In Matthew 15:1–6 , Jesus confronts the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and experts in the law. They were known to follow the tradition of dedicating their possessions to God while their motives involved keeping their financial resources for themselves. One example of the hypocritical use of this tradition was for the religious leaders to claim their finances were “dedicated to God” to avoid obedience in regard to the fifth commandment to honor their parents who they were to care for financially in their old age. This was and is one way to honor parents. Caring for our parents with our resources in their older years is complicated! There is no one-size-fits-all formula for what honoring our parents looks like. If there were a formula, we would follow the formula and not depend upon the guidance of the Holy Spirit. How can you honor your mother, financially or otherwise, in this season of her life?
Some of the mothers we are planning on honoring Sunday (wives, sisters, daughters, mothers and mentors alike) may be the same age or even younger than us, but they all have one thing in common: they have lived two-plus-decades longer than their children. Regardless of education or IQ, moms will always be decades of life-experience-wiser than their children. That life experience can prove invaluable. Timeless truths out last the generations. When we implement truths born from our mothers and grandmothers, we show them respect as we honor their wisdom.
- What are some things you learned from your own mother or grandmother that she passed along to you from her life experience?
- How can you honor your mother, financially or otherwise, in this season of her life?