The apostle Peter wrote specifically to believers, not those who did not know or care about Jesus, in his first letter to Christians scattered outside Israel. “Because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” That example was to “Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.”
Is it possible for Christians to say, write, or hold placards emblazoned with “Not my president”? Is it showing respect when Christians in townhall meetings with their elected representatives or other assemblies are rude, yell, and disruptive with their words, tone, or actions?
The emperor was worshipped as a god, yet Peter said to honor him. How much more should those who claim the name of Christ be respected whether you agree with their positions and leadership or not? Similarly, leaders should honor those they lead even when they are not honored.
Peter continues. “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.”
Does respect for Bashar al-Assad by his people mean they should use chemical weapons on non-combatants; on innocent women and children? Absolutely not! The moral law from God written in Scripture teaches these are unjust immoral actions. Orders to the contrary should be ignored-respectfully. Obedience to the Father should take precedence over anything and anyone else.
Pray for those in authority over you Paul tells Timothy (1 Tim. 2:2). Intercede for them in order to live a peaceful, quiet and godly life. That pleases God and is good for all. Prayer seeks to make them better leaders. It is the right alternative to constant negativity. Give thanks for what they do well and ask God to make them better where they are weak and fail.
It is the first week after Easter. Christ’s suffering and sacrifice that we could have life to the full and forever is fresh on our mind and swelling in our hearts. If we now can not follow the example of Christ and the guidance of Peter to “show proper respect to everyone”, when can we; when will we?