Rev. Dr. Delesslyn A. Kennebrew, J.D., M.Div. - Visionary Strategist  Faithful Innovator  Inspirational Essayist
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Salvation and Stilettos Blog

Honor EVERYONE. Really?

Did you know that by virtue of reading the title of today's blog post that you memorized part of a Bible verse?  Congratulations! HONOR EVERYONE is part A of 1 Peter 2:17.  

To HONOR means: to regard with respect. So, essentially, this verse reads - Regard everyone with respect.  Respect. Everyone.  And just for fun, we might as well define everyone.  EVERYONE means: every person.  We are to regard every person with respect.

WHY?  I might as well jump to the WHY given the current social and political climate.  Things are CRAZY and the people who are at the forefront of this thunderstorm of discrimination and ignorance seem to be taking full advantage of their seats of power with no regard for the good of all people.  And so, as I have told you all before, when I find myself struggling to justify my compliance with the HONOR EVERYONE type of commands in the text, I have to trust  that the WHY is significantly greater than what I am seeing in this dark and present age.  I will admit though, at times, God's WHY is so frustrating, 

In this particular chapter, the WHY is answered a few verses earlier.  WHY must we HONOR EVERYONE?  For the sake of the Lord... and somehow... by doing good you will silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. [1 Peter 2:13a, 15b]  

Well, Friends, there it is.  As much as we want and deserve to be honored, we also are called to HONOR EVERYONE.  We are to regard with respect every person. And every person includes every person who agrees and disagrees with us.  I know this does not always seem to make sense and it creates a certain emotional dissonance for many of us...honoring those who have been mean, racist, sexist, manipulative, abusive, hateful, frustrating, impossible is NOT easy especially if you or someone you love has been on the receiving end of the venom.  We want to feel justified in our own attempts to give "them" a taste of their own medicine.  And while whatever feelings we have are valid in our human-ness, we have to submit our pain, our anger, and every thing we feel that is a result of their horrific actions toward us, to the ONE who can heal and help us to forgive and move on.

I do not know how a rape victim honors her rapist.
I do not know how the family of a victim of police brutality honors the police.
I do not know how a child honors an abusive parent.
I do not know exactly how any of this honor is supposed to happen and I am not sure what it is supposed to look like in these types of situations.  I say that because it has to be tremendously hard and almost unbearable to even think of the pain-inflicting man or woman's name, face, smell, or any other marks of identification, much less, honor them.  But for some reason, we are also not given a pass.

God has to know that honoring people who perpetrate the most dishonorable acts has to be hard.  How do we do that?  I am not completely sure and I do not want to be dismissive of or belittle anyone's experience. Perhaps if we focus on honoring God then, in time, the honoring of the other will come.  Perhaps. It will not be a rush job and it will not be easy but that is the only way I can see how one can be obedient to the text from a place of deep emotional trauma.  We honor God.  We submit our pain to God.  We start with God and not with them.  We give that work to the Lord, trusting that whatever healing and forgiveness that needs to come so we can move forward, it will come in due time, in due season.  So that by honoring God, we honor them.  Maybe that is how this honoring happens in these difficult and at times, deadly, situations.  I am not sure, but until the Lord comes, for the sake of the Lord...  we direct our honor towards the Lord, first and let the Lord do the work we need inside to help us get there... 

Lord, HELP us to HONOR EVERYONE because it is not easy...

God LOVES YOU and I do too!
Blessings, Glory, and Sunshine!
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