Social media is rampant with vile characterizations of our leaders and their followers. Nasty labels are an easy way to score cheap points in the game of politics. It is easier to discount someone who is a racist, fascist, communist, sexist, or bigot than it is to contend with their ideas.
In the field of debate, using a nasty label is called an ad hominem attack. Such tactics signify that the debater has a weak argument. But more importantly, such tactics do not glorify God.
As stated before, we must challenge policies, not people.
As Christians, we must avoid the trap of labeling then discarding our opponents. That is how the world works. That is not how God works.
In 1 Peter 2:13-17, God commands us to honor our leaders.
It is important to note that the emperor referred to in this section of Scripture is most likely Nero, a ruler who made Christians into candlesticks. Tradition holds that under Nero’s rule, Peter was crucified upside down.
When it comes to governing officials, it is hard to find someone more ungodly than Nero.
And yet, these verses are crystal clear—God commands us to honor our leaders.
The fact that our leaders sometimes hurl hateful labels at each other and at us is not an excuse for us to do the same. As Christians, we are called to honor our leaders, not emulate them.
If Peter honored a man who martyred many of his beloved friends, coworkers, and eventually Peter himself, we can honor our leaders too—however ungodly they may be. And we must.
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