Does the word honor (spelled "honour" in the King James Version) as used in I Peter 2:17 instruct followers of Christ Jesus to honor all men, implying that we are to separate the wrong that we maybe aware that a person does from the person and then honor the person but not the wrong they have been committing?


"Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king" (I Peter 2:17).

The word "honor" used twice in this verse translates the Greek word timao, which means to set a price on, value, esteem, honor, regard, or respect. In other words, Peter is urging us to treat all people with respect. It is simply another application of "love your neighbor as yourself."

If I saw a person walking unaware into a dangerous situation, which course of action would be treating him as a valued person: ignoring him and letting him walk into danger or warning him and trying to keep him from danger? I would hope that we see the priceless value of every soul and seek that which is best for them. "Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men ..." (II Corinthians 5:9-11).

It is not that we separate the bad choices of a person from the person because that could imply that we accept people as they are, even when they are endangering themselves with sin. We ought to love people so much that we can't stand the thought that they won't make it to heaven; and thus, we won't leave them in sin.

Of course, despite all we might say or do, some people prefer sin over righteousness. "And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed" (John 3:19-20). When dealing with people of this nature, we must seek to minimize their impact on others, attempting to prevent their evil choices from spreading to others. It is in dealing with such people that David said, "Do I not hate them, O LORD, who hate You? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You? I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies. Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:21-24). David's hatred arises from the wicked rejecting God (not himself). David understands the damage such people can do to the world and thus sets himself against them. It is because David values the lives of people that he took a stand against those who would kill people physically or spiritually.

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