Respect in the Midst of Disagreement

Respect in the Midst of Disagreement

We at RiverStone Church spending some time in Peter’s first letter to the early Church.  The passage I’ve been reading and preparing to teach from this Sunday is quite interesting and deals with topics quite relevant to us.  In 1 Peter 2:11-3:7, Peter gives a lot of instruction about relationships.  Who isn’t interested in making their relationships better?  Not many.

 So that you know, God’s Word, the Bible, is authoritative for my life.  It continues to teach us about God, His nature and character, and how He through Jesus, His Son, has brought us made possible a restored relationship with God and though His Holy Spirit, Who lives in our hearts, empower us to live in a way consistent with Jesus’ teaching and example  If I didn’t believe that, not only would I be in the wrong “business”, I would not be a Christian because there would be no confidence in what the Christian faith has proclaimed.

Having got that out there, one of the relationships Peter talks about is our relationship with the governing authorities.  Now, it’s important to know the context.  Peter is writing while Nero is the head of the Roman Empire.  You may recall that Nero was no friend to Christians.  Indeed, he used them as torches to light Rome’s streets.  Yet, Peter wrote:

“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men; whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to the governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.  For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.”

(1 Peter 2:13-15)

There’s a lot of ground covered in those two sentences.  But I’ll focus on the part about “that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.”.  Christians should be the best of all citizens.  Our lives should be testimony to making positive impacts on others’ lives and the culture.  By doing so, we “silence” those who do not understand who we are or what we stand for.

Our nation is deeply divided.  Healthy discourse has become difficult, to say the least.  One very good contribution Christians can make is carrying on healthy, reasonable, and temperate conversations.  We may not agree with someone, but our witness to the heart difference of our faith becomes most evident at just that point.  I see God through the Bible calling us to listen and treat others with gentleness and respect when we share the Christian perspective.

If you’re interested in having a conversation about this, or anything else, I would love to have the opportunity.  Our phone is 505-327-0363.  Until then, respect one another, even in disagreement.

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