Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.As Americans we hate authority. We think freedom means having no authority, which is wrong. People get worked up especially with regards to government. But this passage, and others like it, seem pretty clear that you are to honor governmental authority. But here in the US most of us have very few run-ins with the government, as much bad-mouthing might go on. So how about we get practical.
"Honor everyone." That's pretty all inclusive. What about the husband and wife who make porn in their basement? How about the gay couple that wants to adopt? How about the sullen goth teenager or the haughty businessman or the annoying neighbor? What about your sinning parents, siblings, spouses, children? That practical enough for you? Do we even need to move on to: Love the brotherhood, Fear God, Honor the emperor (president)?
I was taught to ask two questions of scripture: Is it true? Will I obey it?
Sometimes I find myself getting so caught up in the confusing parts of scripture that I forget the clear parts. There are more than enough clear parts to spend a lifetime learning to obey. What about this? Honor everyone.