First Peter 2:17 says: “Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.” Romans 12:10–11 says: “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.” Romans 13:1 says: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” First Timothy 2:1–2 says, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”
But we live in a day when these directions are ignored, even by those who profess to follow Christ. Four things in our current culture contribute to the tendency to dishonor authorities. First, unlike most states or kingdoms in the past, most modern countries at least pay lip service to free and open elections, in which the leaders are chosen by the vote of the people. That puts every voter in the position of judge regarding the candidates, and we are all too ready to dishonor those candidates with whom we disagree. Second, social media and its anonymity enable people to express dishonor for authorities with little fear of retribution. Third, the natural state of each person is to honor himself above all others. Even with Christians, that self-centeredness is one of the sins that must be mortified. Fourth, we seem to have lost the ability to distinguish between the person and the office. We do not know what Paul thought of Nero as a person. But Paul and Peter clearly teach us to honor the office.