One of our primal lies is that human value is tied to beliefs or behavior; we tend to honor those who believe and act as we think they ought, and to dishonor those who don’t, to shame them and feel contempt for them. But God says we’re to honor everyone (1Pe 2:17), even our enemies. (Mt 5:44)
This doesn’t mean we’re to like everyone, or to consider them desirable company. To honor someone is to treat them with respect and dignity, to acknowledge their value and worth. It has nothing to do with approving their beliefs or behavior.
What gives someone worth is the fact that God has made them in His image. (Ge 9:6) When we disrespect someone we’re disrespecting their Creator (Ja 3:9), their Lord, their Master. (1Co 11:3) They represent Him and are accountable to Him, not to us. (Ro 14:4)
Disagreeing with someone, thinking they’re wrong, is simply to acknowledge that they haven’t yet found the truth; God hasn’t opened their eyes to see what we see. (Ac 26:18) It doesn’t mean we’re better, or more important or valuable or worthy. We’re all beggars when it comes to either truth or goodness; we only have what we’ve been mercifully given by God. (1Co 4:7)
To puff ourselves up in our knowledge (1Co 8:1), or to feel threatened when others disagree with us, to feel dishonored when they say we’re deceived or in error, is to buy in to the enemy’s lie and to walk in darkness ourselves. It is associating human value or worth with belief or behavior when there’s no relationship between the two.
God Himself is the only One Who has the right to look down on another with disdain or contempt, to shame them, to disvalue them. (Da 12:2) When we do this it’s pride (Ps 123:4), usurping His role, pushing Him off the eternal throne and climbing upon it ourselves.
Let’s not make this mistake any longer, living in the lie; every human soul is infinitely valuable because the stamp of divinity resides upon us all. The beautiful and the plain, the learned and the ignorant, the righteous and the wicked, everyone is a brother or a sister bearing the indelible likeness of our Creator: Jehovah God Himself.