Eleven Words to Change the World
At the town clerk's office this week, a middle-aged man standing near me burst into a childish display of anger. I was there to renew my auto registration. When the gentleman found out that there were no more passes for the town beach, he began yelling at the clerk. Then he stormed out of the front door, throwing it wide open in a fit of anger.
The clerk remained calm and I said to her, "There is no excuse for that." We went about our business, but it puzzled me that such a small thing as a beach pass triggered this outburst. I wondered if the tensions in our world today fuel conduct like this. We should not be surprised that we are witnessing the decay of good behavior. Paul prophesied "that in the last days perilous times will come" (2 Timothy 3:1) because of man's conduct. It includes those like the man in the clerk's office who are "without self-control" (verse 3).
For these unsettling times, there is a solution. For the world to change, there needs to be a change in the heart of mankind. If everyone were to begin obeying God, all the problems of the world would begin to be solved. It sounds simple, but it is true. One verse in the New Testament sums up what the world needs. It is just eleven words in the King James Bible: "Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king" (1 Peter 2:17). If all men would begin doing everything written in these eleven words, bad behavior would cease; peace would break out in the world.
To "Honor all people," means we regard everyone as worthy of our respect. If all people did this, racial bias and hatred would disappear. God "shows no partiality" but "whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him" (Acts 10:34-5). To "Love the brotherhood" means loving all people, especially as we have opportunity with the brethren of God's Church. If all people were doing that, war and strife would cease. And just think what a world it would be if all people would "Fear God." It would be a total transformation of human behavior. We do not see this yet, but we long for the day that God promises that it will be so. For then, He says, "they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them" (Jeremiah 31:34).
In these last days, we are witnessing utter contempt for authority. The town clerk represents the authority in my little town. The man in the clerk's office displayed contempt for authority by bursting into childish anger for not getting a beach pass. If all would "Honor the king," that behavior would disappear. God says, "Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities" (Romans 13:1), and "You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people" (Exodus 22:28). It is sad that we are seeing much cursing of authority today.
Indeed, the solution to the problems in our world is depicted in this one verse, "Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king" (1 Peter 2:17)! These eleven words encapsulate the kind of behavior that we should always show the world. I am encouraged when I see this verse applied in your lives. Doing this, you show yourselves as "children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation" who "shine as lights in the world" (Philippians 2:15)!