How tolerant should we be?
Do you ever wonder how tolerant you should be? Think about this. On one hand, we are told that we are to have love, mercy, and kindness…and that is true. We are told to be like the “good Samaritan” in the book of Luke 10:25-37.
In the book of Matthew 5:39, we are told to turn the other cheek. In Matthew, 7:1we are told not to judge. In looking at these verses it would seem like we are always to be tolerant, but is that all there is to this story? No!
In reading the Bible God called His people to take action and many times that action brought about the destruction of those who were doing wrong.
God’s word fits together
God’s word always fits together and is never wrong. However, many try to make it say whatever it is they want and to fit it into their perspective for their interpretation. I do not want to be like that. I want God’s word to interpret God’s word and it to always be the truth. We know God’s word is the truth so why try to change it to fit something it is not trying to tell us? Oh, how we can make egregious mistakes in our interpretation.
What about the words you and I speak, the thoughts we have, the actions we take…do we want everyone to take them all literally? I don’t. We all have thoughts and our thoughts are not sinful until we act on them in a way that is not godly. We say things that we wish we hadn’t, and we all have done things we wish we could take back. If we see our life as God sees us every day we would see just how chaotic it might be at any given time.
All the Bible is true and authoritative. God placed into the Bible what He wanted to tell us. The Bible has many stories in it for our benefit. Some things in the Bible we are told to do and that they are good for us, while other things in the Bible we are told not to do because they will cause us great pain and consequences. God wants the best for His children, yet He doesn’t always take us out of a situation we got ourselves into…. but teaches us something as well about the choices we make. God wants us to make wise and godly choices.
We can’t tolerate everything out there
Now before you say something like we must tolerate everything…do not say that. The Bible does not teach that God tolerates everything. God cannot tolerate the darkness of the sins of this world like rape, incest, murder, abuse, hatred, racism, or the Holocaust? Would you want God to tolerate these things? I don’t…but I am glad that God loves us and gives us a way to make things right with Him by Him being Lord of our life, through His forgiveness when we confess and repent of the things we have done wrong. We have all sinned and fallen short in our life many times over. What if God said to us that if we sinned we could never be forgiven? I know that I am greatly thankful God has forgiven me my sins. Right now there are a lot of unsaved and unrepented people out there…but God still wants people no matter what they did to come to Him… confess their sins…and change the direction of their souls. We might even say, how could God forgive someone for that sin they did? What if it were murder? What if it were even worse? How could God forgive them? Because He is God and we are not. God looks into the heart of man and sees what is real and what is not. How could God forgive me? You? Your loved ones? How? Because He is God and we are not! Thank you, Lord!
If you are a Christian then you know that there is a day of judgment coming upon all of us who are living and who have ever lived. Rom. 14:10; 2 Cor. 5:10
Our God is holy 1 Sam. 2:2; Isa. 6:3 and greatly to be feared Deut. 6:24; Ps. 31:19. But judgment is his. The judgment God has is perfect. We are not, in any way, capable of making the kind of judgment God can do. His judgment is just and perfect while ours is flawed and unreliable. We can’t see the heart of people, know their deep feelings, or what they have talked to God about. Even those closest to us…don’t know what God does about us.
Difference Between Tolerance and Belief
God’s truth is the only “real” truth out there. But many do all they can to destroy the truth of it. They change what God said, twist it so it doesn’t look the same, and try to prove it is not true. They want to see everything out of their so-called belief system. Truth can’t be a half-truth, and it can’t be what you envision it to be. Truth is the truth! You could have grown up to believe certain things you were told, but that doesn’t make them the truth.
Many think relativism (the doctrine that knowledge, truth, and morality exist about culture, society, or historical context, and are not absolute) prevents people from judging each other and therefore prevents intolerance. Society and culture do not declare what truth is: God does!
The Roman Empire had a version of relativistic tolerance. Only religions that worshiped the emperor and his gods were tolerated. That did not play out too well for many—including the Christians who were tortured and killed for refusing to say, “Caesar is Lord.” This has happened in many cultures around the world.
We, as Christians, want freedom of religion. People have died to give us this freedom and yet many who claim this for their life and their family’s life would do nothing to fight for this freedom. They always think someone will do it for them. You, my friend, need to stand up!
Of course, the Bible calls us to do far more than merely tolerate our neighbors. We’re called to love them, but we can love them and still declare the truth and stand up for it. Nevertheless, it is important to understand tolerance is derived from principles in God’s Word. What we are tolerant of must align with what God says it must not just go along with lies and deceptions to make someone else feel better. Tell them the truth so they can be free also in Him.
Should tolerance have boundaries? Yes, of course, it should. You can’t go around saying evil is good and accepting the things that go against God’s word. We are not to accept evil into our life and call it good just because the world declares it. We are to always go by God’s word on what truth is, and what is right to do.
Worldwide, storms of bias are raging fiercely, fueled by such things as racial and ethnic prejudice, nationalism, and religious extremism. Just look around at what is going on everywhere. The lies, the corruption, the deceit, and the hatred is everywhere and it is disgusting. God made all of us and yet we go around hurting, and hating people, and for what?
Throughout the days of Jesus upon this earth…Jesus Christ was surrounded by intolerance. Jews and Samaritans hated one another. (John 4:9) Women were treated as inferior to men. And Jewish religious leaders scorned the common people. (John 7:49) Jesus Christ, however, stood out as massively different. “This man welcomed sinners and ate with them,” said his opposers. (Luke 15:2) Jesus was kind, patient, and tolerant because he came, not to judge people, but to heal them spiritually. Love was his primary motivation.—John 3:17; 13:34A template of tolerance, Jesus came, not to judge people, but to heal them spiritually. . Yet, know this, that when He returns it will not be as before for there will be judgment.
Yes, when possible we should always open our hearts to the needs of people, do what we can to help others, and to even overlook many things people do….but we can’t go against God’s word to do them. We can’t hang out with evil and think it won’t affect our life and the.
Society, for the most part worldwide, tries to maintain law and order and has rules. But not all countries are doing right, and some are extremely doing wrong. People live in these countries and try to go along with what is expected. We should always follow the law if that law lines up with God’s word. If it doesn’t then don’t do it. If a country tells you, let’s say, to go out and kill all the Christians and Jews…don’t do it. That is not godly and God is not behind you following those orders no matter who gives that to you. There are tolerance limits.
Okay, what did Jesus say?
“[Love] does not behave indecently.” (1 Corinthians 13:5) Although Jesus was a standard for tolerance, he did not condone indecency, hypocrisy, and other forms of depravity, evil, cruelty, immorality, or wickedness. Instead, he boldly condemned such things. (Matthew 23:13) “Whoever practices vile things hates the light [of truth],” he said. (John 3:20)
The apostle Paul wrote: “Abhor what is wicked; cling to what is good.” (Romans 12:9) He lived by those words. For example, when certain Jewish Christians segregated themselves from non-Jewish believers, Paul—who was himself a Jew—firmly but kindly spoke up. (Galatians 2:11-14) He knew that God, who “is not partial,” would not tolerate racial prejudice among His people.—Acts 10:34. It is not God that ever wants us to be prejudiced. God created us all. We all bleed red, and we must understand that God hates prejudice. If we can’t get along on earth why would God ever want us in heaven with Him? Christians must not be corrupted by people who brush aside God’s standards. “Remove the wicked person from among yourselves.”—1 Corinthians 5:11-13. “O you who love Jehovah, hate what is bad.”—Psalm 97:10. The Bible tells us what is bad and those things we must remove from our life.
We surely can call the wicked to account. About that promise, God said: “It will without fail come true. It will not be late!”—Habakkuk 2:3.
In the meantime, wrongdoers have the opportunity to turn away from their evil ways. “‘Do I take any pleasure at all in the death of a wicked person?’ declares the Lord God. ‘Do I not prefer that he turn away from his ways and keep living?’” (Ezekiel 18:23) Those who seek God by abandoning their bad ways can look to the future with confidence. “The one listening to me will dwell in security and be undisturbed by the dread of calamity,” says Proverbs 1:33.
“Just a little while longer, and the wicked will be no more . . . The meek will possess the earth, and they will find exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.”—Psalm 37:10, 11.
Be encouraged everyone. God is on our side, however, there are things, as Christians, we must change in our life (if they are off) so that we can walk in His ways, do what is right, and be victorious. Stand on God’s word. Be tolerant of what God says you should be, but don’t be in what He says not to be. You have a choice!