And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
– Romans 12:2
Tolerance.. yeesh, this is one of those very commonly used words in our society and really, one that always makes me cringe.
Continuously we are being bombarded with the message that we should accept the choices, the opinions and the lifestyles of others. If we dare question those things or disagree with them, then we are looked upon as a bigot, a prejudice, a homophobe, or you know, a “hater”. It’s a bit mind-boggling, isn’t it? How does disagreeing with one’s choices automatically make us hateful people?
Because of the labels that get thrown at us if we speak up, many Christians have started to become very quiet. Many are beginning to believe the lie that they need to shut up in order to keep the “peace”. Instead of having boldness and standing up against the lies of the enemy, they are surrendering to them, accepting them and maybe even joining in with them.
He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the Lord.
– Proverbs 17:15
Tolerance tells us that in order to be a loving Christian we must accept the dark by quieting the light. It tells us that being accepting of all sin, all ways of life, all choices is what God calls us to, but friends, it’s just not true. You see, there is no gray area in Christ, there is only black and white, of God or of Satan. When we accept or embrace the ways that are against Christ then what we’re really doing is rejecting Him. We cannot choose both the light and the dark, and we also cannot promote both. We need to choose one side, and we need to accept only one side.
In a world filled with so many loud voices telling us to go our own way, our own path, we need to be the voices that tell others to go God’s way.
Let’s use the prophet, Jeremiah, as our example. He was a very timid, obedient, God-honoring man. He lived during a time when the people of Israel chose to turn away from God. Because of the repercussions that he knew they would face due to their sin, his heart was full of sadness. The Lord chose Jeremiah to fulfill the big responsibility of bringing correction to his people. When The Lord gave him the words to speak, he did not respond with “But I can’t, God, because you see, I really don’t want to offend anyone, or make them think that I disagree with their choices”. No, he longed for his people to turn away from their sinful ways, to repent before The Mighty God, and to follow after Him. He didn’t keep his mouth closed in order to spare their feelings, but instead, he chose to speak the truth of The Lord in boldness. He had a heart for his people, and couldn’t fathom the thought of them continuing on their destructive way. We need to have that same heart for our people.
We must ask ourselves this: How is the acceptance of sin, love? How can we say that we love others but just keep on allowing them to do the things that will bring them further away from God? Love is being bold, love is standing up and proclaiming the truth of The Lord. Love is risking the mocking and the ridicule in order to guide others towards Jesus.
We need to remind ourselves that sin is what separates us from God. The Lord offers the choice of salvation to every person. We can either choose to turn away from our sins, repent and follow God, or we have the choice to embrace sin and reject God. But you see, the reality is that many unbelievers are unaware of this very real truth. Many are being led down the path that leads away from the light and into the darkness. So, how can we, as Christians, say that we have love for them, but then allow them, or even worse, encourage them to walk down that wrong path? If we are truly fulfilling God’s love, then we should want nothing more than to help the lost to see the light.
As followers of Christ, we know that there is no greater joy, no greater peace, no greater love than to live our lives with Jesus as the center. We, personally, have experienced how glorious, how miraculous and how life-changing it is when our eyes are finally opened to God’s truth.
But brothers and sisters, we cannot choose to withhold His precious truth just so that we don’t run the risk of offending others, the cost is just too great. The importance of eternal salvation is so far beyond the silly little emotions of this life. Think about it this way, when you were an unbeliever, sure, you may have been offended if someone would have tried to show you the error of your ways, but wouldn’t it have been worth it? Looking back, I’m sure that you’d agree that those feelings are nothing in comparison to what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus.
We need to realize that eternity is so much bigger than the things of this life. Even now, wouldn’t you rather be corrected for your ways, if those ways were blocking you from drawing closer to God, than have someone “spare” your feelings (which is really just pride, anyways)?
Let’s remember that Jesus is coming back one day, and by the signs of the time, it seems it could be very soon. We need to do all that we can to share His truth with those around us. The enemy is always working overtime to draw the lost, and even the believing, as far from God as he can. It is our job as children of The Most High God to also work overtime to draw them towards Jesus.
So, what exactly does all of this mean? Does it mean that we should try to force our beliefs on others, should we condemn those who sin, or be hateful to the ones that don’t agree? Not at all!
So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
– John 8:7
The reality is that we are all sinners saved by grace, there is not one person on this earth that can claim any different. Do any of us have the right to judge, to condemn, or to cast a stone? No way, only God can judge because only He is perfect. As His children, we are not meant to go around with a superior attitude, looking down on others. When Jesus came to this world, is that what He did? Nope, and He actually had the right to. He was perfect, flawless, without sin, but still, He chose love – real love. He didn’t make others feel horrible about themselves for their unrighteousness, He didn’t shun them or tell them that they were no good. Yes, He certainly let them know that their behavior was not of God and that they needed to turn from their ways, but instead of rejecting them, He showed them grace. And, on the flipside, He also didn’t keep quiet in order to prevent hurt feelings. We need to be like Jesus!
Judge not, that ye be not judged.
– Matthew 7:1
Sin is wrong, there is no ifs, ands, or buts about it, but we can’t respond to sin with more sin. We cannot think that trying to overcome darkness with more darkness is ever going to work. In order to push out the dark, we need to choose light.. We need to choose love.. We need to choose God, every single time!
Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.
– Proverbs 16:24
Speaking harsh words, having a judgemental attitude and believing that we are any better than the rest is really not going to get us anywhere. We certainly will not be walking in the will of The Lord and we will certainly not be receiving His blessings. The only tasks that those behaviors will accomplish is bringing about discouragement and leading that person further away from God.
We need to respond to all sin with humility because you see, humility is the game changer. Pride destroys but humility restores. It is when we first approach The Lord with humility and then approach others with humility, that is when hearts are changed, eyes are opened and miracles really do happen. We need to show others the ways of God by our actions and our attitude. When others see us truly walking in love, grace, kindness and humility, that is what they will notice. We want our Lord to be glorified by what we do and say because when we do, others will see and will want to know what we’re all about.
So, really what it all comes to is this.. Tolerance does not equal love. The world can try to convince us that we need to accept and embrace their ways, but as Christians, we know that this is not the truth. The only truth is The Word of God and anything that goes against it, or contradicts it is false and is not from Him. If we believe that by keeping quiet about what The Lord teaches us and by encouraging others to live in whichever way that they see fit, that we are doing the will of God and walking in His love then we are truly mistaken.
Real love means being bold, it means letting go of our fears, our pride and our will in order to give someone else the precious opportunity to choose Jesus. Love means caring so much about another that you’d put the weight of eternity above all else. We have been given the most beautiful gift but we cannot keep it to ourselves. It is our job to share that gift with others and to help them to see that living a life that does not align with the ways of Jesus will never give them what their souls are longing for.
Again, I want to make it clear that it is not us that has the authority to judge the actions of others, it is only The Lord that does, but we do have the duty to encourage others to turn away from sin and seek after righteousness. We all fall short of God’s glory, and we’re all in need of a whole lot of grace, but instead of looking down on one another, and instead of just accepting their sin (and our own), let’s choose to be like Jesus.
Let’s all choose to forget about that silly word “Tolerance”, it’s just not doing any good for anyone. Instead, let’s show real love to one another by encouraging each other to turn away from sin, and follow after Christ.
How do you feel about the word “Tolerance”?
Let me know in the comments.
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
– Titus 2:11-12