Does God Want Tolerance?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, January 28, 2017 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

We are NOT tolerant. Not even close. When someone shares what they believe or challenges someone who believes something else and the result is shouting, name calling, beating, rioting, etc., this is not tolerance.

We ARE afraid. We have been cultivated to live in fear by the media, by the government, by marketing and advertising for consumer goods, by terrorist groups, etc. Learning to live in fear reached another tipping point in the 90s and accelerated forward since 2001. Fear keeps us in a ‘fight or flight’ mindset, where our emotions and instincts drive our actions and thoughts toward survival. The side effect of this is that when we are concerned only with our own survival (or the survival of our current ideology), then everyone else is expendable. This is NOT tolerance. It is megalomania turned sideways.

Let me give you an example of what tolerance IS. Read Matthew 22:34-40.

When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment is, it was meant to be a trap. It was meant to expose where Jesus may not know the Word of God as well as the religious leaders, and maybe even meant to expose some hidden heresy that no one had heard yet. Instead, Jesus silences them all. And all he does is summarize the 10 commandments of God in two sentences: “Love the Lord your GOD with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. And the second is like it - love your neighbor as yourself.”

Jesus actually uses tolerance to reveal the intolerance the religious leaders of the day had toward God’s plans and God’s people. It is impossible to love God with all that you are and at the same time reject His commandments, principles, and morality. It is also impossible to be intolerant of others, if you love them the way God does and the way you would love yourself.

To love God first and with all that we are is only possible if we lay down every self-concern. And if we lay down every self-concern, then every fear we have becomes small or non-existent compared to God’s power, might, wisdom, and grace. No fear = no survival mechanisms = patience and grace to treat others with love and respect.

To paraphrase something Penn and Teller once said, “I find it insincere for Christians to not evangelize. I mean honestly, I don’t believe in God, but if you really believe that God sent His son to die for your sins, for forgiveness and life forever in Heaven, how much do you have to hate someone not to tell them? I respect Christians who evangelize, if that is what they believe is true, they should be telling everyone.”

So, why don’t we tell everyone? Fear. All of us, believer and non-believers alike, have been tricked into living by fear and keeping our own self-interest first. Some have fallen so hard into this that instead of leaving Christianity, they have tried to re-write the Bible to support their ideologies and validate their sin. Some have helped re-write the interpretations of the Bible, because they think they are doing good and being tolerant, when in reality they are enabling the sin of others and ignoring their own.

If you want to know if you are tolerant, take a look at your Facebook or Twitter feed. Does what you post demonstrate a love for God with no self-interest? Do your comments demonstrate a love for others, even political candidates you disagree with?

True tolerance comes from a position of self-sacrifice and grace, with the passionate commitment to share truth with others for THEIR good, and at the pace they can consider it. True tolerance loves someone deeply regardless of the disagreements; it doesn’t make love a reward for agreeing. True tolerance wants what God wants for another person, and at the proper time.

Ask God to show you your intolerance of others and to teach you His tolerance. Trust God’s power and grace in you and ask Him for the wisdom to know how to love others like He does.

Perfect Love drives out fear. (1 John 4:18)
The perfect Love of God exemplifies tolerance. (Colossians 3:1-17)

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