How Far Does ‘Tolerance’ Go?

I get attacked by folks all the time.  I get attacked by people from all sides of the political spectrum.  I am used to that.  But the attacks that cause me the most anguish are those that come from others who profess to be ‘good’ believers.  These attacks cause me the most grief because, by making their attack, they prove to me that they neither know their Scriptures, nor try to follow them.  Well, as it happens, I was attacked by such a believer again today, and it was in relation to the politics surrounding the mass shootings in El Paso Texas and Dayton, Ohio.  This time, I was bothered so much that I thought I would write about it.

As it happens, this particular believer and I have had several conversations.  This person is on the opposite side from me on the political spectrum, but we managed to be cordial in our conversations.  I realized early on it would be easy to do with this person: so long as I agreed with everything they said and believed, this believer would accept me as being ‘rational.’  However, the moment I disagreed, or did not behave the way they demanded, I was suddenly a hypocrite who had something wrong with them.  And, predictably, I had the usual Scriptural attack thrown at me to prove their case.  Sadly, all that proves is that the person throwing Scripture does not know Scripture and is not trying to follow it.

That said, I beg the reader to notice I have neither named names, nor even mentioned whether I am talking about a woman or a man.  Nor have I questioned this believer’s faith.  I am merely using the opportunity of my encounter with them to launch into a much more important topic: the abuse of ‘tolerance’ in the Church.  Sadly, too many have accepted the World’s definition of tolerance and not that of Scripture.

Scripture teaches believers that they must be tolerant of those who hold different beliefs about God.  Yes, we are to preach the Gospel and to share the Truth of Christ, but, if we are rejected — and Scripture warns us that we will be — we are not to attack, but to shake the dust from our feet and leave those people form God to handle.  Ultimately, we are not responsible for saving anyone.  Our only duty is to preach the Gospel — in its true form — and to offer correction when and where we find error.  We are to do nothing more!  The result is to be left to God and the Holy Spirit.  So, if I was so wrong today, and this believer so right, why was I not left alone?

The answer is hard to accept — at least for me.  This is because this believer was using a Worldly view to deal with me.  The issue where we crossed was on tolerance in politics.  This believer demanded that I practice a Spiritual tolerance in relation to earthly matters.  Well, this is a mistake in itself.  Scripture does not teach us to be tolerant of the World’s ways.  It teaches us to be separate from them.  But this believer demanded that I not only be ‘tolerant’ by treating everything others believe as being true, but also as being equal to my own beliefs — even to the point where they expected me to prostrate my convictions in deference to theirs.  In short, I either accepted everything this believers said I had to believe, or I was an intolerant, hateful, broken hypocrite — and they said so.

There were several problems with this believer’s rebuke of me.  First, they did not offer Scripture to show me my error, but they did use it to support their attack on me.  They also did this publicly.  None of this is Scriptural.  But worse, they were demanding that I accept lies as truth, and to defer to these lies in place of my own convictions.  In short, this believer was demanding that I accept the World or I was not a ‘good’ Christian.  Sadly, I see w-a-y too much of this coming from my brothers and sisters in Christ, and it breaks my heart.

Friends, accepting all beliefs as true and equal is conforming to the world, and conforming to the world is not sound doctrine.  I know this to be true because I know the Scriptures and I do try to live by them.  Yes, I fail — often.  Too often I know I am doing wrong even as I do it or choose to do wrong.  And yes, I know this makes me a hypocrite.  But I fight the sin side of my human nature as best I can and I trust Christ to protect me.  I can do nothing to justify myself before God.  Only Jesus can do that.  So no work I do will be of any use to me.  No, I fight the sin side of my nature because I desire to be obedient.  This is just made harder when I see other professed believers attacking each other over not being a ‘proper’ Christian.  Imagine how you would feel if you were accused of being a hypocrite by someone who was playing the hypocrite by attacking you?  But rather than feel wronged or injured, I feel grief.  How can God’s people be so ignorant of God’s Laws?

This brings me to the political side of this attack.  The person in question sides with the gun-control lobby.  To this believer, President Trump is an evil racist whose language has caused these attacks.  This believer also told me I have to see that the Republicans are just as guilty of causing hate as any Democrat.  And I had to agree that I could not question what the Democrats do or I would be guilty of being part of the problem.  In was all more of the: “Agree with me or you are not a ‘good’ Christian/person” routine.  Honestly, I am used to it.  I expect it from the World.  But I do not expect it from a person who professes to be a believer.

So, here is where I had a real problem with the individual responsible for this post.  When I tried to point out that the side with which they stood had kicked God out of its platform; defends the murder of the unborn; promotes the LGBT agenda; advocates for government control of our entire lives; covets the property of others; promotes dependency and rejects personal responsibility — and more — I was told that I was being a hater and am part of the problem.  My dear reader, all of the things I listed are true, and all of them are signs of a rebellious heart.  None of them are supposed to reside in the heart of a true believer.  Which brings me to this dilemma:

If we are to judge based on the fruit of the person’s heart/actions, how am I to judge such a person as this believer?

 

(P.S. I already know the answer, I just don’t like what it implies... 😦  )

 

ADDITIONAL READING:

Religious Tolerance in America

What is Christian tolerance? Should Christians be tolerant of other religious beliefs?

Do we have the right to make these judgments?

 

2 thoughts on “How Far Does ‘Tolerance’ Go?

  1. You make an important distinction – we may safely tolerate and discuss the beliefs of others: they cannot be forced upon us, the mind is forever free. But tolerating behaviors is another matter – those can be forced upon us, as in the case of Lot’s visitors in Sodom.

    Liked by 1 person

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