Tolerant to Intolerance?


My friend Doris responded to the last posting:

“Do we expect tolerance from others? Why should we be surprised when we give it and we don’t receive it? As Christians, this should not surprise us. The Christian walk demands a thick skin–not letting the intolerance of others either surprise us or throw us. The Way is narrow; it may seem one-sided. Jesus experienced criticism yet held fast to his message of truth. We strive to do the same.

“In a nutshell–intolerance toward Christian thought should not be a surprise. It is our reaction to it that reveals the difference in us as we live as Christians in a non-Christian world.”

I can only agree; however, tolerance can be taken to an extreme. It should not mean that we allow injustice or untruth to trample goodness if it’s within our power to respond in a positive way. Sometimes, even our silence can be construed as assent or indifference to oppression or outright evil.

I try to remember to ask myself: Am I defending me, or am I standing up for the cause of Christ? Jesus didn’t react the first time he saw the moneychangers and vendors selling livestock in the temple courts. Later, he came back with a whip and cleaned house. (The popularity of this theme was such that I found no less than 99 images by famous painters of Christ clearing temple.)

More than once, Jesus referred to the religious leaders as “a brood of vipers … an evil and adulterous generation … hypocrites … blind guides.” He was certainly not tolerant toward religious charlatans and those who blasphemed against the Holy Spirit. Yet he was meek, in the true sense of the word.

He paid for his intolerance to such behavior with his life, even though he was always led by the Holy Spirit. Christ-like meekness–led by the Holy Spirit–rather than “tolerance” should be our aim and guide our attitudes.

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About samuelehall

A follower of Jesus, husband, father of 3 adult children, writer and learner.
This entry was posted in Risking change/changing the risk and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Tolerant to Intolerance?

  1. Beth Vice says:

    Great reminders, Sam. Tolerance has certainly become the buzz word to use against Christianity and promote sinful behavior. I am so glad God tolerates us and gives us so much encouragement to find our way to Him. And that’s the kind of approach I want to take with others – helpful, encouraging, inspiring, but holding up the standard of truth.

    • samuelehall says:

      Thank you, Beth. We don’t always know how to respond when something catches us by surprise but a few seconds or even minutes can help us respond constructively to intolerance directed our way.

  2. Doug Bolton says:

    Great post Sam. Your site is doing very well. It is also good to see you using FB. You are growing day by day. 🙂

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