Oy vey, am I getting sick of this. Former San Francisco Mayor Brown was on TV the other night talking about how wonderful the city is because of its tolerance for all kinds of people from all walks of life. Translation: the city allows you to do whatever you want to do and rewards you for it. The city has no moral code and neither does its mayor Gavin Newsom who recently had an affair with his campaign manager's wife. Nice.
We all know San Francisco is a mecca for the homosexual community. It also legalized medicinal marijuana which quickly led to hundreds of shops opening up within city limits under the guise of selling pot only to the medically needy but in reality selling to anyone with cash. Of course, the city police are left to try and get this under control now. We also have the homeless being paid $400 a month for being...well...homeless. This is the world's definition of tolerance. Make no judgments about anyone, let them live their lives whatever way they want even if it involves zero self-responsibility and actually reward them for it. That is not a recipe for helping someone...it is simply a way to destroy them.
This is where the idea of Christian intolerance comes in. I must hate gays because I believe their lifestyle is sinful. I apparently hate women who want to get an abortion because I don't want my tax dollars going to Planned Parenthood or I want a pro-life justice on the Supreme Court. I really must hate left-wing bloggers from the John Edwards campaign because I want them fired after the way they disparaged the faith I hold sacred and blasphemed my Lord and Savior in the most profane way imaginable. So I guess I am judging each of them because I believe in right and wrong and I put their ACTIONS in the latter category. Ah...there is the distinction...and we need to remember it. This is the "hate the sin and not the sinner" clause that the anti-Christian establishment will do their best to ignore every single time. They will claim that because you deem someone's actions to be wrong that you are immediately marginalizing the individual as well.
We need to be adept at communicating the simple yet profound message that an unwillingness to endorse one's actions and unconditional love for the person committing the actions are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they go together perfectly. For example, if a friend of mine is on drugs and I do nothing to intervene, which would mean that I would be judging his behavior, do I really love my friend? Would he be better off if I kept my opinions to myself and left him to his own devices? Far from it. Brotherly admonishment is not only a Biblical teaching but a very sound worldly lesson if allowed to exist.
This then leads to the next question from a liberal...Who made you God? Who are you to decide what is right and wrong? At least you have a witnessing opportunity now...one that says I am certainly not God nor would I ever pretend to be because I am just a sinner like everyone else and no better than anyone else. You can make a clear presentation of the Gospel and at least show them that your motives are genuine and humble and not derived from pride and the desire to make life difficult for others. Quite the opposite.
Was Jesus tolerant? Certainly not in the way that the world defines the word. He always confronted sin and evil head on. He could have a quiet and sincere conversation with the woman at the well and leave her with the words, "Go and sin no more." Or he can overturn the tables of the money changers in the Temple and in righteous anger declare to them that they have turned a house of prayer into a den of thieves. He can antagonize and challenge the religious leaders of the day without a moment of hesitation. Where is the tolerance there? Shouldn't Jesus have just let them believe and do whatever they wanted even if it was wrong? It's their life right? I don't think so...especially when others were being led astray from a relationship with God thanks to their teachings. Not much point in coming to Earth if Jesus had taken the path of least resistance.
Yet, in the way Jesus defined tolerance, He was the perfect example. He had dinner with prostitutes and tax collectors. He not only told the Parable of the Good Samaritan but lived it in loving and healing people of different backgrounds. He loved people and because He loved them He met them where they were at - but never left them there. May we strive to do the same. Our persecution may be one of the results as those who scream about our intolerance turn out to be the most intolerant of all. But that's alright...God has promised we will be blessed for being persecuted for His sake. Certainly the Son reigning at the right hand of His Father is proof of that.
If people call you intolerant make sure it is for the right reasons. Be careful that pride doesn't become the source of your interactions with others. If you are being called intolerant because you love each and every person you come in contact with and want to see them in a love relationship with their Savior than rejoice for their supposed insult is truly a divine blessing.
Romans 13:8,10 Galatians 5:13-18