Posted on February 8, 2019 by Erin Culleny in Freedom Fighters
Matt. 10:16 “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”
We live in a strange era. The spirit of the age is tolerance. Yet, have you noted, that the ones who preach tolerance the most are the most intolerant of all!
The age says, “No one is perfect. Accept a person as he is. Everyone has a right to his own opinion. After all, in the end, the good outweighs the bad and who’s to say what is good or bad for you? That’s the problem with Christians. They think there is a moral code and a set of standards with which I do not agree.” So they, the tolerant ones, cannot tolerate Christians!!!
Allow me to philosophize for a moment: tolerance is a self-contradictory principle.
The principle of tolerance requires us to grant intolerant people the right to be intolerant. This is clearly self-contradictory, since tolerance cannot condone what it specifically sets out to be against (i.e., intolerance), but it nevertheless requires itself, logically, to do just that. Tolerance as a principle, then, is clearly illogical, and therefore irrational.
We have the intuitive sense (beyond what the rational mind tells us) that there is something wrong with this reasoning, logical and rational though it is. Intolerance, we have learned from experience, does not work very well in practice. Religious wars, witch hunts (ancient and modern), persecution (political, religious, and social)—these are all the end results of intolerance, ends whose fruits have not been sweet. Do you want tolerance for the person who has taken the life of a loved one? Do you want tolerance for the person who has swindled you out thousands of dollars? Do you want tolerance for the person who has sexually molested your child?
So what shall we say of tolerance? Should we be rational and reject it as a guiding principle because it is self-contradictory and therefore illogical? Or should we yield to the irrational side of our natures and embrace tolerance despite the fact that it is self-contradictory and illogical?
The Bible nowhere uses the word “tolerance”; rather, “Thus says the Lord” appear approximately 500 times in the Pentateuch and more than 1,200 times in the prophets.
Yet there must be a certain tolerance for practicality. There are certain things which really bother me. One, for example, is noisy, unruly children…in a restaurant, in church, on a plane, etc. But then I take a closer look and, more often than not, it is the parents who are to blame because they obviously do not discipline their children. But this type of tolerance has nothing to do with truth and morality and more to do with my impatience.
Joshua Loth Liebman said, “Tolerance is the positive and cordial effort to understand another’s beliefs, practices and habits without necessarily sharing or accepting them.” So all of us have to tolerate certain things about people which irritate us…as they must tolerate us in the same way!
“Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you can’t make yourself as you wish to be.” -Thomas a Kempus
But what do we do as Christians when the thing to be tolerated is spiritually unacceptable? Go with the flow? Be politically correct? Change or water down the direct commands of scripture?
No! “Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” Stand on the Word without wavering-in a spirit of love and friendship. On the one hand, you will never impress an objector with anger and offensive remarks, on the other you will never obey God by yielding to the tolerance of the day.
Written by Rev. Neil Fitchthorn Rev. Neil Fichthorn is a seasoned conference and camping servant having served at Gull Lake Bible Conference, Sandy Cove Ministries as President, and an interim Executive Director at Pinebrook Bible Conference. He also served in church music for decades as a choir director and arranger. He has been Bill Welte’s mentor and friend for over 45 years.
Daily Quote: “Tolerance is only as good as the wisdom behind it.” – Pamela Christian
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? – Numbers 23:19