The Porch Light copyright by Revka (2006-2010). All rights reserved.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

When Tolerance Is Intolerable

I have been writing this post in my mind ever since I read a comment at a friend's blog. The commenter basically questioned why Christians call people sinners when they don't agree with the Christian's beliefs and why Christians tell people they are going to hell if they don't believe in the Christian God. The commenter went on to propose a "leave me alone, and I'll leave you alone" type of tolerance.

The saying "Tolerance is the last virtue of a completely corrupt society" immediately came to mind. Sadly, this commenter seems to reflect the views of many people: "Don't tell me what I am doing is wrong. It may be wrong for you, but that doesn't mean it's wrong for me, so just leave me alone."

Let me tell you, I can sympathize with this commenter in one way. I have seen plenty of Christians who are hateful when they see something wrong in someone else's life. I don't think that is right, either. There are ways to tell people they are wrong without alienating them, and we shouldn't stop loving people when they refuse or cannot see where they are wrong. After all, if you are like me (and you are), we all have plenty of our own sins to occupy us. We have no room to hate, dislike, or despise others for their sins.

Another point I would like to make is that in God's eyes every sin is abominable. We I tend to think that I am pretty good because I don't [fill in the blank]; the truth of the matter is that just one sin makes me hideous in God's eyes. Additionally, as my pastor says, "Any Christian can commit any sin that a non-Christian will commit, given the right provocation." Becoming a Christian did not make me any less of a sinner. The only differences between a saved sinner and an unsaved sinner are their final destination and the Christian's desire to avoid sin.

Taking into consideration those two points, the truth of the matter is that there are times when "tolerance" is simply not an option. Here are some issues that are non-negotiable for a Christian.

  • Jesus Christ is the only way to get to Heaven. There are no alternatives. Good works won't save you; no other god [so-called] will save you; church membership won't save you. If a person does not accept Jesus Christ as his personal Savior, he will go to hell when he dies. God has said that even the world around us testifies of Him, leaving us without excuse.
  • All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. This includes Christians. We are nothing special; we are sinners just like everyone else. The only difference is that Christ has saved us from our sins and has given us a hatred for sin.
  • Anything that God has called sin is just that - sin. It doesn't matter how we rationalize it in our own minds; God said it's sin. Lying, gossip, gluttony, envy, idolatry, drunkenness, stealing, coveting, murder, homose*uality, adultery - these are just a few of the things that God calls sin.
I'm sure there are more non-negotiables than those I have listed; however, I am not trying to write a comprehensive list. I am trying to make the point that there are times when it would be a sin for a Christian to be tolerant. That is a very unpopular viewpoint in our politically-correct society, but it is nothing less than the truth.


Amber said...

I agree, Revka. It is so sad that, to many people, Christians have a reputation for being hateful. We need to speak the truth in love.

DramaMama said...

Revka - it's so ironic that you wrote this a week after our pastor gave a sermon on it! His main point was that Christianity offers something better than tolerance - GRACE. It's not good enough to tolerate each other. In schools they tell our kids that we can all live together harmoniously if we just respect each others beliefs and decisions etc. but what about when our kids come across contradicting beliefs and practices? I for one plan to continue teaching my son the absolutes of my faith, but I also hope he learns about GRACE. As you've said, we've all fallen short but better than tolerating that, Christ died to make us clean, whole and absolved of our sins. He never asked us to tolerate others and their sins, but he did ask us to forgive others as He has forgiven us. Before I was saved, a good friend used to tell me about going to hell. I hated it, especially b/c I thought she was a hypocrite. Now I understand she wasn't just trying to tell me what I did was wrong, she was trying to live as Christ did and offer me the same GRACE and forgiveness that had been afforded to her. I could go on, since this has been a hot topic around here too, but I'd better stop! Thank you Revka for presenting the truth of your faith. It's always refreshing to hear from a sister in Christ who speaks w/boldness and walks in the light =) (Sorry for another lo-ong comment!)

Revka said...

Exactly, Amber. It seems so many Christians, fundamentalists in particular, think it is their duty to be judge, jury, and executioner. In reality, our job is to point people to Christ, not to condemn them and make them reject Him.

I hope you understand that I am not saying we shouldn't confront sin; I just wish we would do it in a more Christ-like manner.

Revka said...

Hey, dramamama! Please don't apologize for the length of your comment. It was a good comment, and I appreciate your input. :)

The point you made about grace is exactly what I tried so poorly to express. While there are absolutes that are simply not negotiable, we need to show grace when confronting a violation of those absolutes.

I pray that your son and my children grow up with a solid foundation of knowing right from wrong but also with a gracious spirit that draws others to Christ.

Amber said...

Yes, I think I understood what you meant, and I agree. We should speak the truth, but in love, not condemnation. :)