If there’s one thing we love doing, it’s promoting tolerance.
I say “we,” but I guess what I mean is “the recurring sentiment pervading Western media and popular culture.” News stations and large corporations everywhere want you to know how accepting they are of a vast smorgasbord of conflicting values and belief systems.
Except the unpopular ones, of course.
See, that’s the problem with the tolerance movement—it has nothing to do with tolerance. Not really. Not if we’re being honest—and this time, yes, “we” means “you and I.”
The current story to champion revolves around Bruce Jenner—the former Olympian who, after extensive surgery and hormone therapy, is now calling himself a woman. According to everyone who’s anyone, the man is a certified hero—and anyone with the audacity to suggest otherwise is a hateful bigot, a thoughtless monster, or a close-minded Neanderthal with slop for brains.
Ah, tolerance. A movement filled with love and acceptance, unless you’re in the way.
Henry Ford once remarked that his customers could purchase his cars in any color they liked, as long as it was black. The tolerance movement of today has a similar message for the world: “You can have any opinion you like, as long as it’s one of ours.”
And that’s what it comes down to. When people today push for tolerance, they aren’t encouraging everyone to believe whatever they’d like while coexisting in peace. Knowingly or not, they’re looking to pressure the world into a adopting a new set of standards, a set that redefines concepts as fundamental as gender, faith, education, sexuality, marriage, and life itself. And so far, they’ve been hugely successful.
But let’s call a spade a spade. This brand of “tolerance” has a much older, far more accurate name, and it’s high time we start using it:
You can’t champion the world’s version of tolerance and still follow God. God defined gender. He defined faith. He set standards for education and sexuality, and He drew clear lines in the sand when it comes to what constitutes a marriage and what constitutes life. Tolerance takes all that and throws it out the window. Tolerance says, “No no; this is all wrong. Use these standards instead.”
You cannot serve God and the whims of the world. It’s one or the other. Not both. Never both.
It’s funny, because Jesus Christ actually instructed His disciples to go above and beyond anything today’s cries for “tolerance” demand. Here’s what He said:
“I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. … Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:44-45, 48).
Christians are called to the high standard of loving even their enemies—something the loudest proponents of tolerance don’t seem to believe in. Christians love their enemies because they are all potential children of God—because they are all people God can and will work with in the future.
But love doesn’t mean approval. Love doesn’t require accepting and encouraging the actions of an individual. People like Bruce Jenner and others who challenge the boundaries established by God are committing egregious sins for which they will one day be required to answer, but it doesn’t change the fact that God loves them and that we’re called to love them as well. It doesn’t change the fact that one day, God will open their minds to His truth and give them the opportunity to repent of their sins and join His family.
So yes, I’m intolerant. I’m intolerant of sin because sin is a destructive force that ruins lives and shatters potential. Christians cannot afford to tolerate sin because God does not tolerate sin.
Here’s the thing, though: intolerance of sin doesn’t equate to hatred of people, and tolerance of sin doesn’t equate to love of people. On the contrary, truly loving yourself and others requires hating the things that cheapen and destroy lives—that is, sin.
This world is filled with pain, and tolerance often means celebrating the things that cause it. It means praising people for actions that God warns will bring sorrow and brokenness. That’s why God forbids certain things in His perfect Word—because these are things that will hurt us and ultimately destroy us. Transgressing the law of God carries with it a hefty price tag that none of us are equipped to pay.
So I guess what I’m asking is that we all strive to be a little more intolerant. That we strive to hate sin the way God hates sin—that we seek to purge it from our lives and that we refuse to celebrate it in the lives of others. The more that happens, the more we begin to eradicate the pain, the sorrow, and the suffering that weighs us down.
So many people are looking to make the world a better place. Intolerance is a great place to start.
Until next time,