Americans have always prided themselves of the many freedoms which our country has stood for over the centuries. The ability to express one’s views and beliefs has been regarded as one of the most sacred human rights. It has been upheld by the constitution and activists from every religion, background and lifestyle. In recent years, the message of tolerance has become the resounding theme in both political and religious circles. While free speech and tolerance may appear to be similar factions on the outside, the definition of tolerance is not what it appears.
The problem with tolerance is that it desires to accept everyone’s beliefs and worldviews. It is ok to say you believe in God and go to church. That is simply being tolerant of one’s religious views. However, if someone says that Jesus Christ is the only way to obtain salvation and get to heaven, one is met with anger and hateful responses. To openly state that you believe abortion is murder and that you uphold the sanctity of life is also met with extreme anger. The defender of the unborn is promptly labeled as being “anti-women’s rights”. Another example of this issue which has been of heated discussion, is that of traditional marriage. Stating that this institution was given by God for a man and woman only, is no longer politically correct. Anyone who says that homosexuality is a sin, is automatically slapped with a hate crime.
Considering the historical founding of our nation, tolerance is not pro-American. Instead, tolerance reflects a socialist worldview because it seeks to force everyone to agree that it’s ok to agree with everything and anything. Tolerance and the acceptance of it is now more encouraged than that of actual truth. Differences of opinion or refusing to agree with the other party is considered hateful. Tolerance despises truth because it is forced to see the reality of one’s worldview, rather than viewing it through a rosy lens.
Truth strips away the grey, leaving us with only two choices: Right vs. Wrong. Good vs. Evil. Light vs. Darkness. The world wants to believe that everyone is on their own path to goodness. A “whatever works for you” mentality. When an unbeliever is faced with absolute truth, they are either overwhelmingly filled with remorse, repentance and then turn to Christ, or they are filled with overwhelming anger and hatred towards the messenger. Sadly few are they who are willing to accept the narrow path of truth.
The Christian then, has the responsibility of being tolerant towards the intolerant. While this might seem like an oxymoron, I beg you to hear me out. As believers we should be tolerant towards the person voicing opposing opinions. However, we should be intolerant to any beliefs which are unbiblical and unconstitutional. Jesus never said that we shouldn’t stand up for ourselves or for the truth. In fact, He encourages us to do so. For over three years, He stood up to the tyrannical laws that the pharisees had incorporated which had resulted in extreme legalism. He promoted social justice and encouraged equality. Jesus not only tolerated those who opposed Him, He LOVED them. He loved them so much that He became a sheep to the slaughter (Isaiah 53:7), so that God’s will could be carried out. It was this wondrous act of love which paved the way of salvation.
While we have a sacred duty as believers and American citizens to speak and uphold the truth, there will come a time when the only response and act that we will have left is that of love. When persuasion or sound argument proves futile, love and sincerely forgiving our opposers is the only option. It is not right that we should become frustrated or give up on those who are hopelessly lost and deny the truth. Jesus never gave up on the worst of sinners. Thus following His example, we should turn the other cheek, offer our resources and walk that extra mile. Returning anger with kindness is how souls are won. We must remember that our battle is not against flesh and blood but against evil spiritual forces (Ephesisans 6:12).
In conclusion, we must address the promotion of tolerance with the message of truth. This truth is defined by the standards which have been laid out in Scripture regarding who Jesus Christ is and how to live a godly life. The Christian must respond to intolerance not with hatred but with love. Love is stronger than any form of human tolerance because it transcends the physical sphere and is rooted in the spiritual realm. It is love alone which has the victory over everything and anything-even death itself.
Tolerance is limited to certain ideals and finite human understanding. It was not out of tolerance that we have been rescued from eternal damnation, but because Christ loved us. It was His love which bought our freedom and shattered the gates of hell (John 3:16). If God was willing to love us long before we knew and loved Him, how much more so should we be willing to love those who despise us. May love be the only weapon which we use to share the beauty of absolute truth to the intolerant tolerant.