Friday, August 6, 2010

What is tolerance?

For the first time I am having a guest columnist.  A friend of mine wrote me a response to the previous post that included my comments on Quakers and my review of two books written by Moslem women.  I thought that it deserved a greater audience than my e mail so here it is:

Your blog made me think about tolerance. I worry sometimes that Christians (not us) dismiss tolerance as being wrong, when really, it is misunderstood.

Tolerance is not acceptance…tolerance is tolerating something or someone you don’t agree with in order to have a place where you can share the Gospel.

Christ tolerated a Judas for quite some time, knowing he was wrong, and knowing he was sinful to the end. He kept offering the way out. Tolerance is not acceptance, tolerance is both disagreeing, yet standing firm when asked why we disagree with other belief systems and showing LOVE.

Intolerance is not always correct either, especially when it results in unrighteous criticism toward others. True, believers are not to tolerate sin, but it is God’s job, not ours, to not tolerate sinners. In truth, believers tolerate sin in their own lives all the time. God tries every way to show us why we are in need of him, he is intolerant of sin, but tolerant and loving toward individuals.

The only way I know to express intolerance correctly is to refuse to participate with sinful choices, but still love sinful people. I don’t express myself very well, but I get tired of being called intolerant. As a believer, I tolerate quite a lot in today’s mixed-up culture, but I don’t participate with it. The more I can do to separate myself from it, while still showing love to others the way Christ did…the more like him I’ll be.

The world is not only asking believers to embrace sinful ways, but to celebrate them. I think that when the world sees more true Christian grief over oppression and worldliness, then maybe our intolerance of it will be seen as truly righteous.

They say that Muslim women respond to the Gospel because they discover that God has a personal interest in them. They are not just useless women, they are his highly prized creations whom he loves personally and dearly. It sounds like one of the best ways to evangelize in the Muslim realm is to show women true Christian love – it is what they respond to.

Thanks for being the most well-read person I know (except for maybe my son Garret, who also loves to read). I look forward to hearing all about your summer.

My next book review will be about yet another Moslem woman who arrived at a different conclusion than Ali or Nafisi.  Someone did show her the unconditional love of Jesus Christ.  So stay tuned for my review of The Imam's Daughter.


ma P said...

It's so nice to read worthwhile thoughts. I appreciate your blog, and the guest columnist's viewpoint on tolerance and intolerance.
Thank you, T

Sharon Wilfong said...

I will pass that along to her. Thanks for reading.

Unknown said...

Hi, Sharon..

I am a Christian woman who live among Muslim people. I live in Jakarta, Indonesia. Indonesia has 80% Islam and the rest is Christian, Buddha, Hindu and pagan people. I have Muslim friends more than any Christian friends.

Even though Indonesia is a Muslim Country, we've been always a bomb target by Moslem's extremist terrorist. So, I think every people has their right to choose what religion they want to believe. Every religion always teach about love and peace. What matters now are what they've been thought about the way to love and living in peace.

So far we live in harmony and in great tolerance. We've been thought by our parents to helped each other no matter what their belief is. I love my Muslim friends because they love me too.

Sharon Wilfong said...

Dear Amiko,
Thanks so much for your comment. I think about your side of the world often. God has put Muslim people on my heart because of His great love for them.
I pray for the Muslim people everyday that they will come to know His great love for them. A love that is so great that He sent His only Son to be tortured to death and die on a cross just so that every wrong thing they've ever did (and I ever did) can be forgiven when they accept Jesus' punishment in place of the one they (and I) deserve and they and we can one day live with our Father forever.
And now I challeng you: Do you love your Muslim friends enough to tell them this good news? Or do you believe that they can get to heaven by being Muslim? Do you believe that Jesus came to die for them too or only us? Do you believe that Muslims need to be forgiven by accepting Christ in their heart so their sins will not permanently separate them from God?
If we really believe what we say we believe as Christians should we not do everything possible to save those we care about from a horrible eternity?

Unknown said...

It so important to make the connection. I opposite of Love is not Hate, both are emotions. To be indifferent, that is the opposite of both.

Sharon Wilfong said...

Dear MusingMom6,
I agree with you. I have too many times been convicted by our Father of my own indifference to others and my need to pray for them. Thanks for posting.