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.