Tolerance is a popular word today. What exactly does it mean? Is “tolerant” something I should be expected to be when it comes to my faith?
The dictionary defines tolerance as a fair, objective and permissive attitude towards those whose opinions are different than yours. That makes sense in cases where it is a “matter of opinion”. For example, I prefer chicken, but I can certainly be tolerant of others that prefer steak. But what about in situations where it’s not about opinion…but about absolute truth. What about when it comes to the truth I know about eternity?
Fair? When it comes to matters of faith, I’m not ultimately the judge. In this case, fairness is not something I’m responsible for. I don’t get to decide where someone spends eternity, anyway. God commanded that I love my neighbors and even my enemies. (Luke 6:27), even if they’re different. He expects me to share the reason for my hope. (1 Peter 3:15) But he is the one that will decide what’s “fair”.
Objective? Being objective means not being influenced to a particular way “regardless of fact”. In matters of faith and eternity, it seems silly to be objective when I know the truth. I think the responsible thing to do is to lovingly object. It is, after all, a matter of life and death. And The Bible says that I should “defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time”. (Jude 3)
Permissive? Interestingly, the definition of permissive says this person is “habitually accepting of something that others might approve of or forbid”. Yikes! That’s exactly what’s happening today. Nothing is “wrong”. It makes me wonder if any rules will be enforceable as time goes on. If right and wrong is a matter if opinion, then we’re all in big trouble.
When it comes down to it, the ultimate judge is God. He provided a way for us to be saved. One way. If there were other paths to salvation, then there would’ve been no reason for Jesus to suffer and die. But He did. And that’s the only way you or I can be assured of salvation.
So I will love you. I will pray for you. I will share with you the truth I’ve been entrusted with. I will not judge you, because that’s not my job. And I suppose I might appear “intolerant” when I refuse to buy into the “your truth is your truth, and my truth is mine” mentality so prevalent today. But really, truth is truth. And praise God, He’s revealed it to me!
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32
For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching eyes want to hear. They will reject the truth and follow after myths. 2 Timothy 4:3,4
Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. 2 Timothy 2:25