The Heart of the Matter: Tolerance
Having looked into the tearful eyes of parents whose children have abandoned the Faith, I have learned that there are a million miles between our children “going through the motions” in reference to their spiritual lives versus our children possessing hearts that dictate their actions. In this column, I hope to share with you what I hope to instill in the hearts of my own children and those whom I love.
At a recent seminar, a gentleman asked me what was so wrong with my children being educated in the public school system about the Muslim religion. His question mirrored the sentiments of many living today. Simply put, many people want us to be tolerant of everything. In fact, our children are being indoctrinated with the notion that the only real “sin” is the sin of intolerance. The mainstream media has done a phenomenal job of convincing our culture that we should accept all beliefs and all lifestyles, and to do otherwise is shameful. Anyone who dares not be totally accepting is considered narrow-minded or judgmental. Today, many people have embraced the notion that one belief system is as good as another and that one religion is as good as another. You have your God and I have mine. This idea of “total acceptance” and compromise has led many New Testament Christians to wonder if there really is one way, or will all “good people” go to Heaven?
Here’s what I intend on teaching my children about tolerance.
I pray that you grow up with a healthy dose of intolerance in your heart. Intolerance is not a sin. Consider that the very first commandment of the Ten Commandments was “Thou shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). Our God is a jealous God (Deuteronomy 4:24), and He will not tolerate you accepting or embracing other gods. As we look through the Bible, we see multiple examples of individuals who were intolerant of unrighteousness. We know Elijah was intolerant of Jezebel (1 Kings 19). Paul was intolerant of witchcraft books (Acts 19:11-19). Peter was intolerant of the unrepentant Jews (Acts 2:37-39). Jesus, the Son of God, was intolerant of moneychangers making the temple into a den of thieves (Mark 11:15-18). Jehovah God was intolerant of the vile homosexual behavior in Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19—Don’t forget, He even overthrew the inhabitants of the all the Cities of the Plain: Zoar [Bela], Admah and Zeboim v. 22).
Many of the same people who are crying for mankind to tolerate everything have overlooked many examples of intolerance that have utterly reshaped the country in which we live. For instance, what would this country be like if George Washington had tolerated British troops? Where would we be today if Thomas Jefferson had tolerated King George III? What if Fredrick Douglas had tolerated slavery, or Martin Luther King Jr. had tolerated segregation? What would America be like if Winston Churchill had tolerated Adolf Hitler or if Susan B. Anthony tolerated only men voting? Part of what made these individuals great was that they were strong enough to stand up for their convictions. They recognized something as “wrong,” and they didn’t tolerate it.
This doesn’t mean we are to be unkind or harsh—as there may be some occasions in which you find yourself having to tolerate a particular situation (e.g., drunk people downing more alcohol at a ballgame who paid money for a seat just like you.) We are always to live our lives as Christians, but we can still recognize things that are good and right versus those that are not. Tolerance of all beliefs means you don’t perceive anything as a standard for “right” or “wrong.” This embracing of everything ultimately means we are giving our approval to whatever behavior, belief, or lifestyle people choose.
Never forget, Jesus Christ said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). That’s not a question of tolerance…it’s a statement of Truth! Those who profess a belief in God or Christianity need to grasp inflexibility of that statement. There is only one Way—period! You will meet many “good people” in your lifetime who may earnestly desire to go to Heaven instead of Hell, but unless they “tolerate” the words of the Son of God and obey Him, they will be lost. For those who believe this is judgmental, we should ask them why they question the Creator’s plan—are they intolerant to Him and His scheme of redemption for eternal salvation?