It sounds like such a harsh word. It almost sounds hateful.
If you really think about it, though, there are many things in life that we should not tolerate. Things like kidnapping children, burglaries, temper tantrums, and running over old ladies crossing the street.
So what defines what we should and should not tolerate? For which issues should we claim intolerance?
The Bible addresses the “obvious” no-no’s. Culturally and socially, problems like murder, rape, human trafficking, stealing and cheating are easily considered wrong and have well-understood consequences.
But those aren’t the current hot topics. Those aren’t the issues that are presenting themselves to our communities and congregations as controversial. The Bible also addresses the hard subjects.
Abortion. Homosexuality. A literal six-day creation vs “millions of years”.
Why do they matter? Why do we have to choose a clear side and defend it? Why can’t we just tolerate everything that is taboo so we don’t offend the masses?
It’s because one day the masses will be offended. One day, when we all stand before God and He judges our lives, they will be offended by the accuracy of the true Gospel and we will be held accountable for our representation of it…or lack thereof.
It amazes me how many of us are willing to not say abortion is wrong, or why.
Abortion is wrong because it is the intentional ending of a life God created to exist.
We don’t “abort” clumps of cells or masses or tumors. We “abort” people. We “abort” the mission God has called that person to on this earth.
“But,” you say, “I don’t want to interfere with a woman’s right to choose!” How are you interfering? If you say abortion is wrong, and politically you vote according to that, all you are doing is trying to create a less legal, less accessible option. She can still choose abortion, it just won’t be through your political support.
And does life begin at conception, or doesn’t it? Life begins when God creates it. There is obviously a life inside in order for an abortion to be considered. Clumps of cells don’t threaten your relationship with your boyfriend, clumps of cells don’t pose a hazard to your high school grades, clumps of cells don’t potentially jeopardize your high-profile job…but the responsibility and reality of a baby does.
Or take the issue of homosexuality…
Despite the questions of confused genitalia or the sociological conundrum of gender being assigned versus being attained, Genesis clearly states that God created male and female. I don’t know why some people’s plumbing is physically messed up, but I know that they are either a man or a woman. I know that some women have higher levels of testosterone and some men have higher levels of estrogen, but I know that they are still either a man or a woman.
God designed the female to be the companion of the male. Even flowers have male and female parts! Same for your house plumbing…they have to connect, you can’t just rub two of the same pieces together and hope it works.
“But some people are born that way! Some people are born desiring someone of the same gender. Why can’t you just stay out of other people’s personal lives?!”
Well, we are all born with a penchant for sin. If sin is anything contrary to the holiness of God, we have to call it for what it is. In my previous post I outlined some passages in Romans that address homosexuality in a very shameful context. God didn’t mess up when He designed the sexual relationship, we have just allowed Satan to deceive us into thinking God didn’t give us all the options with it.
(And Satan obviously never played with Legos and tried to make two pieces fit together…)
So, why should I tolerate a lifestyle that is contrary to Scripture? Especially when it involves Christians who are flagrantly identifying themselves with the LGBT community. It’s not enough to try to be a Christian and gay, they have to try to affiliate with Christ and an organization that blatantly opposes Him.
But see, it’s a personal issue, right? If it’s a personal issue, why is there LGBT? Why is there such a big deal about “rights” for people who choose a homosexual lifestyle? They’re not a “new” race of people. They are just sadly mislead–and are we the ones misleading them by saying it is OK and that God loves them just because? Yes He loves them, but He wants a relationship rooted in holiness–as He wants for all of us.
Again, homosexuality is a hot topic right now. It’s not a new sin, it’s just a trending sin. I mean, take adultery! That’s been around forever, too, but we’re so used to hearing about Joe cheating on Susie and the Johnsons getting divorced…it’s just old news to us. But it’s not old news to God. It still breaks His heart when marriages fall apart.
And back to the part about it being a personal issue…
Say I happen to like my husband–but I like your husband, too. In fact, I like your husband so much that I went and slept with him last weekend while you were out. So why should anyone judge me? I’m just following my natural desires, and God gave them to me…right?
Wrong. Again, we are all born with sinful desires into a sin-filled world. But God calls us to holiness and righteousness and purity.
First Corinthians 6:9-11 says this:
“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
Maybe that is what you have been, but it is not what you have to continue to be.
Be washed. Be sanctified. Be justified.
Stand for the truth.
“I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth.” – 1 John 2:20-21
Don’t intend to offend, but don’t pretend you don’t know the Truth. I think we are forgetting the gates of hell when we deceive others by being mushy in our faith. Defend those around you with the Truth. They may not accept it, but at least Satan’s darts weren’t thrown with your fingerprints.
Paul wrote, “Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith.” (1 Tim. 6:20-21b)
Be intolerant of things in opposition to God. Satan can’t tolerate you, so don’t tolerate him.