It is easy to fall into the trap of tolerance. It is easy to fear what people will think or say if we stand up for what we believe or what the Bible says.
Hubby and I believe that the Bible is God’s inspired Word to us and that there is an absolute standard of right and wrong. We believe that truth is absolute and is found in the Word of God. If we do not believe this – if we believe that truth is relative, then we will fall into the trap of tolerance.
A few times we have been criticized for taking a stand about things we believe or values we hold because “its completely NORMAL to _________ and everyone else does it – so how can we not tolerate it… We have also been told “I grew up doing that and I turned out okay, so I’m not too worried about it.” People often make their choices and measure their decisions according to what others do and according to how they were raised rather than searching, trusting in and obeying the Word of God – the most controversial book in history – the BIBLE! We have never experienced intense persecution like many brave individuals we have read about.
Every person knows deep within their hearts that absolute truth exists even if they do not profess to believe that. The way we live often shows that when its convenient for us, we profess (by our responses) that truth is indeed absolute. When it is not convenient then we want to be free to choose what is okay and what is not – regardless of what the Bible says. How often are we brave enough to warn other people (being driven by God’s love in our own hearts) of their impending destruction – based on what the Word of God says. The message of the Bible is one of hope and of love – in the context of God’s absolute truth. It is not a message that says that we are better than anybody else – our sin puts us all in the same boat and we are all in need of a saviour.
“When the world changed on 11 September 2001, the global community denounced the events of that day as ‘evil personified’. The unanimity and strength of the outcry suggested that an absolute standard of right and wrong, good and evil, exists against which events – like that day of infamy – could be measured. Yet, research carried out earlier that year by the Barna Research Group (an independent marketing research company) found that only 22 percent of adults in the USA held that there are moral absolutes that are unchanging. 64 percent of Americans said that truth is always relative! Also, only 32 percent of ‘Christians’ accepted moral absolutes – 54 percent adopted relativism (the belief that truth is relative to the situation one finds oneself in). Having no absolute standards of right and wrong means that we will always go with what feels or works best for us in any given situation.
When seeing a ship heading for the rocks and certain destruction, we’d rather avoid getting involved in something we might not be able to impact and that does not directly affect our lives. It was, after all, the captain of the ship who went off course and is responsible for his dilemma. We are not on the ship anyway. We should not shout out to the ship, warning of the impending doom, as we need to be tolerant of the navigational peculiarities of the ship’s navigator. We dare not declare that he is wrong, as we might be labelled and persecuted. Everything is relative. After all, perhaps for the ship’s captain, the rocks do not actually exist. Perhaps he will find meaning through the experience of crashing into the rocks. Anyway, the ship is too large for us to physically stop. The wind is blowing it along and if the ship does plough into the rocks, it was bound to happen anyway. As the ship veers into the rocks and as it slowly disintegrates under the onslaught of the waves, we watch it for a moment and then remember ourselves and turn away. ‘Whatever’ we say and carry on with our day.
The doors of our hearts remain shut, because if we had to face reality, we would not be able to hold back the floodgates of fear, anguish and loneliness that we have repressed for so long. It is much easier to put on a tough face, to shrug off the world and its problems and to snuggle deeper into our cocoon.” (Excerpts from “Whatever” by Dennis Neville, On Solid Rock, Autumn 2002)
Will you choose each day whether to be “tolerant” of others beliefs or to warn them (with God’s love in your heart) according to what God’s word – the Bible – says?
“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28 v 18-20
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