Once again, thank you Ask Amy for ideas and inspiration.
She was answering a letter from a man who was shocked that a recent friend , who is a Christian, was against homosexuality. Amy answered that his friend is intolerant and Christians are taught to be that way (she didn’t say that outright, but she strongly implied it), yet she was tolerant by stating that the writer of the letter could learn to allow other people their opinion.
So the “Christian” with a politically incorrect belief is intolerant (i.e., hateful) and this man can be honorable by accepting that from him. The man who allows the Christian to be intolerant is correct, and the Christian is just pain wrong.
Intolerance is not hatred or bigotry. The difference (for me, at least- you may agree or not) is that bigots and racists hate people for what they are, whereas a true Believer will hate the things the person does but loves the person.
An intolerant person is someone who, according to Mr. Webster, is “not willing to allow or accept something“; there is also a second definition that says an intolerant person is one who is “unwilling to grant equal freedom of expression especially in religious matters.“
Let’s take a look at some of the intolerant people throughout history: God, Moses, the Prophets, Yeshua (Jesus), many of the kings of old (they’re examples of the bad type of intolerance because they would just kill people who had different opinions), people who never prostituted their ideals or accepted less than what they knew to be right (Edison, Ford, Gates, Lincoln, Jefferson, Washington, Franklin, to name a few.)
Intolerance isn’t the problem: it’s what we are intolerant of that is the true indicator of whether we are upholding ideals or being bigoted.
I do not agree with many of the ‘socially acceptable’ things people do. I base this not on my personal feelings as much as on what I believe God tells us we should do, and what He says we should not do. In fact, I am intolerant of myself at times because (if I may paraphrase what that nice Jewish boy from Tarsus said when he wrote the letter to the Messianic Jews in Rome) I often do what I don’t want to do and do not do that which I would rather be doing
I am not a good example of doing what is right, but I am a good example of someone trying to do what is right.
Am I intolerant? You bet I am! I am intolerant: not of people, but of sin, and I am intolerant of those that define sin by what they want it to be and not by what God says it is.
The enemy wants us to be tolerant and to accept what everyone wants to do. When we do that, we have no scruples, no measurable level of right verse wrong. When we allow that everyone has the right to do what they want, we don’t have individual freedom- we have total anarchy. And, whether it is a legal anarchy, political anarchy, or spiritual anarchy, it is the perfect environment for the enemy to just step in and take over. Today when someone is “tolerant” they are not just expected to allow others the right to their opinion, but they are expected, indeed required, to give up their own right to their opinion.
If I believe <fill in the blank> is wrong, then I am intolerant. It doesn’t hold true so much if I fill that blank in with, oh, say….murder, or rape, or arson, or a legally defined criminal act. If I fill it in with something religious or godly, say adultery, or idolatry, or homosexuality, or lying, or even blasphemy, then I am probably going to be “called onto the carpet” for it.
That’s OK with me- I will stand for what God says and if He says don’t stand for sin, then I won’t stand for sin. I won’t allow sin to go unchallenged, and I won’t accept the evil I see just so that I can be considered “tolerant” by others.
Hate the sin but love the sinner. That’s a hard thing to do, but isn’t it the only thing that separates Believers from bigots?
However, don’t expect the world to see that very important difference because it doesn’t want to, so be true to God and to yourself, and don’t worry about the others.
After all, if they tell you you are wrong for believing what you do, doesn’t that makes them just as intolerant as you are?