When it comes to condoning something or tolerating it, we often use these terms interchangeably, but at the root of their meaning, they are different.
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Let’s see how the Internet dictionary defines them:
Condone: accept and allow (behavior that is considered morally wrong or offensive) to continue.
Tolerate: allow the existence, occurrence, or practice of (something that one does not necessarily like or agree with) without interference.
They seem to be the same, don’t they? In both cases, we do not like what is being done, but the difference is that what we condone, we accept, but what we tolerate we don’t accept, but we do not interfere with it.
For example, I do not condone the traditional “church” teachings that the Torah is just for Jews and Christians only have to obey the Ten Commandments. I tolerate it because I cannot change 2000 years of Christian doctrine, but I do not condone, meaning I do not accept, that it is correct and I demonstrate that by arguing against the idea whenever I get the chance.
Now, let’s take today’s lesson to the next level.
I often see many arguments (which really should be discussions) between Believers about topics that are hot potatoes, such as the pronunciation of God’s Holy Name (called the Tetragrammaton), which calendar is correct, whether the Earth is flat or round, and the whole idea of the Trinity. And, not to be forgotten, the “Once Saved, Always Saved” teaching.
And let’s not forget what I already mentioned, the idea that the Mosaic Law is just for Jews.
Today, I am not going to discuss any of these topics, and if you comment about them I will not post or answer your comments because this message is not about these topics; it is about how we should react (or better yet, act) when we are in one of these discussions. I will tell you right now, absolutely, that you will never change anyone’s mind about any of these topics. Why do I say that? History. I have never seen, in many years of these discussions, anyone who said, “Gee! Now that you mention it, I think you are right!”
Maybe there are some rare instances where this happens, and I put that down to the old saying, “Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn now and then” meaning that there are always exceptions.
As for me, I do not design my life around the exceptions – I concentrate on the 90%, not the 10%, and for that reason, I have pretty much stopped arguing these topics.
I am tolerating them, but I do not condone them; tolerating them means I won’t interfere in these discussions because the more people argue something that can never be answered, the more division within the body of the Messiah it causes. I will not be a part of that, so I leave those discussions alone.
I recommend you do the same because history shows that arguing your side of any topic with others who refuse to listen will not build but will tear down, and too often when people pridefully try to convince someone else that they are wrong, the discussion becomes an argument which quickly devolves into one or both attacking the other on a personal level.
This sort of activity doesn’t serve God, but it does do wonders for the devil. He loves to see Believers fight because, as the Messiah himself said, a house divided against itself cannot stand (Matthew 12:22.)
If you really know something to be true, but someone else disagrees with you, you owe it to them to show them the truth. Once, maybe even twice, you can argue, compassionately, respectfully, and intelligently for your side. However, if you have made two or three good points, and that person is just absolutely set that they are right and you are wrong, then LET IT GO! Wake up! You’re throwing pearls before swine, and you need to follow Yeshua’s advice, which is to stop wasting your time (Matthew 10:14; Luke 9:5).
If you find yourself arguing with someone and you have attempted three times to show them the truth, as you know it, and you find their argument is not making any sense to you, then stop. Tell them you will have to agree to disagree, and if they also stop, then you have both done well. Neither one of you condone the other’s beliefs, but you are willing, for the sake of not “dividing the house”, to tolerate each other.
If either one of you cannot stop trying to convince the other, then it isn’t about the truth anymore, it is simply pridefulness. When someone cannot tolerate someone else disagreeing with them, they are not working for God’s kingdom by continuing to argue; what they have done is to switch masters and they are now working for Satan’s kingdom. When someone is causing division and strife within the body of Believers, they are not serving God or Messiah.
Listen to yourself when you are in a discussion with someone, and once you have failed to convince them three times, be willing to stop. If you continue to argue, you have crossed the line from teaching to pridefulness and you are causing division within the house of God.
Look, I know how hard it is to allow someone to continue to believe that which you know is wrong, but everyone has a right to decide for themselves what they will believe. God gave them that right, and so who are you to abrogate it? You are not condoning (meaning accepting as correct) sin or wrongful teaching when you tolerate someone else’s opinion. And, after they prove that they will not change their mind, you need to let them alone and pray that one day God will open their heart to hear the truth. In the meantime, keep yourself from falling into sin with them by continuing to argue and cause division.
Here’s today’s lesson in a nutshell: don’t beat your head against a wall because the wall will always win.
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Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!