Monday, June 20, 2016

Are Christians Intolerant?

We hear much about intolerance in our culture today. The funny thing is that when I was growing up, being intolerant of certain things was a good thing. Intolerant of school bullies, as an example. or intolerant of liars, cheaters, back-stabbers. Of course as a society we should be intolerant of murder, rape, bigotry, abuse, theft and violence of any kind. Yet for some reason being labeled intolerant has now become as bad as being called racist.

I guess it depends on what you're intolerant of. If someone is not tolerant of something another person is tolerant of, then the first person must be intolerant, right? Or is a matter of perspective? I mean, I thought we lived in a relativistic society where everyone is free to do whatever makes them happy. Remember the old songs in the 70s with lyrics such as "If it feels good, do it." or "If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with." 

The problem with complete tolerance of all behavior in a relativistic society is that eventually someone's tolerance is going to step on someone else's intolerance.  You may be a firm believer in letting everyone do whatever feels good but when that person breaks into your house and takes your things, you suddenly change your mind.

Hence, in any civil society we must have rules to inhibit people from running around doing whatever they want. These laws, when broken, have consequences. If there were no laws, we would have chaos and it would become a survival of the fittest world. Not a very pleasant place, I assure you.  So, the question is, do these laws make our government intolerant?

I read an article by a group which ironically call themselves ThinkProgress in which the writer blamed Christians for the Orlando shooting, saying it was our intolerance of gays and gay marriage and our anti-islamic sentiment which promoted the terrorist to kill all those people.   This isn't the first time Christians have been called intolerant and been blamed for horrific acts, and I guarantee it won't be the last.

So, I got to thinking about Christians and intolerance. Are we intolerant? Should we be intolerant? Or is our intolerance pushing away the very ones we want to reach with God's love as some Christians will say.  I think the first thing we need to ask ourselves is "Is God Tolerant?"

Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone Revelation 21:8

I would say based on many Scriptures, not just these, God is highly intolerant of one thing and one thing alone. SIN. Call it sin, wickedness, evil, our Holy God is highly intolerant of it. So much so that He sent His only Son, Jesus, into the world to take the punishment for ALL our sins so that those who become His followers are cleansed from their sins and can have life eternal!  Once we give our life to Jesus, we must realize that because we are now being molded to be more like God, we are also to be intolerant of sin. But here's where we get it wrong.

We should not tolerate sin among those who call themselves Christians, but among those who are lost, we are to tolerate it.  Yup, I said tolerate it.  That doesn't mean you agree with it or approve of it. It just means that you don't mention it, don't accuse, condemn or point the finger at those who commit  sin. Why? Because they don't live by the Word of God, neither do most even know it, nor do they pretend to even care about it.

Listen to what the Apostle said on the subject:
When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people.  1 Corinthians 5:9-11

The only people Jesus condemned for their sin were the religious leaders of the day. Think about that. Everyone else, he merely loved and preached the gospel to. 

So, are Christians intolerant? We should definitely be intolerant of sin among our own ranks. But with the lost of this world, rather than condemn them, we should make the most of every moment to show them the love of God and tell them the good news of the Gospel. (not the watered down version but the full Gospel, which includes the judgement of God for those who reject Jesus.)   That's what Jesus did, and if we call ourselves His followers, certainly we should follow His example.  

In truth, everyone is intolerant of something, and in our ever-growing permissive society, Christians are going to appear more intolerant than most. But let's do our best to keep that intolerance among our own and instead just share the love of God with the people of the world. Who knows, we might actually drag a few of them from the darkness into the light.



  1. You hit the nail right on the head, Marylu. The thing with the so-called tolerant people who proclaim that everyone is entitled to live the way they see fit is that they become increasingly intolerant when you gently point out to them something about their life. In other words, you're ok as long as you agree with them.That's the incosistency of our relativistic/ postmodern culture.If you happen to disagree with the mainstream opinion, you're instantly an "extremist". I wonder where the freedom of speech part got away. Hmm.But yes, I can totally see where you're coming from. It's no surprise that Christians get blamed for the Orlando attacks, I knew this tragic event would be politically exploited in order to force believers even more to condone the gay agenda.*sighs* The postmodernists make no distinction between acceptance and approval of someone's behavior.It's one thing to respect a person as a human being, but quite another to approve of their sinful lifestyle.Therefore, they twist it all to make us look as if we want their harm or something.In their eyes, of course we are "intolerant" since sin is precisely what this world enjoys the most: "This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil." (John 3:19).The only thing that condems this world is its evil deeds, not us.Their only hope is prayer, because unless that person's heart has been touched by the Holy Spirit first, they cannot receive the Gospel.

  2. Another great post...definitely sharing.

  3. One word: Amen!! Thank you, MaryLu!!

    Love, prayers & hugs!!

  4. Wow! Well said. We as Christ followers are certainly aliens in a world that would not even welcome the Creator. My hope is that we can drag many with us into the light.

  5. Surprised and yet not surprised that they'd blame Christians even when he admitted he did it on behalf of Isis. Remember Nero blaming Christians for the fire in Rome? Words have changed their meanings. Tolerance used to mean you put up with differing opinions because we live in a free society. Now to tolerate them we must accept, celebrate and promote something we disagree with or be labelled intolerant or a hater. Spot on.

  6. So well said. I have a lost sibling whom I love and pray for in tears. Pointing fingers at his wrong living or telling him God doesn't like it serves no good purpose. Especially since he knows already. My job is to show him that God loves him...and be Christ like-loving. I don't approve of his sin, but I SO love him....and no matter what, I always will.