In the last post I made a pretty bold claim: Jesus was both the most tolerant and the most intolerant person you could ever meet. He was scandalously merciful to the sinner but also scathing in His reproaches of sin (especially self-righteousness). And depending upon your particular slant, you will likely gravitate to one of these aspects of Jesus (at the expense of the other).
Unlike the unity found in the person of Jesus, the ideas of tolerance and intolerance are polarizing opposites today. On the one hand those who promote tolerance seem to be easy on sin. On the other hand, those who seem to be concerned about sins are harsh and intolerant of sinners.
Both of these ideologies are rooted in the same thing: human self-righteousness.
The way that Christ related to and dealt with both sinners and sin – is what separates God’s kind of mercy and righteousness from mankind’s tolerance and intolerance. Let us consider the faulty philosophies of today’s tolerance and intolerance.
Mankind’s substitutes for God are based upon wrong beliefs. These beliefs are conscious or unconscious, in plain sight, or hidden even from the one who holds these views.
Today’s tolerance and intolerance do away with the Biblical concepts of “original sin” and “willful sin”. Stated another way, both the concept of sins and sinner have been largely removed from our society. Many actions that in previous generations were considered sin are no longer considered so.
For instance, where the Bible says that drunkenness is a sinful state, today’s tolerance only calls it, “a disease.” What the Bible calls the sin of lying, today’s tolerance calls, “misspeaking”. Where the Bible calls homosexuality a sin, today’s tolerance calls it a sexual orientation or an “alternative lifestyle.” What the Bible calls covetousness and greed, American tolerance often celebrates as, “doing well for one’s self,” or “livin’ large.” What the Bible calls sinful anger, religious people today may call, “standing up for what is right,” or, “standing up for my rights.” There are endless examples of this.
Next time we will consider how Jesus could manifest God’s love and be both tolerant and intolerant.