Jesus’ Example of Tolerance

Jesus’ Example of Tolerance

Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”
—John 8:11

True tolerance is grounded in a genuine concern for other people. The only reason you try to remove a speck from somebody’s eye is for the well-being of that individual. You know, we have been told by the pseudotolerance movement that if we make a judgment that somebody is engaging in wrong beliefs, behaviors, or choices then that is a sign of hate. Not at all. Remaining silent about people’s behaviors, beliefs, or choices that cause them harm—that is the most unloving thing you can possibly do.

The apostle Paul criticized the Corinthian believers because they allowed a man who was involved in immorality to remain in the church. He said, “You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst” (1 Corinthians 5:2). You ought to remove him from the church, Paul said, not because you hate him, but “so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (v. 5). To allow this Christian to engage in sin without saying anything about it is to show unlove toward him. You need to correct him even though it’s temporarily painful in order to save his spirit. Don’t fall for the mistaken belief that making judgments about another person’s behavior is hateful.

True tolerance also allows for preferences. Proponents of pseudotolerance have convinced us that tolerance necessitates neutrality. The new tolerance says you can’t make any judgments about anything and truly be tolerant. But to be truly accepting of others, we need to express our preference for certain choices, beliefs, and behaviors.

However, when we demonstrate our preferences, we need to follow the example of the Lord Jesus Christ. We see in the Bible that Jesus was tough in His convictions, but He was very soft when it came to people. He was compassionate. He was what I like to call a “velvet-covered brick”—hard in His convictions but soft with people who were genuinely searching for God. And if we are going to be effective in being salt and light in our culture, we have to find that same mix between conviction and compassion. Compassion for other people doesn’t negate conviction. True tolerance demands a strong point of view. But true tolerance is based on a genuine concern for other people that says, “I respect your right to believe what you want to believe and to behave as you want to behave, but I also love you too much to remain silent about it.” That is true tolerance.

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Most Misunderstood Word in America” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.