Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"us"or "them"

Lately the word "tolerance" has come up rather often and I have a comment or two on it. The word seems to have changed in meaning over the past few years, or so it seems. Real tolerance is respecting the rights of others to hold opinions even when we believe those opinions to be wrong. (Respect being a key word here.) Real tolerance means respecting all viewpoints and is a Christian virtue. It is not silencing all debate but allowing for all opinions. The problem seems to come in when we try to do the job better than the Holy Spirit. Its the Holy Spirits job to convict of sin not ours. Our job is to get the Word out there and to live it. Starting with those closest to us and working outward. God promises His word will not return void...we need to stand on that. Its not our job to argue it, its His to convict.

There seems to be a new view of tolerance defining it as moral neutrality-refusing to judge any behavior as right or wrong. Values are not morally neutral, something that should be obvious really. For example they still occasionally burn widows on the husbands funeral pyre in India, something most of us I'm sure do not consider humane to say the least...

An aside ... but one reason I think that Christians get "intolerant" is because the real action of our faith goes virtually unnoticed it seems by those around us. We want action and we want it right now! It seems that the "enemy" is making big gains all over the place. But I think it is time for us to back off our super power zoom lens and go to the wide angle to get the big picture. The reality is the Kingdom of God is written on our hearts not the headlines in the news. Lets face it, if the Creator of the heavens and the earth is "embarrassed" by what goes on in the news, its because He allows it. He really is in control!

When Christians act according to our faith, the result is a goodness the world at large knows little about. All over the place Christians build schools, orphanages, hospitals, rescue children thrown out to die, helped the poor, visited the prisons, the list goes on and on. We seem to forget that the New Testament was written around the most corrupt and morally loose time in Roman History, yet a small group of people powered by the Spirit, toppled an empire! The power structure was totally against them for sure. The evidence from history is clear. Despite all of our human faults Christianity has made the world and the people in it far better than the world would be without it. With God on our side, who can be against us? When we really really believe this, there really is no need to get so excited by this or that. We just keep on keeping on, one act at a time in His presence. Its not about "us"or "them." Its all about Jesus...

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