Genuine tolerance means treating everyone with respect even when we disagree with their lifestyles and beliefs.
However, some people use the word "tolerance" to mean approving all lifestyles and beliefs.
Ironically, tolerance isn't necessary when we agree. And no one can approve all lifestyles and beliefs because many contradict, oppose or exclude each other.
Those who claim to celebrate diversity actually celebrate the diversity of people who agree with them and reject the diversity of those who disagree.
God expects us to show true tolerance, treating people respectfully.
But He doesn't expect us to approve of their sins any more than he expects us to approve of our own.
This misuse of "tolerance" is often an attempt to shame or silence Christians which leads to the misuse of another word - "hate."
No matter how kindly a Christian defends God's truth, they're often called "haters" by those who claim to love diversity. But God has a different name for His defenders. He calls them faithful. See Matthew 5:10; Luke 9:26; 2 Timothy 4:2-3; James 1:12.
1. There is a false notion held by both Christians and non-Christians that it's tolerant and loving to approve all lifestyles or at least keep our mouths shut about sin. The following Scriptures should put that notion to rest.
Ephesians 5:5-13: For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them.
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.
1 Corinthians 15:33-34: Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” 34 Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame.
Don't fall into the trap of believing that we are not meant to judge people and things. Scripture tells us how and when to judge appropriately. To read more on Biblical judgment, please check out:
The "J" word
Biblical Judgment: 5 Errors and 5 Commands
2. Another false notion is that everyone liked Jesus, something easily refuted by Christ's words below.
John 7:7: The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil.
(Jesus was speaking to men who agreed with worldly values.)
3. Associated with the false notion above is the notion that everyone will like Christians if we act Christ-like.
Matthew 10:22: You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
For more encouragement to live for Christ's values, check out:
God Says, Man Says
Good and Wrong
copyright 2016, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com