I’ve had the word “tolerance” stuck in my head on and off all week. I felt the Spirit pulling me to write about this most of the week but was having trouble getting this post finished.
Earlier this week I was out running some errands when I noticed a halal meat market in a shopping center. Several doors down I also noticed a Hindu temple. It got me thinking about tolerance and what the world says we should accept and “tolerate.”
Part of Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines tolerance as such:
a : sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own
b : the act of allowing something : toleration
I had been reading in 2 Kings and this is some of what I read:
For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, which had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods,
And walked in the statutes of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they had made.
2 Kings 17:7-8 KJV
And the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right against the LORD their God, and they built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city. And they set them up images and groves in every high hill, and under every green tree: And there they burnt incense in all the high places, as did the heathen whom the LORD carried away before them; and wrought wicked things to provoke the LORD to anger:
For they served idols, whereof the LORD had said unto them, Ye shall not do this thing.
2 Kings 17:9-12 KJV
Yet the LORD testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers, saying, Turn ye from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets.
2 Kings 17:13 KJV
Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in the LORD their God.
2 Kings 17:14 KJV
And they rejected his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their fathers, and his testimonies which he testified against them; and they followed vanity, and became vain, and went after the heathen that were round about them, concerning whom the LORD had charged them, that they should not do like them.
And they left all the commandments of the LORD their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal.
2 Kings 17:15-16 KJV
And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.
Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only.
Also Judah kept not the commandments of the LORD their God, but walked in the statutes of Israel which they made.
2 Kings 17:19 KJV
And the LORD rejected all the seed of Israel, and afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of spoilers, until he had cast them out of his sight.
For he rent Israel from the house of David; and they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king: and Jeroboam drave Israel from following the LORD, and made them sin a great sin.
For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they departed not from them;
Until the LORD removed Israel out of his sight, as he had said by all his servants the prophets. So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day.
2 Kings 17:20-23 KJV
The reason the Lord told the Israelites to dispossess the heathen from the promise land was for their own protection. He KNEW they would start to accept heathen traditions and practices for their own and would forsake His covenant. He KNEW how they would turn from Him, His love for them, and from serving Him if they did not rid the land of those who worshiped false gods. Unfortunately, they did not drive them all out of the land and they paid the price for it, becoming tolerance to other practices. Being accustomed to the wrong practices and heathen traditions. Falling prey to superstitions and fearing gods that actually weren’t gods but demons.
Look at where we are today. We are told by the world we MUST tolerate everyone’s religion. That we MUST accept everyone despite what they believe and what god(s) they fear. And if we do not we are condemned by the world as being hateful and bigots.
What does it do if we accept this?
Much like the Ishraelites tolerance can and will will turn our hearts and minds away from the Lord. We do not have to accept heathen practices and tolerate them. Everyone runs around yelling “Tolerance! Tolerance!” when they themselves refuse to tolerate those who follow Christ. Anything having to do with God they kick out, become offended, and hate, so why should we have to “tolerate” their practices?
Christ didn’t teach us to tolerate and accept everyone’s practices and beliefs. He tells us to love others in a Godly way, not to tolerate them. You can share Christ’s love for someone without tolerating what they believe.
Christ tells us to pray for those who despise us (Matthew 5:44), but we don’t have to accept their own beliefs and allow our minds to think that what they believe is “okay.”
The phrase “agree to disagree” is quite common. You might have also heard others say something along the lines of, “you believe what you believe and I believe what I believe, let’s leave it at that” That’s what the world and society tells us to do and that’s how they have conditioned others to think.
The world and society want us to tolerate everyone. They want us to accept everyone despite what they believe and hold dear to their hearts. They want us to become this mesh of a religion that says “it’s okay” to be whatever you want and to believe whatever you want despite the Truth. They want to cause so much confusion in what we are to accept that it will water down the true teachings of Christ and what it means to be a follower of Christ.
But God tells us otherwise:
2 Corinthians 6:14-18 KJV
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.