When it comes to issues of tolerance, I think the Church needs to stop looking at what the sinners and unbelievers are doing, and start looking at the early Christian church.
When it comes to tolerance, the early church sets a great example: They tolerated immense persecution, deserted by their families, murdered by their government, and thrown into gladiator pits. They weren’t facing issues like gay marriage that had no direct impact on their own life; they were facing lions that wanted to tear them to pieces!
And yet… they didn’t rise up and wage war or try to defend themselves. In fact, they became known by their incredible ability to “turn the other cheek” rather than react with rage and violence. They knew that this life is a mist that quickly dissipates. They knew that true life begins after a life lived for Christ.
They didn’t endure all this simply because “tolerance” was at the forefront of their minds; they endured all this because they had a direct line to the source of a peace that passes all understanding and a love that has no limits.
And that kind of Love is powerful.
Despite being persecuted and slaughtered, their numbers grew. Their numbers didn’t grow because they had the most relevant church programs or biggest productions or because they railed against the actions of unbelievers. Their numbers grew because people saw a unique love and peace, and knew they were missing out on something.
Frankly, tolerance is easy! Tolerance is lazy! Tolerance of the behaviors of others requires nothing more than a passive attitude. Jesus never told us to tolerate; he told us to LOVE, which is a much stronger, more powerful, more active stance than tolerance!
Let’s not be known by what we “tolerate.” And let’s definitely not be known by our intolerance. Let’s be known first and foremost by our love for each other! Everything else is just distractions!