Against Tolerance…

Those of you who have children online, children who follow blogs — do you know what they are reading? The internet and social networking make it much more difficult to know our children’s “friends” and the people who are influencing their thinking. People “come into” our homes through the internet that we may never “meet”. And just because a blog is written by someone who claims to be a Christian doesn’t guarantee that its content is edifying.

I would like to share a post that our daughter, Susannah, wrote for young ladies on her own blog. In it, she is addressing the promotion of  “tolerance” — in other words, the lack of real commitment to (and belief in) the Truth — that she has seen in some of the blogs that Christian girls are reading (and writing). I think she makes some very good points, both for our daughters and for all the rest of us. There is only one source of Truth, and we should never be embarrassed to share that truth.

So, here’s Susannah! 🙂


Against Tolerance

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life…” John 14:6

We’ve picked up one of the lies that has warped our world–that there’s a truth for you and a truth for me. Everyone finds their own truth. Jesus Christ for me, and whatever feels right for you. It’s all good, it’s all truth, it’s all the same. The definition of loving our neighbor has come to mean celebrating everything that they believe without question, and it’s considered impolite to disagree with someone else’s beliefs.

Not all tolerance is bad. It’s great for secondary issues like taste in music and favorite superheroes, but not for Jesus Christ.

When did we stop believing Jesus? When did we stop standing up and telling the truth about the one true Hope for the lost world? When did we start apologizing for our God? When did we start admiring lost unbelievers for their rejection of the Savior of our souls?

If we are Christians, then we believe in Christ. If we believe in Christ, we believe that he is the only possible truth. Jesus never says “I am a truth. But there are others, so if you feel led to follow those, go ahead.” We’re in his army, or we’re not–and if we’re not in his army, we’re fighting against him. There is no middle ground.

“Christianity, if false, is of no importance,
and if true, of infinite importance,
the only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”

– C.S. Lewis

Despite our culture’s smug and peaceful-sounding claims, there is absolute truth, and if we think logically, it’s undeniable.

“If your moral ideas can be truer, and those of the Nazi less true,
there must be something—some real morality—for them to be true about.”

– C. S. Lewis

Why is it wrong for someone to murder another person? What if the criminal explained that murdering someone was right for him? The concept of no absolute truth just doesn’t work.

So why? Why are we standing in the face of blasphemous statements like “there are lots of options, and I didn’t choose the one involving Jesus” and responding with “I chose the Jesus option, but you should follow your heart.” This is straight-up denying Christ.

“He who does not hate the false does not love the true;
and he to whom it is all the same whether it be God’s word or man’s,
is himself unrenewed at heart.”

― Charles Spurgeon

We were in Chipotle (♥) the day after I saw the amazingness that is The Avengers, and I clutched my sister as we stood in line. “All these people! They haven’t seen it yet!” I want everyone to see it and experience it and love it and let it blow their minds like it did mine.

This is just the tiniest, barely-comparable beginning of what we should feel like about Jesus. We should look at these people–especially the ones who we have any kind of relationship with!–and think “it’s horrible that they don’t know this glorious thing that is Jesus’ salvation!” Kind of like me posting and raving and clutching people and spazzing about this movie I’m in love with, we should just overflow with the joy that is Jesus. Not only did he rock my world, he saved me from eternal damnation!

How much more important is Jesus than all the other things we spend so much time and energy pursuing/discussing/getting excited about? We might all say “Jesus is number one in my life!” but do we act like it?

And besides, Jesus shouldn’t be “number one”. He should be everything, permeating and ruling and every piece of our lives. How can we shut up about him if he is our everything?

There’s a wrong way to tell people the truth. Just because it’s true doesn’t mean we should beat them over the head with it. But people tend to use “it’s not very loving to judge others” as an argument that we Christians should shut up when we try to talk about Jesus at all.

All of us–the ones who stay quiet and commend others for finding their own truth, and the ones who give the truth in the wrong way–I think we’ve forgotten what love is.

“Yes, a multitude of sins are indeed covered by love,
but that doesn’t mean that they are just ignored or tolerated.
No, love seeks the good of the sinner enough to rescue them
from their sin by confrontation or admonition.
In the Church of Christ, we have a clear unequivocal command
to love others enough to boldly appeal to them to leave their sin.”
Doug Heck

Loving does not mean “live and let live”. A doctor doesn’t find out that someone is sick, and, not wanting to be offensive or make them feel bad, keep it to himself. The doctor tells them the hard truth, in a honest and gentle way, and then shows them what they can do to treat it. There is a cure!

If we truly love others, we want the best for them. When you love someone, you want the best for them. Loving means reaching out, involving them, doing life with them, not just lobbing the truth at them like hand grenades. Loving someone does not mean avoiding confrontation for the sake of “peace”.

“Love is not affectionate feeling,
but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good
as far as it can be obtained.”

– C. S. Lewis

We don’t speak truth to people because we have it all figured out–we want to tell them about the amazing and undeserved grace that Jesus has given. It’s not about us — it’s about him. If we have our heads on straight about this, we won’t make mistakes in our attitude toward people.

We’re all sinners, so when we speak the truth in love to others, it shouldn’t be because they offended us, hurt our feelings, made us look bad. It should be because we can’t hear that twisted thinking from a lost soul, ignore it, and just keep walking. We speak up because we love them.

Let’s do this. Let’s be honest, uncompromising, committed, wildly in love with Jesus Christ. Let’s truly love people by speaking up. Only God can change their hearts, but we’re responsible to give them the truth.

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  1. Hi I received a copy of your blog through an email I get from Doorposts. I was very pleased with the content and agree there should not be any compromise. Christ needs to be the center of our entire lives and there is no other truth or way. I was however, disappointed to see you promoting a movie that uses bad language and uses the Lord’s name in vain. I believe that watching, for the sake of entertainment, anything that uses the Lord’s name in vain as a compromise. All that we do should be done to the glory of God including our entertainment. Any movie or show that uses foul language and especially our Lord’s name in vain I would see as not glorifying to God. It is difficult to find entertainment that does not violate these principles but I would encourage you to look up movies on ‘Plugged in online’ before viewing. It gives a very thorough review of all aspects of content including language, sexual content, and spiritual content. Keeping a high standard in all areas of your life including entertainment does bring glory to God! Thank you for the rest of the content this write up about tolerance but I would ask that you give thought and prayer to what I have said.

    God bless you
    Laura Paisley

  2. Rebecca Christensen

    I wholeheartedly agree with Laura Paisley’s comments about the movie and it’s language; therefore I feel I can’t share this blog on my facebook. I have a lot of non-Christian friends that may read this and find that you were being tolerant by watching that movie. I do, however want you to know that your blog spoke to me and I really appreciate how you separated truth and tolerance and defined them both. You’re a gifted writer…that’s for sure.

  3. Wonderful post sister. Thank you!

  4. Thank you for this post! It speaks so boldly, yet gently of the truth and has made me think again about the importance of “speaking the truth in love” about Christ!

  5. Rebecca, you mean you can’t tell your friends, “The point of this post is great, but be aware that she likes a movie I don’t approve of”?
    ‘Tolerance’ is being pushed EVERYWHERE. Christians all over need to wake up!

  6. Thanks for all your comments. Standards for evaluating movies vary greatly among committed God-fearing believers. I don’t want to get into all that could be discussed about movie standards here, but I would like to recommend these reviews, all from a Christian worldview, of “The Avengers”:

  7. I am so encouraged, inspired and just ready to go after reading that!! I want everyone I know to read this and see the cost of tolerance!! Thanks for being willing to put truth in the forefront of your life! Great job!

  8. The Avengers was produced by Joss Whedon, an outspoken Atheist. I am very happy that you are tolerant of Atheists and enjoy their films. Everybody was created equal and should therefore be treated equal.

    Tolerance is the way forwards for religion. Anyone who thinks we should not be tolerant of others should just think about Jesus Christ for one moment. When he was approached by soldiers wanting to arrest him, did he fight? No. Did he run? No. In fact, when one of his followers, none other than Simon Peter, cut a soldier’s ear off with his sword, Jesus healed him. Jesus was a tolerant and loving individual who would be absolutely astounded to find out that Christians today are preaching a lack of tolerance.

    Intolerance and close-mindedness are both works of the devil. With both traits, you will contribute nothing to society and the world. You will help no one and you will achieve nothing. When you end up in front of the pearly gates, St Peter will look at what you have done to help the world and he will see you have done nothing. You have helped no one and you have contributed nothing towards anything worthwhile. Since you have done nothing for the world, heaven will do nothing for you and you will not be allowed in.

  9. Joe, “For by grace you have been saved through FAITH. And this is NOT YOUR OWN DOING; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

  10. Joe, the point of this post is that tolerance and love are not always the same thing. Jesus didn’t tolerate hypocrites or demons that possessed people. Sometimes the kind, loving thing to do is to tell someone the truth, even if it’s hard.

    As Susannah says, “We’re all sinners, so when we speak the truth in love to others, it shouldn’t be because they offended us, hurt our feelings, made us look bad. It should be because we can’t hear that twisted thinking from a lost soul, ignore it, and just keep walking. We speak up because we love them.”

  11. You want to tell the truth even if it is the hard thing to do. OK, here it is.

    God might not exist.

    You cannot prove he exists and I cannot prove he does not exist. To tell me that scripture (the bible) is basis for proof I will start arguing that Zeus, Dionysus, Hades, Odin, Hermes and all the other ancient Gods are real based on the fact that they are contained within ancient scripture.

    However, I’m not saying this is true. My point is that what you perceive to be true can be perceived as wrong to another. Would a Muslim accept that Jesus was the last prophet to walk the earth and not Muhammed? Would a Jew accept it was any other than Moses? Once you start accepting that other people will not think like you, you will become more tolerant of them. Once you are more tolerant of them, you will be seen by others as kinder than them. Once you are seen as kinder than them, others will begin to see that maybe you are right after all and will join you.

    But the methodology that this blog suggests to use, to be intolerant and force your opinions on others, is absurd. Nobody, not a single person in the history of time, has truly accepted something because it was forced upon them. Free the mind and it will make the right choice.

  12. Joe, we’re glad you’re here reading. I would encourage you, though, to read more carefully. Read what Susannah is actually saying, not what you think she is saying. She is certainly not suggesting that anyone “force [their] opinions on others,” as you phrase it.

    Especially re-read the section between two photos that starts with, “There’s a wrong way to tell people the truth.” Susannah is going out of her way to say that we should not beat people over the head or “lob the truth at them like hand grenades.”

    But she is saying that if we believe something is true, we shouldn’t apologize for it, just as you are not apologizing for what you believe. If we say we believe that Jesus is the Truth, then we should believe that He is THE Truth, and believe it enough to lovingly share it with others. Like she says, we’re sharing “about the amazing and undeserved grace that Jesus has given”. It’s good news.

  13. Isaiah 55:11 – so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

    Susannah, thank you for your words, Holy Spirit inspired. Those who have ears to hear will hear God’s message and his purpose will be fulfilled through your post.

    There is not point in arguing with the nay-sayers. Every has a point of view and everyone will share their POV. In the end, you and God know your heart and motives and that’s all that matters.

    Jeremiah 15:20 – I will make you a wall to this people, a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you to rescue and save you,” declares THE LORD.

    Keep on sharing God’s word no matter the cost Susannah; his grace is enough!!