Tolerance: A Double
We live in a society that prides itself on being tolerant of the differences in others. In fact, many have become so tolerant that the moral fabric of our society has just about worn through. In fact, "social" Christianity has become politically correct. The irony is that those same proponents of tolerance stop short when it comes to any true profession of faith. When it comes to their view of true biblical Christianity, the idea of tolerance has been replaced by intolerance.
Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defines tolerance as "sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one's own." According to this definition, tolerance is about respecting the rights of others who hold different beliefs. Even though an individual might consider other religions wrong, he or she can still show religious tolerance toward them by recognizing that all individuals and religious groups have the right to religious liberty.
However, where is this "tolerance" when Christians speak out on issues that deeply affect their beliefs and daily lives, such as prayer in public schools, abortion and same-sex marriages? Now more than ever, Christians are being persecuted for voicing their beliefs even when freedom of speech is every citizen's right. Activist groups defend their right to freedom of speech, even when what they are promoting is negative. However, Believers are accused of promoting "hate" and "intolerance" when they take a stand for the Bible. Every day, Christians are expected to sit back silently and be criticized while at the same time, their biblically based beliefs are ridiculed and vehemently protested in every way and through every medium.
The intolerance Christians experience today isn't a new phenomenon. It began as far back as Jesus' ministry. When He was teaching in the synagogue in Nazareth, the people became so infuriated by His message that they attempted to kill Him (Luke 4:28-29, AMP). Another attempt on His life was made when He was accused of breaking the Sabbath (John 5:15-18). Clearly, the same unwillingness to grant equal freedom of expression was just as prevalent then as it is now.
Christians need to become as adamant as non-Christians when it comes to defending their beliefs and rights. Freedom of speech and expression of values and beliefs are Constitutional rights. We have a responsibility to continue to speak out against issues that clearly go against the Bible. We cannot continue to allow a society that is heavily influenced by a belief system that is opposed to God to set moral standards. Believers are called to live by a much higher standard-the Word of God. Even though the expression of our spirituality may be labeled as harassment or as politically incorrect, we must still persist in our endeavors to shine the light of God's Word in this sin-darkened world.
Copyright 2005 Creflo Dollar Ministries, P.O. Box 490124, College Park, GA 30349. All Rights Reserved
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