It is interesting to see where our culture is settling when it comes to the word “tolerance” and its definition. Webster’s Dictionary defines tolerance as “the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with”. Does that sound like what our culture is promoting? In the world of Christianity, the word tolerance is not always associated with Jesus, yet, he was the PERFECT example of what it meant to tolerate all kinds of things. I think we need to look a little closer to what that word exactly means.
This may sound funny, but when I think of social media and all the platforms that we live on digitally, I think what would Jesus’ accounts look like? Would they have Bible verse posts? Would it have the “latest miracles I performed” or maybe a request to have prayer needs shared? Would it have instagram pics of amazing wood creations and the ID @NazerethWoodWorker and another account @SaviorOfTheWorld with cool quotes like Toby Mac? J I also think about who his friends might be and how he would respond to posts of people he disagreed with and who challenged his patience. In reality, are we not supposed to be Jesus to the world around us? To take into consideration how the Jesus in us would respond to all of those things considering how everything we say or post will either draw people to Christ or push them away?
I guess we don’t consider that even in Bible times there were people who probably disagreed with Jesus and his teachings but Jesus had to have tolerance for them, not to justify what they were doing, but to keep a door of conversation open with everyone he met. People who don’t understand the teachings of Jesus don’t realize that it is important to temper EVERY action with Jesus’ love.
I read this morning in my devotions a part of the book “The Stronghold of God” by Francis Frangipane about how “The love of Jesus is a preservative in our world.” He gave an example of the cans in a grocery store that looked destroyed or beat up because of the pressure on the outside of the can being greater than what was on the inside. The reference was that when we have the love of Jesus inside pushing us forward and outward then we can withstand the pressures of this life and all the things that come along with it.
Today, be mindful of the importance of the love of Jesus “pushing” you on the inside to withstand the pressures that will come from the outside. Also, never forget that tolerance and being able to listen to people you disagree with MUST come from a standpoint of Jesus’ love and not just patient listening.
The future of our culture depends on our ability to show the love of Jesus not just to people we agree with but those who are looking for peace in their hearts and minds.
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