God Calls Us to Move Beyond Tolerance and to Love Others
Our culture today talks a lot about being tolerant. Our politically correct society upholds tolerance as a virtue. It’s a position held by so-called enlightened people that we are to tolerate others regardless of their belief, behaviors, or ethnicity. It all seems so right, so worthy.
Yet this falls far short of what God has in mind, of the attitude he wants us to have for others.
Being Tolerant Isn’t Enough
Jesus never commanded us to embrace tolerance or told us we must be tolerant of others. The Bible never even mentions these two words. I guess it’s not important to God that we be a tolerant people and offer tolerance to others.
Instead of being tolerant, God calls us to a higher standard. He wants us to love others. Loving others is much more significant than merely tolerating them. In reality we can tolerate others and still dislike them, even hate them. But loving others truly changes our attitude towards them.
When we love others we embrace them, except them, and learn to understand them. This goes far beyond today’s inadequate attitude of tolerance.
The word love appears hundreds of times in the Bible, in both the Old and New Testaments. In Leviticus we’re told to love our neighbor as our self (Leviticus 19:18). Later when Jesus summarizes the Old Testament law and prophets, he says we are to love God and love others.
Another time Jesus gives us a new command to love one another, for by loving one another we demonstrate we’re his disciples (John 13:34-35). A final consideration is what Paul says about love. He writes that of the three essential, everlasting traits—faith, hope, and love—the greatest is love (1 Corinthians 13:13).
Tolerance is the world’s view of how we should treat others. God calls us to a higher standard of love. Love trumps tolerance every time.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.