Saturday, February 11, 2006

Tolerance and Loving You

We are approaching Valentines Day, they day of Love and Romance.

What does that have to do with tolerance you ask? Well, funny you should wonder...

A little over a year ago, Northern Hills did a series on grace, focusing on Gods grace toward us.

John 1:14 (The Message)
The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish.

After seeing the aftermath in Europe when cartoons considered irreverant by Islam is published, I wonder where we as followers stand on tolerance.

The end of the passage above is translated "full of grace and truth" when talking about Jesus. What does that mean. First off, it means that God is merciful in sending Jesus to suffer for our wrong doings. Second, it means that God didn't ease up when it came to the standards of perfect actions and thoughts.

Sometimes, however, we as followers of Jesus, look more like the religious leaders of Jesus' time than like Jesus. As I have been reading through the Gospels (Matthew & Mark so far), I see Jesus acting intolerant toward those who accused him of not being as good as themselves. On the other side, I see quite a bit of tolerance of those that are searching for better ways. A couple of examples right off the top of my head....
  • Jesus was said to be a drunkard because he would visit the houses of "sinners".
  • Jesus' morality was questioned more than once, not only because of the group he hung around with but because he was willing to cross the line of the religious leaders laws.
The thing I notice about the definition of tolerance is an implied acceptance or respect of a differing view. The definition of the word grace in this context, however, mentions the following...
  1. A favor rendered by one who need not do so; indulgence.
  2. A temporary immunity or exemption; a reprieve.
From this definition, we can see that God, though Jesus, gave is grace (4). Though that gift, we as followers of Jesus, should grant grace (5 - temporary exemption), to those around us who are not followers of Jesus in order to show Gods grace (4) .

The challenge is that it is so much easier to just show the truth part of John 1:14. Unfortunately, that puts us on the same playing field as the religious leaders of Jesus' time.

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