Sunday, March 24, 2013

Tolerance or Love?

This evening perusing Facebook I saw a picture that a friend had on her page. I won't show it because I'd rather not give any company free advertising unless they deserve it.
  The picture stated that company A had a Mother's Day ad that was deemed offensive by some moms and the moms boycotted. The company responded by repeating the ad for Father's Day. Sort of a ha! Take that moment.  The friend commented, "Doesn't the bible teach tolerance? Why don't they start showing it?" I'm guessing "they" means Christians. 
  Okay, I'll bite. First, let's look at some definitions. 


Definition of tolerance (n) · Bing Dictionary
 [ tóllərənss ]   
  1. acceptance of different views: the acceptance of the differing views of other people, e.g. in religious or political matters, and fairness toward the people who hold these different views
  2. tolerating of somebody or something: the act of putting up with somebody or something irritating or otherwise unpleasant
  3. ability to endure hardship: the ability to put up with harsh or difficult conditions
Synonyms: broad-mindedness, open-mindedness, lenience, acceptance, forbearance, charity, patience


noun \ˈləv\

Definition of LOVE

a (1) : strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties love
for a child> (2) : attraction based on sexual desire : affection and tenderness felt by lovers (3) : affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests <love for his old schoolmates>
b : an assurance of affection love
: warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion <love of the sea>
a : the object of attachment, devotion, or admiration love
b (1) : a beloved person : darling —often used as a term of endearment
(2) British —used as an informal term of address
a : unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another: as (1) : the fatherly concern of God for humankind (2) : brotherly concern for others
b : a person's adoration of God
: a god or personification of love 
As a writer, I am surrounded by words. I can't get enough of them. But in our (American) English world, there are some words I would like to drop kick off the face of the earth and would be quite pleased never to hear them uttered ever again. Ever. Some words are like certain top 40 songs. They are played over and over and over; overused, misused, and they take on the attitude of the user. Ones that come to mind are the "r" word (sorry, won't even use it, the "n" word (another one that is wrong no matter who says it, in my opinion) and tolerance. 
   Yes, I said I'm tired of the "t" word. The way it gets thrown out so casually by individuals and groups in indignation is annoying to me. It's a curse word these days and it's volleyed back and forth between two groups. Folks, back away from the net and call it a day. No one is going to win that game. Each side just insists they are right. Just remember, if you throw that word, you are in fact saying that it is okay to spew intolerance from your lips. The person or group you are yelling at is supposed to tolerate you and/or your actions or thoughts, but you won't give them the same respect? 
  This brings me to love. Love gets thrown about quite a lot. I love God. I love my husband. I love my kids. I love baseball. I love pizza. Love love love love love. And my favorite, Love the sinner, hate the sin.  I've wrestled with that one for awhile. I've said it myself quite a few times. Something for us to consider: how many times in the bible did Jesus turn away from sinners spouting either hate the sin love the sinner or show some tolerance? Give up? None. 
    Not one time did Jesus shun someone because of their sinful life if they were willing to speak to him. Nor did he tolerate sin. "Go and sin no more" was what he told them. John 8:1-11 is a classic example. A woman caught in adultery was brought to Jesus by the scribes and Pharisees. It was a setup and Jesus knew it. He didn't give them the answer they were looking for. He told them, He who is without sin, cast the first stone. They all left because none of them fit that description. Does that mean we are to turn a blind eye to sin? No. He told the woman not to sin again.
   You know what though? He befriended sinners. He let them know that someone cares. He fed them. He ate with them. He taught them. He loved them and had compassion for them.
  Jesus told us to love your neighbor as yourself.(Matthew 19:19). I think that's one we've forgotten. It doesn't mean you have to go with them to bars or agree that a sin is okay. If a sin is a stumbling block to you, stay away from it. But don't think you're helping someone to learn by avoiding them. People don't care what you know until they know you care. That goes for anyone. Be friendly. Be gracious. Talk. The world needs more compassion.     


  1. This is very good, Dottie. Never tolerate, but love. You don't have to tolerate sinful behavior to love (because Jesus died for all) the one doing the sinful behavior.

  2. Exactly right. I may not be able to stop someone from sinning (it's hard enough working on my own sins) but I can still love people and show them that I care. We as Christians are no better than anyone else and we shouldn't act like it. The only thing that separates us is forgiveness. Love one another, get to know them, teach. :)